The New York Yankees are expected to make a big splash at the trade deadline in just a few days. General manager Brian Cashman has been working the phones diligently to find a proper deal, but with Washington Nationals superstar outfielder Juan Soto entering the mix, most teams with the available prospects have dropped everything to focus on him.
It is not every day a 23-year-old generational talent becomes available on the market with years left of service time. When you have prospects who haven’t contributed anything at the major league level yet and arguably the best hitter in baseball is available, is it an easy argument to make any deal is worth it.
Cashman was focused primarily on acquiring a starting pitcher like Cincinnati Reds star Luis Castillo. However, it seems his interest in Castillo is on the back burner for now as he packages together prospects for Soto in what could be a revolutionary trade.
According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, teams have hit the pause button on pursuing Castillo, trying to save prospects for a Soto deal.
The #MLB trade deadline is off to slow start as teams wait to see if an agreement on international draft which would eradicate qualifying offer & draft pick comp.Also teams that are in on Luis Castillo have hit pause button to see if they need to save prospects for a Soto deal
— Jim Bowden?? (@JimBowdenGM) July 25, 2022
Taking a look at what Castillo/Soto would bring to the Yankees:
This season, Castillo hosts a 2.77 ERA over 78 innings pitched. He has struck out 9.46 batters per nine, hosting a 75.3% left on base rate and 48.5% ground ball rate. Castillo’s last few weeks have been phenomenal. His pitch sequence matches up exactly with what Matt Blake prefers for his starters.
Castillo has a 4-seam fastball, change-up, sinker, and slider. His 4-seam is his best pitch, featuring a 40% WHIFF rate and 27.8% put-away rate. It averages out at 97 mph and opposing batters are hitting just .138 against it.
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In fact, his fastball is generating 15.3 inches of drop in vertical movement and 11 inches of break in horizontal movement. His fastball is moving horizontally 20% more than the average pitcher, enjoying a -9 run value.
However, Juan Soto is having yet another dominant campaign. Over 406 plate appearances, Soto hosts a .245 average with a 40% on-base rate, 20 homers, and 43 RBIs.
Historically, he’s hit over .300, so he’s having a down season by his own metrics but is still unbelievably effective. He’s earned a 46.2% hard-hit rate, 12.5% barrel rate, and 90.4 mph of exit velocity on average. His hard-hit metrics are fantastic but considering he’s a lefty and can take advantage of the short ride porch in Yankee Stadium, there’s a reason to believe the Yankees would get substantial value from him.
Ultimately, it depends on how money prospects the Nationals are looking for in return for Soto. You can make a good argument that acquiring a lesser outfielder, Castillo, and a solid bullpen arm would provide more value to the team this season. However, if the Yankees lose out on the Aaron Judge sweepstakes, Soto will be a good, if not better, replacement.