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Cincinnati Reds trade rumors - Everyone wants Luis Castillo

That’s as no-brainer as it gets.

2019 MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In the penny-pinching world that is the multi-billion dollar baseball industry, there’s nothing more valuable than this: a star coming into his own who’s still making the league-minimum salary. 25 of those players on a roster is a profit-maximizer, and if the free agency freeze-out we saw over the last two winters is any indication, maximizing a team’s bottom line is almost equally as important as winning games to many of the ownership groups out there.

From a pure baseball perspective, finding teams that might be willing to trade such a player is the hard part. Usually, the only teams willing to listen - especially mid-season - are the ones who are a) in a rebuild and b) out of contention for the current season. In theory, with the present bunk, the future is what’s in their minds.

Enter the Cincinnati Reds, who again find themselves in the cellar of their division, a team that’s in year 4/5/6 of their seemingly endless rebuild, depending upon who’s talking. Their single best player is pitcher Luis Castillo, a star in his prime at age 26 who is making league minimum with team control through 2023. And as MLB Network’s Jon Morosi noted last night, he’d be the single hottest commodity in the game should the Reds put him on the trade block this month.

Some of you are freaking out. Dozens of you who will never read past the Tweet are already yelling at me. There is absolutely nothing about this that suggests the Reds are going to trade Castillo. This is merely Morosi stating the obvious: cheap great players - pitchers, in particular - on bad teams are exactly what teams trying to win both now and in the future want, and the Reds sure as hell have one.

It wasn’t a mid-season move, but the Reds themselves once splurged for such a move, sending Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, and Edinson Volquez to the San Diego Padres for young, cheap Mat Latos back in 2012. A trio of former 1st round picks and Top 100 prospects alongside their one-time All Star and occasional ace. That, or perhaps even more, is exactly what it would take for the Reds to even begin to listen on Castillo, who obviously isn’t a player they’re looking to move.

If, say, the Toronto Blue Jays called and offered a year and a half of Marcus Stroman, rookie Cavan Biggio, and top SS/2B prospect Bo Bichette, you listen. They won’t do that, but the Reds would listen if they did. If Atlanta put Kyle Wright, Cristian Pache, and Drew Waters on their offer sheet, you listen. If the Yankees put Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier on the block, you listen. You get the point.

Anyway, it’s a good ‘problem’ to have for the Reds when all the other teams in baseball think you have a prized asset. It means, y’know, that you have a prized asset. And just because they want it doesn’t mean they’re going to get it.

Now, if the Reds could just finally rip off 6-7 wins in a row and make the entire idea of selling in 2019 moot...