Despite the looming lockout that Major League Baseball is about to impose upon its players, it appears there is still a bit of life left in the Hot Stove this morning.
The Texas Rangers, for one, are still looking at serious moves. Despite already having splashed over a half a billion bucks out to land the likes of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray, and Kole Calhoun, they’re still in the market for pitching upgrades. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi has them connected with the Cincinnati Reds in that search, noting that the Rangers have kicked tires on each of Cincinnati’s top trio of arms - Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Sonny Gray.
Sources: #Rangers still working to upgrade their starting rotation after the big signings of Semien and Seager. They've inquired to the #Reds about trading for one of their starting pitchers (Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, or Tyler Mahle). @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 1, 2021
Fellow insider Jon Heyman has heard the same, noting that there may even be some action that goes down today.
Reds are still fielding interest in Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Sonny Gray. Chance for a trade today.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 1, 2021
Given the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement today (and the lockout, y’know), today would certainly seem to be the day to do any deed lest it be put on ice for weeks, months into the nebulous void.
We’ve been over this exercise numerous times before, of course. We know the Reds are cheap and getting cheaper, as they’ve already given away the likes of Wade Miley and Tucker Barnhart this year after taking a similar route last winter with Raisel Iglesias and Archie Bradley, among others. Shedding salary is one thing - getting an actual return for your quality players is something completely different. One would hope that somehow, finally, maybe, perhaps in a deal involving one of Castillo, Mahle, or Gray, the Reds might actually find a way to get cheaper and get an actual pulse of a return, something they’ve failed to do with any of the other veterans listed in this paragraph.
That’s been the rub around here, I think. It sucks to see a club tear itself apart in the name of dollar bills, but at least when that happens in most locales it comes with a prospect in hand that you can at least dream on. The Reds have abandoned even doing that lately in each and every transaction, thus prompting the perpetual saltiness around these parts. Their talented trio of pitchers with multiple years of team control remain their best chance to put this ship back on course, however, and while dealing them would mean an instant hit to the team’s chances in 2022, it could at least help augment any fathom that this franchise will be relevant in 2023 and beyond.
It’s not much after 30 years of misery, but it’s something. So, there’s that.