3 sleeper teams who could surprisingly emerge in trade talks for Reds starter Luis Castillo

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) pitches.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) pitches. / Albert Cesare / USA TODAY NETWORK
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The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are all likely to pursue Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo as the trade deadline approaches. But which under-the-radar clubs who could make a run at Castillo?

Along with Oakland Athletics' hurler Frankie Montas and his teammate Tyler Mahle, Castillo figures to be one of the hottest starting pitchers on the trade market.

Fans have already heard that the Yankees, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, and San Diego Padres have shown interest in trading for Castillo. But might a sleeper emerge and snag Castillo from under their noses? Let's look at three teams who might surprise everyone.

1. The Guardians could be a sleeper team to trade for Reds RHP Luis Castillo.

Don't look now, but Cincinnati's neighbors to the northeast are doing pretty well for themselves. The Cleveland Guardians are getting it done this season. Cleveland trails AL Central Division-leader Minnesota by just a couple of games and are right in the thick of the Wild Card chase.

Oddly enough, it's necessarily the starting rotation that's leading the way for the Guardians in 2022. Cleveland's starting rotation is about in the middle of the pack in terms of ERA and strikeouts, and have also been prone to the home run ball this season.

Adding Luis Castillo would be a very shrewd move on the part of the Guardians' front office, and eerily similar to the type of trade that brought Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati back in 2019. With Castillo under team control for one more season, Cleveland could continue to contend in 2022 and maybe emerge as the favorites in the American League Central in 2023.

By trading for Castillo, Cleveland would arguably have the best rotation in the division. Zac Plesac, Shane Bieber, Cal Qunatril, and Triston McKenzie are all under club control for next season. Add to that the MVP bat of Jose Ramirez along with the Guardians' young core of position players, and all of the sudden Cleveland has the chance to make some noise.

2. The White Sox could be a sleeper team to trade for Reds RHP Luis Castillo.

Let's stay in the American League Central and look at the prospects of the Chicago White Sox making a deal for Luis Castillo. On the surface, the idea seems a bit silly because of the stable of arms that White Sox manager Tony LaRussa has at his disposal.

Chicago already has a starting rotation of Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, and Lance Lynn. We also cannot forget former Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto. But while Kopech and Cease have enjoyed success, the same cannot be said for Giolito and Lynn.

In Lynn's defense, he's only appeared in three games thus far after suffering a knee injury during spring training. But Giolito has really struggled. The right-hander 4-4 with a 5.19 ERA. Giolito has allowed 15 round trippers in 2022 and has a WHIP of 1.529.

Chicago's starting rotation, much like the Cleveland Guardians, is about in the middle-of-the-pack when it comes to ERA. Walks have been a big problem for the South Siders as well, as the Chicago White Sox rotation has issued more free passes than the Cincinnati Reds.

The White Sox trail both the Guardians and the Minnesota Twins in the standings. Given the amount of money the front office has invested in this ball club, you have to think they'll still be buyers at the trade deadline. Chicago may be able to swoop in a make a nice offer in order to trade for Luis Castillo.

3. The Rangers could be a sleeper team to trade for Reds RHP Luis Castillo.

Will the Texas Rangers be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline? That's great question and one we might not have the answer for until later this month. However, if Texas is able to remain in contention for that last Wild Card spot, I wouldn't rule out the Rangers making a play for Luis Castillo.

Much like the aforementioned Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox, the Texas Rangers starting rotation is about average in terms of ERA. Unlike the Guardians, Rangers' starters doa good job of keeping the ball in the park. Texas, however, ranks in the bottom third of the league in terms of strikeouts.

The Rangers already added former Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray this past offseason, but the right-hander has been less than spectacular since his debut in Arlington. Martin Perez has been the ace for Texas this season, but the 31-year-old is a free agent at the end of the 2022 season.

Adding Luis Castillo would help the Texas Rangers contend for a Wild Card spot in 2022 and also give them a top-tier starter heading into 2023. The Rangers have shown a willingness to hand out massive contracts, as they signed Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to exorbitant deals this past offseason.

Any team that lands Luis Castillo will have to pay a hefty price. The Cincinnati Reds are sitting on a gold mine and Nick Krall cannot afford to screw this up. The Reds should remain patient with Castillo until teams begin the bidding war. If the worst thing that happens is that Cincinnati does not receive an offer they like, so be it. Castillo is under team control for one more year.

Next. Predicting the Reds starting lineup after the trade deadline. dark