The Angels and Reds have engaged in “preliminary trade talks” about right-hander Luis Castillo, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports (Twitter link). No deal seems close, however, as “the sides are far apart as of today.”
While the Reds are known to be listening on offers for Castillo, latest reports have indicated that Cincinnati isn’t keen to part with either Castillo and Tyler Mahle. As Morosi plainly puts it, the Reds’ “price remains very high” for Castillo’s services.
It costs the Angels nothing to just ask about Castillo, of course, and given how Los Angeles is scouring the free agent market for pitching, it isn’t surprising that the Halos are also exploring trade possibilities. Noah Syndergaard has already signed with Anaheim, but the Angels could surely use at least one more starter for what is planned as a six-man rotation. Right now, Syndergaard, Shohei Ohtani, Jose Suarez, Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, and Jaime Barria sit as the Angels’ top six choices.
Castillo is a good fit for the Angels for several reasons, starting with his obvious ability to be front-of-the-rotation type of arm. Castillo is also controllable and affordable for two more seasons via the arbitration system, with Castillo projected to earn $7.6MM this winter. Since the Angels have a longstanding aversion to long-term deals for starting pitchers, keeping Castillo on a short-term deal carries obvious appeal, especially since he would also cost much less than it would take to sign a top-tier free agent arm like Robbie Ray or Max Scherzer.
Of course, obtaining Castillo carries a different kind of steep cost. The Reds’ specific demands for Castillo aren’t known, but it’s easy to imagine the team wanting a big package of high-caliber young talent. Since Cincinnati isn’t pursuing an outright fire sale in its efforts to cut payroll, one would think the Reds might want at least one young player who can contribute in 2022, since the team is still hoping to contend in the NL Central.
Castillo has garnered interest all over the L.A. baseball scene, as the Dodgers have also reportedly had some talks with the Reds about a possible swap. While it is safe to guess that multiple teams have checked in on Castillo’s availability, the Twins are one of the teams who haven’t yet shown interest, according to SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson. Minnesota may have an even more severe need for veteran pitching than the Angels, yet it has been a quiet offseason overall for the Twins, with the exception of today’s contract extension with Byron Buxton.