Red Sox: Is Reds righty Luis Castillo a viable option?

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on October 1, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on October 1, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

A look at the Red Sox acquiring Reds right-hander Luis Castillo

The Red Sox have their hunt in progress with Chaim Bloom as Captian Ahab; only the target is not the great White Whale but one just as elusive – quality pitching. Names will be bandied about, and one that could surface is the Cincinnati Reds righty, Luis Castillo.

Just who is Castillo? When the word “who” is applied in baseball terminology, that means the statistical evaluation. Last season the 28-year-old’s claim to statistic fame was leading the National League in losses with 16. Castillo also topped the NL in starts (33) and walks (75) while pitching to a 3.98 ERA/3.75 FIP. He finished with a 3.7 fWAR, 23.9 K%, 4.08 SIERA, and 56.6 GB%. Castillo has consistently hovered around those metrics for his five years of MLB.

Now, if I were to grab my Louisville Slugger and take a few cuts against Mr. Castillo, what would I expect? Castillo’s heater checks in at the high 90s (97.3 MPH), and he tosses it slightly over 50% of the time (52.1%). Next up is what impresses me – Castillo’s change.

Castillo tosses his change 30.5% rate, and it checks in at 88.4 MPH. That is an excellent rate off the fastball. Lastly in the Castillo toolbox is his slider at 17.4% usage and 86.4 MPH.

Castillo is an excellent pitcher who is now in his baseball prime. He can best be projected as a top of the rotation starter and possibly even garner ace status. Castillo is also in arbitration and has been projected at $7.6 million. Affordable by Red Sox standards and controllable through 2023.

Why would the Reds trade him to the Red Sox?

The Reds are in the hole for $131.4 million in payroll for 2022. Cincinnati will be making moves to realign their fiscal position, and indeed, that part will be to replace cost with low-cost players. Low cost is a euphemism for loading up with prospects.

Prospects are just where the ball may grind to a halt with a Castillo trade. Boston has refurbished their farm system, and reluctance may make Castillo an unlikely Red Sox, or will it? Just who do the Red Sox consider untouchable?

Untouchable has a transitory effect for me, and one example for me would be Jarren Duran. Duran was quite impressive in Worcester and has taken the challenge of self-improvement, particularly in power production. But somehow, his brief exposure to MLB was, from my perspective, a disappointment. I would not hesitate to include Duran as part of the possible bait.

Wandering down the prospect disappointment road is Jeter Downs. He struggled in 2021 and will now attempt to reinvigorate his brand in the Arizona Fall League. Downs has significant upside and could be a fringe five-tool player. Again, for me, a player that is difficult to part with but with a system loaded with infield talent, a distinct possibility to package.

When you trade pitching, you would expect a return in pitching to be part of any deal. There are three pitching possibilities among the Red Sox top ten prospects, and I would not lie awake in the evenings if Jay Groome left the organization.

Prospects are a combination of promise, projection, and evaluation. My three choices are just not limited to those selections. Deep within the bowels of the farm system may be prospects that click the heels of GM’s elsewhere. Trades of prospects are risky, as anyone familiar with the name Jeff Bagwell can tell you.

If Bloom goes shopping for trades, the Red Sox will part with some farm system value. A quality pitcher like Castillo can not be acquired by a few bench players on the Greenville roster. I remember the local outrage in some quarters when the Red Sox included Casey Fossum in a deal for Curt Schilling. Simplified, to get, you have to give.

Bloom can avoid the local and organizational angst regarding prospects by opening the team’s wallet. That direction quivers with avoidance to the latest business model, but money can be replaced, and prospects cannot.

Castillo would be a worthy addition to a Red Sox staff and fit quite comfortably as a replacement for Eduardo Rodriguez. Other names will surface, and Castillo may or may not be part of the narrative depending on what messages are accurate from Red’s management.

Next. Interest growing in free agent Eduardo Rodriguez. dark

If I were making a trade possibility of the Red Sox and their RedLeg partners in the NL accomplishing a deal, it would be a probability of low. Will it happen is just the fun of tossing around trade scenarios in the Hot Stove League.