Luis Castillo is the primo name on the starting pitching trade block at the moment, and tonight’s start against the Miami Marlins - the team that dealt him to the Cincinnati Reds year ago in the first place - won’t be changing that. Still, given that the preponderance of scouts who were in GABP last night to watch Marlins starter Pablo Lopez slice and dice his way through the Reds lineup will still be in town, there will be a bit of a spotlight on the Reds ace once again.
Seriously though, there were scouts by the gob last night.
Pitching in the spotlight hasn’t seemed to phase Castillo of late anyway, as he dazzled under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium and backed it up with a superb inning in the All Star Game earlier in July. Still, perhaps the only thing that can begin to impact what the Cincinnati Reds can get in return for him at this upcoming trade deadline is just how many other teams put up For Sale signs in their own front yards, too.
In Lopez, and his potential availability, we’re seeing the Marlins begin to field offers. The Detroit Tigers are apparently willing to begin burning down what little they’ve rebuilt, with rumors yesterday that pre-arb starter Tarik Skubal could be dealt.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jeff Passan revealed this morning that the Cleveland Guardians could further shake up the pitching shuffle by dealing Zach Plesac and/or Aaron Civale, with the idea that ace Shane Bieber could be moved not completely off the table. That all comes alongside knowledge that Jose Quintana will be moved from the once-again flailing Pittsburgh Pirates, while the idea that the Boston Red Sox - who are rumored to be shopping JD Martinez before his contract expires - could continue down that rental sale path by putting Nathan Eovaldi on the block, too.
That’s all well and good for the market as a whole, I suppose, and does nothing to diminish that Castillo is the single most dominant arm on the block at this juncture. That he comes with team control over the 2023 season further adds to his immense value, obviously, and means he’d be acquired by any team with plans well beyond just leading their line in the 2022 playoffs.
We’ve long heard the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers connected to Castillo, though it’s impossible to ignore just how much of a match he is with the [/vomits] St. Louis Cardinals right now. Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs noticed as much yesterday while making some mock trades, proposing a deal that would send Luis within the NL Central for a trio of the Top 10 prospects in the St. Louis system. God, that would burn, and it’s truly the Reds luck that the team in most dire need for playoff pitching at the best possible time to deal Castillo is the freaking Cardinals.
It’s impossible to ignore just how much the Seattle Mariners have improved their playoff chances over the last month, their electric run the kind most of us expected with the emergence of Julio Rodriguez and the eventual arrival of Jesse Winker’s bat alongside that of Eugenio Suarez. While I still contend that Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners payroll make the perfect combination for landing superstar trade target Juan Soto - a deal that would surely take them out of the Castillo sweepstakes - it’s absolutely certain that the Mariners will swing big again this summer in their quest to return to the playoffs for the first time since the ash of the Kingdome implosion was still being swept. We know Dipoto and Nick Krall have each other on speed dial, after all.
Luis Castillo is going to take the mound tonight for the Reds in GABP, and given that his expected next turn in the rotation will be on the road - in Miami, of all places - the likelihood is that tonight will be his final home start in a Cincinnati uniform, if not his final start anywhere in a Cincinnati uniform. That’s enough to make us all teary-eyed and to fire a middle finger at the owners of this franchise, but it’s also enough to make us try like hell to figure out just what the team should be getting for him in return before they actually make a deal.
That August 2nd deadline is looming, folks.