After an offseason of doing little, the New York Yankees made big news this week, first re-signing DJ LeMahieu to a surprise six-year $90 million contract. Right on the heels of that deal, signed two-time Cy Young Award-winning Corey Kluber to a one-year $11 million low-risk high reward deal to bolster the starting rotation with a veteran presence behind ace Gerrit Cole. But could there be a blockbuster deal still to be had?
But there could be news just as big in the works. We have learned that the New York Yankees are at least talking with the Cincinnati Reds to acquire starting pitcher Luis Castillo. Castillo and the Reds came to a deal to avoid arbitration and keeping him under team control through 2023. But at the same time, the Reds have made it known that he is available via trade for the right deal. If the Yankees are serious about Castillo, it will surely cost them in terms of players given up to get Castillo to Yankees Stadium.
Adding Castillo to a rotation that includes Gerrit Cole and Corey Kluber would make the Yankees the team to be contended with not only in the division but also in a postseason run. Castillo during 2019 was an All-Star with a 15-8 record for the Reds and an ERA of 3.40. In 2020 he didn’t have the season; he would have liked to have had like many pitchers in the shortened season, but he did lower his ERA and had over eleven strikeouts per nine innings while not getting the run support he would have liked.
MLB insider Jon Heyman finally provided an update on Castillo’s situation as well as the New York Yankees’ potential chances to land him.
“I’m not sure at this point [if he’ll be traded]. He’s clearly available, as are all of their players. My understanding is the Reds, out of all their players, that’s the last one they want to move. Of course, that’s the guy they’re going to get the best offers for. The Yankees have some good prospects. I’m not sure there’s a lot of traction there at this point and I’m still going to be surprised [if he’s traded], because, in that division, the Reds have traded their closer, but I do think they underperformed a little bit last year … I’m not sure that they’re going to give up. If you trade Castillo, you’re giving up. I don’t think that will happen, but the Yankees do have the prospects to get it done if they want to go that route.”
If the New York Yankees do go that route, the Cincinnati Reds will come away from the deal, getting several Yankee players for Castillo. Among those that would likely be traded is Deivi Garcia, but Clarke Schmidt is the more logical trade piece. He may not be quite as ready to contribute at the major league level, but he arguably has the pair’s higher ceiling. But that’s not all; the Yankees would likely have to give up. The Reds will likely want Clint Frazier, but the Yankees instead will offer Miguel Andujar to impact the Reds lineup right away. It might even take adding Luis Gil and possibly shortstop Oswald Pereza.
In the end, if the Reds demand Garcia and Frazier, the deal will likely fail because the Yankees are not going to sell the farm for a mid-rotation guy like Castillo. Only time will tell if a trade like this one will come to fruition, but the Yankees are at least exploring it.