Will the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets come to terms on a trade involving Luis Castillo? It's certainly a possibly as rumors surfaced yesterday of New York's interest in Cincinnati's best pitcher.
The rumors aren' surprising. As a matter of fact, the fact that both the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres were mentioned as possible suitors might be the bigger surprise.
The Mets have been linked to Castillo for some time. With New York's owner Steve Cohen sparing no expense when it comes to putting a championship contender on the field, would the Mets be willing to back up the truck in order to land La Piedra?
What might the Mets be willing to offer the Reds in exchange for Luis Castillo?
Before diving in to what the Cincinnati Reds might be able to receive from the New York Mets in exchange for Luis Castillo, we reached out our friends a Rising Apple, our sister-site within the FanSided network. Here's what Rising Apple site expert Tim Boyle had to say about a possible trade:
"The Mets have shown a willingness to trade good prospects for premium players. They dealt J.T. Ginn, their second-best pitching prospect, for Chris Bassitt in the offseason...However, because their farm system isn't so deep, it might be more of a quantity over quality deal they'd (the Mets) make."- Tim Boyle, Site Expert at Rising Apple
Boyle makes two very interesting points; the Mets' willingness to trade top talent (they also dealt Pete Crow-Armstrong last summer) and he lack of depth in the farm system. While I fully believe the New York Mets have the assets to get a deal done, will they be willing to part with some of their best prospects?
In our discussion, Boyle also mentioned that Mets' shortstop prospect Ronny Mauricio would likely be available in a trade. Mauricio is blocked at the major league level by Francisco Lindor. While Mauricio is regarded as a Top 100 prospect by MLB Pipeline, it feels like the Cincinnati Reds have enough top-tier shortstop prospects in their farm system already.
Which Mets prospects should the Reds target in exchange for Luis Castillo?
I've heard the name Brett Baty early and often. With all of the trade rumors earlier this spring, Reds fans are familiar with the New York Mets' top infield prospect. I just don't think that's going to happen. When it comes to doing a deal with the Mets, I think Baty and catching prospect Francisco Alvarez are virtually untouchable.
I tend to agree with Tim Boyle's earlier assessment that a deal between the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets for Luis Castillo might be more about quantity over quality. But I've been staunch in my view that Cincinnati must receive a Top 50 prospect as part of the return for Castillo. The aforementioned Ronny Mauricio falls just outside that grouping.
Mauricio is a 6-foot-3 switch hitting shortstop with pop. There's some swing-and-miss in his game, but Mauricio is only 21 years old. There's still a lot of question marks surrounding his game, so any deal that includes Mauricio should be offset by some more predictable prospects as well.
Unfortunately, the Mets don't have very many sure-fire major leaguers in their farm system at the moment, so any deal with New York that doesn't include Alvarez or Baty should be considered somewhat of a risk.
So if the Reds would be taking in risk, it's time o go big or go home. One of the more intriguing prospects in the Mets' farm system is Alex Ramirez. The 19-year-old has plus-tools all over the place and if his hit tool develops, he could be a star.
The Reds should look to add one more player to solidify a trade for Luis Castillo, and perhaps they could find his eventual replacement in Jordany Ventura. The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery last spring, but he's back at it this season and has pitched in two games at Low-A St. Lucie.
If the Cincinnati Reds attempt to make a deal with the New York Mets, I think Brett Baty has to be part of the discussion. If the Mets are unwilling to play ball, there are other teams who will. Nick Krall has to get this right.