We’re approaching the four-year anniversary of an under-the-radar Reds move that has paid and could continue to pay massive dividends for the franchise. On April 1, 2016, the Reds claimed right-hander Dan Straily off waivers from the Padres. At that point, Straily was coming off an up-and-down few years divided among the Athletics, Cubs and Astros, and he spent the vast majority of the 2015 campaign as part of Houston’s Triple-A affiliate. But the Straily pickup proved to be incredibly shrewd for Cincinnati, with which he overcame unimpressive underlying metrics to post a 3.76 ERA across a career-high 191 1/3 innings in 2016.
As a team, the Reds didn’t capitalize on Straily’s presence, winning a mere 68 games and finishing with more losses than wins for the third straight year. They still haven’t registered a .500 or better season since then, though the effect of taking a low-risk flier on Straily a few years back could be felt for a significant amount of time. After all, on the heels of his solid season as a Red, they flipped him to the Marlins in January 2017 in what’s arguably one of the biggest heists in recent baseball history.
In exchange for Straily, the Reds received three players – a pair of righties, Luis Castillo and Austin Brice, as well as outfield prospect Isaiah White. Brice didn’t amount to much in Cincinnati (he actually spent last season back with the Marlins and is now a member of the Red Sox organization), while the 23-year-old White hasn’t advanced past the Single-A level yet.
On the other hand, Castillo has become a gem – a hurler the Marlins no doubt rue trading at all, let alone for someone who was an unspectacular performer in their uniform. Straily was a Marlin from 2017-18, both losing seasons for the club, and pitched to a 4.20 ERA during that 304-inning span. The Marlins wound up releasing him heading into last season, which proved to be a disastrous year in the Orioles org for Straily. He’s now with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization.
Meanwhile, Castillo has morphed into an electrifying major league starter. After a respectable first two seasons in Cincy, the heat-throwing Castillo truly came into his own in 2019. The 27-year-old pitched to a 3.40 ERA/3.70 FIP with 10.67 K/9 and 3.73 BB/9 across a a personal-best 190 2/3 frames. Along the way, Castillo ranked second among all qualified starters in groundball percentage (55.2) and fourth in swinging-strike percentage (15.9), placing him between Cy Young winners Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom. And Statcast loved Castillo’s work, ranking him near the top of the league in several important categories.
The fact that Castillo has evolved into such a standout isn’t wholly surprising. Remember, when the Marlins parted with Castillo, he was regarded as one of their handful of best prospects. Baseball America posited then that Castillo, who was coming off a season of stellar production at the High-A and Double-A levels, had mid-rotation potential. Nevertheless, despite his upside, it was the second time the Marlins had agreed to part with Castillo. They previously tried to send him to the Padres in a notable July 2016 trade, but they got him back after fellow righty Colin Rea’s medicals proved problematic. Had the Castillo aspect of that deal gone through, it also would have blown up in Miami’s face.
It seems fair to say that the Marlins did not properly value Castillo while he was with the organization. The Reds are profiting from that right now. In Cincinnati, Castillo currently finds himself as an integral piece of a quality starting rotation that could help the Reds push for a playoff berth this year (if there is a season). Castillo still has another pre-arbitration campaign left and the Reds have the ability to control him through 2023, making him all the more appealing. If the Reds are going to return to prominence in the near future, there’s a good chance that the Castillo trade will have something to do with it.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Dan Straily got the last laugh as he’s actually playing and getting paid
Marlins don’t have a clue.
I mean think about this: the Marlins traded Luis Castillo and Chris Paddock for a couple terrible seasons of Dan Straily and a half season of a terrible Fernando Rodney…
I mean think about this: you’re jerking off what literally everyone has thought and talked about years ago over a decisions made by a previous regime.
amazing how much they wanted to get rid of Castillo. first the Pads, then the Reds.
And the Giants traded him for Casey Mcghee. Awful
Right!! That’s what still burns me 🙁
I…geez, I think I’d blocked that out
I’m so glad Z’s in charge now
Man a rotation centering around Castillo, Paddack, and Desclafani could’ve been a great start on the pitching side to that position group they had but they almost got nothing back for those three. And of course Fernandez could be included as well.
Gallen’s the next one that got away. being dealt by the Marlins is a blessing (unless its to the Yankees or you’re Marcell Ozuna)
Except Jazz has been nothing short of great in his short time with the Marlins, but go off
They knew exactly what they were doing with Gallen. It was a risk from the get go but not pure incompetence like the others.
We don’t know yet, Jazz hasn’t shown he can be productive at the major league level yet while Gallen has so we’ll see
Gallen’s thrown 80 innings. Let’s not cream in our gym shorts over him yet either, Joey!
Maybe if Fernandez was still around Miami would never have traded the big 3 outfield. But alas Mr. Cocaine had the last laugh
Marlins robbed Giants. Castillo for Casey McGhee back in the day. What a terrible trade.
The Marlins handling of Castillo is like winning the lottery only to lose it all in an obvious scam
Trading Paddack and Castillo was the last middle finger Loria and Co gave to Marlins fans. A fire sale with those two pitchers still with the team would have been completely unacceptable as they would have had a 2 year window to make something happen
I just made a comment on this trade on a post yesterday. Is Connor Byrne using my ideas? lol
Having Jeffrey Loria run your team is the equivalent of leaving your door wide open while your house is unattended: technically it’s a robbery, but it’s not entirely the burglar’s fault you got robbed.
They should have included the Mat Latos trade too. Another big win for the reds and loss for the marlins.
Reds have gotten off two unbelievable returns in two separate trades. They robbed Detroit for the #1 power hitting 3rd basemen in the game, a worse lopsided trade then this Straily transaction. Alfredo Simon one lousy season for Eugenio Suarez and then the Reds had a premonition and locked him up for I believe a seven year deal for a bag of peanuts and 66 million
How is this a headline story? This happened under the previous regime. And if anyone wants to look at Mike Hill, come on, is this really news that Hill gets robbed in any trade? It’s even been reported that he’s not allowed to make moves anymore with this new regime. Once his contract expires (thanks Loria), Hill will be gone.
Seriously though. Talking about Mike Hill being robbed is like talking about a motivational speaker bragging that he convinced a lemming to walk off a cliff. Some life forms are designed to do something stupid, so making it into a story makes no sense when it’s a given.