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The Yankees have strong interest in Reds’ right-hander Luis Castillo. Here’s what New York needs to give up to land the talented starter.
Signing Corey Kluber was the biggest free agency addition the Yankees will make to their starting rotation this offseason. That doesn’t mean Brian Cashman is done strengthening New York’s pitching staff. A big trade for Luis Castillo might transform the team’s rotation from good to great.
At the very least, the Yankees have Reds have entered into some type of discussions about a trade for the 28-year-old pitcher. It’s difficult to pin down when the conversations occurred or how substantive the talks were, but the fact that dialogue has already occurred means there is some potential for a deal to get done.
The Reds are in a position to demand a king’s ransom in exchange for Castillo. He’s an established above-average starting pitcher that’s squarely in his prime. The fact that he isn’t slated to hit unrestricted free agency until 2024 means his contract will be a solid bargain for several more seasons. Castillo won’t be heading to the Bronx anytime soon unless the Yankees are willing to send serious talent back in the other direction.
As always, the question the Yankees need to answer is just how much young talent they are willing to part with to acquire a high-level starter. The franchise’s established desire to avoid paying the luxury tax this season only complicates matters for Cashman and his front office.
The Yankees will need to send Cincinnati a pitcher capable of replacing Castillo in the rotation immediately as a part of any trade. The Reds might want to land Deivi Garcia, but Clarke Schmidt is the more logical trade piece. He may not be quite as ready to contribute at the major league level, but he arguably has the higher ceiling of the pair.
The Reds will want their side of the deal sweetened by forcing the Yankees to part with another arm who has a chance to be as good or better than Castillo in time. Luis Gil has a lot of admirers inside the Yankees’ organization, but control issues have prevented him from becoming an elite prospect to this point in his career. His excellent performance this winter in the Dominican League has his stock heading in the right direction. He won’t be ready to impact Cincinnati immediately, but there’s a chance he could make it to the majors before the end of the season.
That covers the pitching the Reds will want in return for Castillo, but the combination of Schmidt and Gil doesn’t give Cincinnati equal value in this trade. A pair of hitters will also be needed to balance the scales. Expect the Yankees to draw a hard line at the idea of including Clint Frazier in the transaction. Instead, New York will offer Miguel Andujar as a young bat who can help Cincinnati’s lineup right away.
That’s still not quite enough to placate the Reds. They will look for one more high-level prospect before they agree to part with Castillo. Watch for the Yankees to reluctantly part with shortstop Oswald Pereza to finish off the trade. New York likes him as their potential shortstop of the future, but he’s far enough away from being major league ready to part with.
In the end, the Yankees still face an uphill battle in convincing the Reds to part with Castillo. It’s a potential dream scenario for New York. Time will tell if Cashman can make this big trade happen.