The Reds have a couple of the best commercial candidates on the market this summer, with starting pitchers Luis Castillo And Tyler Mahle each in the middle of the club’s penultimate season of control. Teams in need of rotation will argue with Cincinnati CEO Nick Krall and his staff over the next six weeks, and some have already expressed interest in Castillo.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post lists the Twins, Mets and Padres among the clubs on the transfer market. This will definitely not be an exhaustive list, as virtually any contender could find room in the starting five for a pitcher of that caliber. Castillo is playing this season with an affordable salary of $ 7.35 million (just over half of which is still owed), so most clubs should have no problem putting him financially into the picture.
Castillo has been one of the sport’s most consistently productive arms in recent years. Although she has spent her entire career in MLB with a team that plays at one of the most batter-friendly home stadiums, the right has an ERA of less than 4.00 in five of her six seasons. That includes this year’s 3.71 scoring across nine starts and 51 innings.
The 29-year-old’s underlying numbers weren’t as strong in 2022 as they were in previous years. His 22.9% strikeout rate and 10.5% swinging strike rate are right around their respective league averages this season for starters. Castillo’s 49.6% ball-to-ground rate is strong but is down from the 55-58% range he has sat in annually since 2019-21. He also missed a tick on the average speed of his four seams and sinking fast balls, possibly related to a bout of shoulder pain that cost him the first month of the year.
While Castillo’s first two months may be a little underwhelming by its high standards, there will be no shortage of demand anyway. His fastball controls also decreased slightly north to 96 MPH on average. His performance this season has remained solid – his 3.71 ERA and 3.88 SIERA are below their respective 4.10 and 4.09 in the league for starters – and the Dominican Republic native has shown potential for impact in the past. Between 2019-21, Castillo ranked in the top 25 qualified pitchers in ERA and strikeout rate and recorded the second-highest grounder percentage in the sport.
With that kind of resume, it’s no surprise that rival teams are already in contact with the Reds. The Twins are among the most direct candidates for a rotating pickup and also plan to explore the market for other high-end tonearms such as the Mahle and A’s. Frankie Montas. Minnesota comes into play Thursday percentage points behind the Guardians in AL Central, with the White Sox looming as a division threat four games behind them. The Minnesota rotation got off to a great start, but has been tagged for an ERA of 4.80 in the past month, a trait that coincided with the injury list stints for Bailey Ober And Chris Paddack (the latter of which ended for the season after undergoing surgery on Tommy John).
Mets, on the other hand, have a star-studded rotation when healthy. Jacob de Grom, Max Scherzer And Tylor Megill they are all currently on the injury list and have been on the fringes of the market for most of the stars available in the past twelve months. Scherzer is expected to return shortly (perhaps as soon as this weekend), as deGrom continues to progress from the shoulder blade stress response he suffered during Spring Training. The club hopes he’ll be back before the August 2 deadline, but Megill is likely to be on the shelf past that point.
It could be argued that New York should prioritize areas beyond the help of rotation, but the Padres’ presence in the Castillo market demonstrates that even teams without a clear figure of necessity must at least perform due diligence. San Diego already has an excellent staff of six men Joe Musgrove, Sean Manaea, Yu Darvish, MacKenzie Gore, Mike Clevinger And Blake Snell. This is a forced off-season signer Nick Martinez in a swinging role, and the prevailing opinion is that they are more likely to address that surplus than add another impact starter. Between their depth of rotation and the fact that they are right up to the $ 230 million threshold of basic competitive balance tax, the Friars feel like a shooting range to get an arm of Castillo’s caliber. This was perhaps also true of Manaea, however, and baseball operations president AJ Preller has proven time and again that he is willing to act boldly to get the players the organization wanted.
No deal with Castillo is forthcoming, of course, and there will be many more teams competing in the coming weeks. The Reds don’t have to move either him or Mahle with one more season of control, but their commercial value will likely never be as high as it will be this summer. At 23-46, Cincinnati has no chance to compete this year. Moving Castillo and / or Mahle would deal a severe blow to the 2023 roster, but this year’s difficulties may suggest a broader overhaul is needed. The Reds have not entered this season with the intention of rebuilding, but their efforts to stay competitive by taking some key players to reduce salaries were blown off the gate by a 3-18 in April.