The New York Yankees‘ trade deadline ambitions have calcified a bit in recent days, and the team’s wish list goes beyond the names we’ve known about all year long (oops, they forgot to get a lefty outfielder who can hit!).
Now, it seems the Yankees are also opening their doors to some of the league’s top starting pitching options, shirking pure depth plays in the name of star power. That no doubt includes Frankie Montas of the A’s (who starts in the Bronx this week), but the name that’s been shouted the loudest has been Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds.
In case you thought Castillo might be available for a bit of a discount considering his trajectory since 2019, just know that you are very much wrong. If the Yankees feel like wading into this pool, they’ll have to go all the way to the deep end.
That much has been made clear both by the Reds’ scouting patterns and the types of packages MLB insiders have recently been pitching for other teams in their Castillo pursuits.
Former MLB GM Jim Bowden tackled the Castillo question in The Athletic this week (subscription required), batting the idea back and forth with Red Sox beat writer Chad Jennings.
Jennings wondered first if Boston could acquire Castillo in exchange for Top 100 prospect Nick Yorke, sinking top name Jeter Downs, and an additional piece. Instead, Bowden noted that any package for the right-hander would begin with Boston’s Triple-A power threat Triston Casas, as well as Helium Alert pitching prospect Brayan Bello.
In other words, an “Oswald Peraza plus … whatever” package probably won’t be enough if the Yankees want to stay ahead of Boston in this hypothetical chase.
Yankees will have to overpay to acquire Reds’ Luis Castillo at 2022 MLB Trade Deadline
Per initial reports, the Reds had scouts watching fast-rising Yankees pitching prospect Will Warren this week; Warren threw 5.1 shutout innings with 7 strikeouts and 4 hits allowed, so odds are they liked what they saw.
Still, though, Warren would not — could not — be the centerpiece of a potential Castillo deal, even though he may still have a peak in his right arm that exceeds Castillo’s value for the next several seasons.
This year, in particular, Castillo has struck out just 49 men in 51 innings pitched, a departure from his changeup-heavy peak in 2019 (226 in 190.2 innings). It’s possible pitching coach Matt Blake could coax the very best out of the electric right-hander. It’s also possible Castillo replicates his 2021 season, where he rebounded merely to respectability while leading the league in walks with 75.
If acquired, Castillo could be the pitcher who hurled six one-hit innings at Fenway Park this season. He could also be the guy who scuffled against the Brewers and Pirates to open the season.
Regardless of which Castillo shows up, he’ll still cost a return package that indicates he’s the dominant version.