Might the Mets pursue a trade for Reds starters Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle?

Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Castillo.
Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Castillo. / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds appear to have turned a corner, but the likelihood of of this year's team competing for a playoff spot is slim-to-none.

The New York Mets, on the other hand, are one of the best teams in the National League this season and have stranglehold on the NL East Division. However, the Metropolitans do have a bit of a predicament on their hands.

The Mets began the 2022 season without ace Jacob deGrom, and after Max Scherzer exited a game earlier this week with an oblique injury, New York will be without the three-time Cy Young Award-winner for six-to-eight weeks.

Might the Mets pursue Reds starters Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle?

There was a lot of speculation prior to the start of the 2022 season that the New York Mets might pursue a trade with the Cincinnati Reds for Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle. After all, the Reds had already dealt Sonny Gray, Tucker Barnhart, Jesse Winker, and Eugenio Suárez, so why wouldn't Cincinnati's front office go all-in and trade their other two top-of-the-rotation starters?

Instead, the Reds tried to field some semblance of a competitive team by trading for veteran starter Mike Minor and signing left fielder Tommy Pham to a one-year contract. Cincinnati also promoted highly-regarded prospects Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo to the Opening Day roster.

But, after a horrendous start to the 2022 season, the idea of competing for a spot in the postseason is all but gone and Reds Country is bracing for a fire sale at or near the trade deadline. In addition to Castillo and Mahle, Tyler Naquin, Tommy Pham, and Mike Minor might all be on the trade block.

But would the New York Mets look to acquire one of the Cincinnati starters to help offset the losses of their top two pitchers? My gut says, no. New York traded for Oakland A's starter Chris Bassitt prior to the start of the season, Tylor Megill (who's currently on the IL) has had a surprising start to the season, and Carlos Carrasco is off to a solid start.

According to Cots Baseball Contracts, the Mets current payroll is the second-highest in all of baseball. Adding Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle to the roster would increase New York's payroll, not only this season, but into 2023 as well. Both Castillo and Mahle are under team control through 2023.

While I expect the Cincinnati Reds to "shop" both Castillo and Mahle, I'm not sure the New York Mets will be a great trade partner. The Mets parted with one of their highly-rated prospects last season in order to land Javier Baez and shipped two of their top pitching prospects to Oakland when they traded for Bassitt this offseason.

Tyler Mahle feels like the more likely of the two to be dealt should New York come calling. But our friends over at Rising Apple see a pitcher like Chad Kuhl or Merrill Kelly as more likely candidates to end up with the Mets should New York be on the lookout for a starter to replace the injured Max Scherzer.

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