Tyler Mahle's injury highlights 2 opportunities for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle (30) walks back to the dugout.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle (30) walks back to the dugout. / Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Tyler Mahle, unfortunately, will be headed to the 15-day IL with a right shoulder strain. Mahle was set to appear in Thursday's doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but that is no longer in the cards.

Mahle's placement on the Injured List is retroactive to Sunday, meaning the absolute earliest the right-hander could return to the Cincinnati Reds rotation would be around July 18th.

Mahle had been widely regarded as one of the top three to four starting pitchers that could be available at the trade deadline, but this latest injury certainly puts that in doubt. Tyler Mahle's injury will bring to light two opportunities for the Reds.

The price for Reds starter Luis Castillo just skyrocketed.

We spoke about this just a few days ago after Oakland A's starter Frankie Montas left after his first inning of work over the weekend. Montas was diagnosed with shoulder inflammation, but an MRI may reveal even more damage. If Montas is shelved for any length of time, his trade value will go down.

In turn, this will drastically increase the price that opposing GMs will have to pay in order to make a trade for Reds starter Luis Castillo. Castillo was already one of the best starting pitchers available at the trade deadline, but if both Frankie Montas and Tyler Mahle are out, the Reds front office could command quite the haul for La Piedra.

Castillo will not become a free agent until after next season. The right-hander has been rumored to be on the radar of the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers. With Mahle hitting the IL, that list could get a lot longer.

The Reds could negotiate a contract extension with Tyler Mahle.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Bobby Nightengale, an MRI showed no significant damage, so Tyler Mahle hopes to return after the All-Star break. That timeline is key. If Mahle remains on the IL past the August 2nd trade deadline, then the former seventh-round will most likely enter his final season of arbitration eligibility as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

Reds fans have been dying to see a glimmer of hope from the front office that would help them to see some semblance of stability beyond the 2022 season and inking Mahle to a contract extension would be just that.

Reds Country has been inundated with trade rumors since the offseason and have seen some of their favorite players (Sonny Gray, Eugenio Suárez, Jesse Winker, and Nick Castellanos) suit up for different teams in 2022. Seeing the front office make a commitment to a player like Mahle would be a breath of fresh air for the Cincinnati faithful.

Tyler Mahle has been a reliable piece of the Reds rotation for the last few years, and while he wouldn't command a huge salary, locking up the 27-year-old would give Cincinnati's young core some veteran leadership.

It's not going to cost an arm and leg to secure Mahle's services for the next three to four seasons. Luis Castillo is going to command quite a lot if he hits the open market, but Mahle's price tag would be considerably less. The deal that his former teammate Anthony DeSclafani signed with the San Francisco Giants (three-year/$36M) might be a good place to start.

The Reds could always enter the offseason and see what the trade market for Tyler Mahle might be this winter as well. But with pitchers like Chris Bassitt, Mike Clevinger, Jacob deGrom, Sean Manaea, and Noah Syndergaard all potentially hitting the open market, a lot of clubs might prefer to go the free agent route.

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