Just because the Toronto Blue Jays reside 17 games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East standings (how…is that real) does not mean they’re giving up the ghost and throwing in the towel already.
After all, they remain in a Wild Card spot despite the Mariners and Orioles nipping at their heels, and will likely be the favorite to capture a playoff berth for the remainder of the summer. Whether it looks that way at first blush or not, they could use strong reinforcements as much as anyone.
Naturally, that brings them to the Reds’ Luis Castillo, one of the only true game-changing arms available at this summer’s August trade deadline, and someone who’s intrigued the Blue Jays in the past.
The Yankees, once thought to be adding innings-eaters rather than game-changers at the deadline considering their ridiculous ERA numbers and historic pitching staff, will likely be in the market for any upgrade they can get, too. Jameson Taillon has hit a spectacular wall in his past seven starts, with Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino also barking up against innings limits. With Matt Carpenter emerging in the outfield picture, will the Yankees put all their chips in Castillo or Frankie Montas’ basket? Not if the Jays have their say, it appears.
For all interested parties, he’s also, coincidentally, starting at Yankee Stadium on Thursday before the All-Star break. If George Springer shows up in a mustache and goggles behind home plate, you’ll know why.
Yankees Rumors: Blue Jays still have trade interest in Luis Castillo
According to Bob Nightengale, the Blue Jays will once again collect assets in pursuit of Castillo, who would fill a massive and unexpected void in their rotation. While Yusei Kikuchi proving to be enigmatic isn’t exactly shocking, the Jays didn’t anticipate losing Hyun-Jin Ryu for the year with an elbow issue, nor did they believe Jose Berrios would be as up-and-down as he’s been. Bake in some Kevin Gausman regression at the top of the roller coaster, and you have a borderline contender that could really use Castillo’s 2.92 ERA, 1.099 WHIP and 2.7 WAR in an All-Star campaign.
Castillo, controllable through 2023, has rebounded at the perfect time, dragging the Reds closer to the middle of the pack in the process after an historically awful start.
After a 2021 season marred by inconsistency, the right-hander appears to be peaking just in time to create competition for his services. If Toronto intends to overpay and rekindle their previous trade interest, that could be a nail in the Yankees’ pitching pursuit coffin.
Even though a Castillo acquisition would mean much more to their World Series hopes than paying for a powerless Andrew Benintendi.