According to The Athletic’s Peter Gammons, the Cincinnati Reds are open to moving right-handed starting pitcher Luis Castillo. The 29-year-old recently made his 2022 debut after missing the first month of the season due to a shoulder injury.
Castillo has been one of the best right-handers in the sport since 2019. He posts strikeouts at a high rate, is efficient and has found success relying on a consistent four-pitch arsenal: sinker, changeup, slider and four seamer. If traded, Castillo can move the needle for an MLB contender. He’s a bonafide ace.
Here are three ideal trade destinations for Castillo.
Related: Updated MLB trade rumors
3. Luis Castillo enhances the Texas Rangers
Texas tried to buy a relevant team this offseason, spending a whopping $561 million on Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray and Kole Calhoun. The key to the Rangers becoming a respectable team and/or a playoff contender, though, is their starting rotation. Castillo assists them in that aim.
Texas’ rotation is all over the place. Gray is a proven starter in his own right but is off to a rough start. Perceived as a placeholder rotation signing, Martin Perez has been phenomenal thus far. Right-hander Dane Dunning is coming into his own.
Texas has a lot of highly touted young arms like Dunning. The reality is all of them won’t pan out, which is why the Rangers can move a couple of those arms and a reasonable position player prospect for Castillo. Outside of Dunning, Taylor Hearn and Glenn Otto are part of the big-league rotation. Meanwhile, the likes of Spencer Howard, Jack Leiter and Cole Winn are all pitching no lower than the Double-A level.
- Luis Castillo stats (career): 3.73 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 775 strikeouts across 712.0 innings (124 starts)
In acquiring Castillo, the Rangers get their ace for the foreseeable future and bypass some of the growth and commitment required with young pitchers. Castillo, Gray, Dunning and whichever one of their young arms prove themselves worthy of being rotation fixtures make for a balanced rotation with upside.
All that said, the Rangers may view keeping rotation spots open as the prudent play for this season. They’re likely a year away from being a playoff contender, anyway.
Related: 2022 rotation rankings
2. Luis Castillo helps a Colorado Rockies’ playoff push
Coors Field and starting pitching don’t go together, but the Rockies are off to a 16-13 start and an extra playoff spot in both leagues gives them reason to be buyers. Castillo would be a huge get.
The early development for the Rockies this season has been free agent signee Chad Kuhl, who owns an astounding 1.82 ERA across his first five starts. German Marquez, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela have had their fair share of success in recent memory, but it has never been sustained. Manager Bud Black needs a top-of-the-rotation force to anchor his staff.
Castillo buys the Rockies more victories. He’d be their most consistent and proven starter from the jump and somewhat offset the volatile nature of their current starters. The Rockies have a plausible and could-be prosperous offense. If accompanied by a reliable rotation, they can surely attain a National League Wild Card seed.
- Luis Castillo contract per Spotrac: under contract through 2023
The Rockies need sturdy starting pitching to combat the offensive firepower that the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants throw at them in the NL West. Castillo’s arrival presumably moves Austin Gomber to the bullpen, where he has previously found success.
The factor that could stop the Rockies from trading for Castillo, though, is them fearing the hurler won’t re-sign with them after 2023 due to the Denver altitude.
1. Luis Castillo to the Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are off to a disastrous 10-19 start. Is the season over? Of course not, but the Red Sox don’t have room for error, as they play in a stout American League East. Acquiring Castillo makes a lot of sense for manager Alex Cora’s club.
Starting pitching continues to be a delicate matter for Boston. Chris Sale recently suffered a setback in his recovery. Tanner Houck has been unable to build on his 2021 success thus far. Nick Pivetta is off to a nightmare start. Free agent signee Michael Wacha is on the injured list. Garrett Whitlock has been subsequently inserted into the rotation. Boston needs help on the pitching front.
Castillo aids them in both the short and long term. As for the present, he gives them a much-needed prominent starting pitcher. At full force, he’d still be their best starter and an optimum enhancement to their pitching staff.
Castillo pitching at a high level, Houck getting back on track, Nathan Eovaldi being a smooth force and one of Sale and Pivetta being respectable makes for a well-rounded rotation that the Red Sox can compete with. Last season, they got away with a middle-of-the-pack rotation because their offense was elite and their bullpen got the job done. They can’t bank on that set of circumstances again, especially given their alarming start.
The Red Sox are a win-now team. Trading away a pair of top prospects for a stellar pitcher in his prime is precisely what a team in Boston’s position does.