Yankees could make blockbuster move for Luis Castillo, but here’s why they won’t

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

Imagine the New York Yankees‘ starting pitching rotation looking like this:

1.) Gerrit Cole

2.) Corey Kluber

3.) Luis Castillo

4.) Jameson Taillon

5.) Jordan Montgomery/Domingo German/Deivi Garcia

Pretty nice, right? Well, what are the chances that Cincinnatti star Luis Castillo becomes available…for the right price? Low.

The Athletic’s Jim Bowden responded to a question regarding the Yankees potentially targeting Luis Castillo at the trade deadline later this year:

Q: If the Yankees look pretty good at the deadline and think it could be their year, but they need one more piece, do you think GM Brian Cashman sells the farm for Luis Castillo?

A: I’ve never seen Cashman “sell the farm,” so I don’t think that’s going to happen. I do think he’ll make a strong offer to land Castillo if he can. However, in past conversations between the teams, the Reds were interested only if they could get Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres back in the trade, and that’s not happening.
The Yankees will never part ways with Gleyber Torres unless they feel absolutely necessary, and as of right now, he is their starting shortstop. Management has high expectations for Torres, who has been phenomenal this spring so far, earning a .400 batting average with six hits and two homers over just 15 at-bats. If he can carry this production into the regular season, Torres could have a massive bounce-back year, and hopefully, his defense improves in the process.
However, if the Yankees could strike a deal with the Cincinnati Reds for Luis Castillo, he’s just hitting his prime, and the team has control over him until 2024. He’s earning just $4.2 million for the 2021 season and logged a 3.21 ERA last year over 70 innings. He’s a bonafide starter with ace potential, and parting ways with a player like Deivi García might be in their best interest, despite Castillo being 28 years old. Luis has plenty of juice left in his arm — he would be an immediate upgrade over Jordan Montgomery in the middle of the rotation.
Alternatively, Garcia is 21 and already adapting to the MLB level, and they might see more upside with him, especially since he is seven years younger than Castillo. This is a preference of winning now or later, but I believe García could end up being just as efficient within the next two years.

Could the Yankees still target Reds star pitcher in blockbuster trade?

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

While the New York Yankees have allocated resources toward bolstering the starting pitching rotation, there are a lot of questions that remain, notably in the injury department. Trading for Jameson Taillon and signing Corey Kluber helps significantly in the team’s quest to reach the World Series, counting on two pitchers who haven’t pitched over 37 innings in two years isn’t exactly an optimal risk.

Nonetheless, GM Brian Cashman feels confident in his acquisitions, despite the risk present. Both Kluber and Taillon have advocated for their health and progress, confirming they should be 100% ready for the start of the 2021 regular season. However, adding more starting-level talent to the rotation is never a bad move.

Cashman should still consider allocating more resources toward acquiring another starter, and in this scenario, Cincinnati Reds star Luis Castillo.

At 28 years old, Castillo represents a phenomenal player with plenty of upside. He dominated in 2020, posting a 3.21 ERA and 11.44 strikeouts per nine. His elevated ground ball percentage of 58.4% would be perfect in Yankee Stadium. Over four years, he has a high of 4.30 in the ERA department and a low of 3.12.

The Cincinnati Reds have control over Castillo until 2024, and he becomes arbitration-eligible in 2022. He will count just $4.2 million against the salary in 2021, meaning he would be an extraordinary addition on a cost-efficient contract.

The Yankees have been forced to save money, but they have assets to utilize:

The Yankees have been extremely frugal this off-season with their moves as they attempt to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold. With a bit of money left over after trading Adam Ottavino, they don’t need to acquire a new outfielder or re-sign Brett Gardner. The price on Castillo for the 2021 campaign is not a problem, so they can utilize what little money they have left on his deal. The more pressing question revolves around the assets needed to acquire Luis in the first place.

Cashman has plenty of trade bait at his disposal, as he could look to options like Miguel Andujar and prospects to convince Cincinnati to move on from Castillo. The Reds are a decent team with plenty of holes that need to be filled, and providing them with high upside players, they can groom to fit their system might be a beneficial move for both sides. The Yankees require a premium starting pitcher, and with three more years of control, it won’t be easy to pry him away from the Reds.

While there were rumors several weeks ago that the Yankees and Reds were speaking about a trade, Cincinnati GM Nick Krall stated that they were completely false. However, we have seen proof that when there is smoke, there is fire, especially regarding Yankee rumors.

Even if Cincinnati wants Deivi Garcia in return, the Yankee should seriously consider it, based on the simple fact that Castillo is a proven commodity.

Yankees News/Rumors: Luis Castillo update, Clint Frazier fires back about trade rumors

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

You can always tell when the New York Yankees are picking up steam in the off-season when the rumor mill begins to churn. Recently, they have been connected to Cincinnati Reds’ star pitcher Luis Castillo, who is controlled until 2024, hitting arbitration in 2022. He is scheduled to make just $4 million in 2021, and that could be a major reason the Yankees are so interested in his services.

However, there have been conflicting reports indicate Cashman’s desire to strike a deal for Castillo, but others have stated the trade rumors are no more than smoke. From what we’ve seen in the past, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Castillo is the perfect target for the Bombers, who could use a consistent arm in the rotation. They did recently sign Corey Kluber to a one year, $11 million deal, but he’s coming off two injury-riddled seasons and can’t be relied on.

If Kluber can return to his former self, a player who two Cy Young awards in the past, they will be in great shape behind Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ ace. Adding a player like Castillo, on the other hand, will give the Yankees one of the starting best starting rotations in baseball. Castillo finished the 2020 campaign with a 3.21 ERA, 11.44 strikeouts per nine, and 2.65 WHIP.

However, trading for Castillo would cost the Yankees quite a lot, as blossoming outfielder Clint Frazier has been mocked in potential deals.

In addition, it has been reported that the Reds want Gleyber Torres in the deal, which is absolutely a no-go for Brian Cashman.

Frazier, who had a breakout season in 2020, finishing with a .267 average with eight homers and 26 RBIs, tweeted out an asserting message. The tweet was from the movie Wolf of Wall Street, where Jordan Belford states, “I’m not leaving,” in an emphatic triumph of loyalty toward the business he built.

Frazier is staring a starting position in the outfield right in the face, and to be traded at this point, would certainly be harsh by the Yankees. I don’t believe they want to part ways with him, considering the potential he holds given more at-bats and playing time. He also saw his defense elevate exponentially last year, finishing as a Gold Glove finalist.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees continue shooting offers at the Reds for Castillo, but nothing is set in stone just yet.



New York Yankees News/Rumors: Clint Frazier colorfully denies trade rumors

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

It was a weekend filled with trade rumors for the New York Yankees, some more possible than others. Most of these involve the Cincinnati Red’s, Luis Castillo. One Yankee, Clint Frazier, was mentioned being traded for the Red’s pitcher. Very late last night Frazier had enough and posted to his Twitter account just before midnight, “I’m not fuckin leaving.” He did it uniquely; he tweeted a scene from the “Wolf of Wall Street” where Leonardo DiCaprio shouts out the same expletive.

This writer takes Clint Frazier at his word. In the past two seasons, Frazier has made himself very valuable to the Yankees both behind the plate and in the outfield, being first in line to replace injured Yankee outfielders who have been many. In addition to that, the New York Yankees have just awarded Frazier a $2.1 million one-year contract avoiding arbitration.

It is also worth noting the both the Yankees and the Reds denied reports of the possible trade. After the mid-point of the 2020 60 game season, Yankee manager Aaron Boone was so impressed by this improved defense that he was given a permanent place in the Yankee lineup. Frazier’s defense has always been a problem for the team and Frazier because even though he had a quick bat and could hit for both contact and power, he couldn’t advance to a permanent place with the team. But last year, he was so improved that he was a Gold Glove finalist.

Of course, regardless of Frazier’s statement, the Yankees will decide what happens to the young outfielder, not him. Some reports yesterday, not from EmpireSportsMedia.com, actually said the trade that included Frazier and third baseman Miguel Andujar had actually taken place. Again all reports were denied by both teams.



New York Yankees News: With signings done, where do the Yankees go from here?

New York Yankees, Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees made big waves in the baseball world this week. They achieved their number one offseason priority re-signing DJ LeMahieu, and they did it for less than they thought it would cost them annually. In turn, they gave LeMahieu a six-year deal that will likely carry him into retirement. Because of the annual money they saved, they were able to jump on a deal they had been negotiating and signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to a one-year $11 million deal, strengthening a pitching rotation that lacked any veterans behind ace Gerrit Cole.

This reporter believes that those expenditures will pretty much do it for the Yankees unless they can pick up a quality reliever relatively cheap. That’s not to say that there won’t be more additions to the team, but if there are they will likely be by the way of the trade. For instance the New York Yankees have shown and interest in Luis Castillo who is with the Cincinnati Reds. That could be accomplished by the Yankees giving up probably three prospects in order to bring Castillo to Yankee Stadium.

According to Roster resource the Yankees payroll stands at $201 million with the signing of both LeMahieu, Kluber and the arbitration raises. The Yankees luxury tax ledger is estimated at just over $207MM. Add to that Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner said earlier in the offseason that he want to stay below the threshold of $210MM. With that in mind and the acquisition of Kluber it pretty much precludes the Yankees from bring back pitcher Masahiro Tanaka that just finished his stint with the Yankees.

If they chose to spend the remaining money they do have enough to bring back the veteran Brett Gardner or pick up a low priced middle inning reliever and still stay below the threshold. However, there is another possibility, that the Yankees actually find a perfect fit for the team and chose to go over that limit, which is unlikely with still not having a clear picture of what the 2021 season will look like financially.

The New York Yankees and all the other MLB teams know that the league will try to complete a 162 game season. It is also known that MLB will allow fans in the stands this season. However, the final say on that is in the hands of the local health or government officials. The more games MLB plays without fans in the stands, the money those teams will lose. At the present moment New York state is banning large gatherings in venues. Although Governor Cuomo of New York did allow limited fans in the stands for Buffalo Bill’s games.

Assuming the coronavirus vaccines are successful most teams will have at least a limited amount of fans to create revenues and reduce costs. The Players Union (MLBPA) has made it clear that they want players paid for the full 162 games season whether there are fans in the stands or not.

What would the New York Yankees have to give up for star pitcher Luis Castillo?

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

The New York Yankees stayed utterly silent until this past Friday when general manager Brian Cashman emerged from his cave like a hibernating bear. He was seeking fresh food and ended up with a massive haul following his silence. He walked away with star infielder DJ LeMahieu on a six-year, $90 million deal, and former Cy Young pitcher Corey Kluber on a one year, $11 million deal. Cashman went above and beyond with his available finances this year, and he still has a bit of wiggle room to capitalize on.

While LeMahieu is a proven commodity who has proved himself in pinstripes over the past two years, the Yankees are thin in the starting pitching rotation. Kluber represents one of the best pitchers in the MLB, but two years ago in 2018. He’s only pitched 36.2 innings since suffering a broken right forearm in 2019. A bevy of different injuries have taken their toll, and during a workout, on Wednesday he reached 90 mph with his fastball. His career average is 92, so the difference isn’t too significant, and he should be able to work his way back up over the course of the next few months.

Nonetheless, having a more established starter in the rotation would be beneficial, which leads us to Cincinnati Reds star Luis Castillo.

While Blake Snell and Yu Darvish were plucked up by the San Diego Padres, the Yankees stayed in the back-burner, waiting for their opportunity to pounce. Castillo is 28 years old and the Reds are looking to deal. He’s a free agent in 2024 and arbitration-eligible in 2022, which would give the Yankees multiple years to utilize his services.

The question is, how much would it take to acquire him. Here is a potential deal they could consider.

Reds Receive:

-Miguel Andujar

-Clint Frazier

-Luis Gil

Yankees receive:

-Luis Castillo

-Rece Hinds

The New York Yankees would solve their pitching problems:

This would be a major, blockbuster trade for the Yankees, and it wouldn’t come cheap by any means. Giving up Andujar and Frazier would mean parting ways with two starting level players, something the Yankees probably don’t want to do.

However, Castillo is that good, posting a 3.21 ERA in 2020 and 11.44 strikeouts per nine. He has the ability to be a bonafide ace, and with the depth in the starting rotation currently, he can slide in right behind Gerrit Cole with Kluber in the third spot.

This was shore up the rotation for years to come, and the Yankees can afford to part ways with Andujar and Frazier if they feel comfortable relying on Mike Tauchman and signing Brett Gardner to another one year contract.

In addition, I included Reds prospect Rece Hinds in the deal, as a potential third base option down the line. He’s a 6-foot-4, 250-pound infielder, providing some great size.

Let me know in the comments if you think this is a reasonable trade for the Yankees, who could acquire a fantastic starting pitcher in Castillo with four years of control.

New York Yankees: Corey Kluber was big news but blockbuster trade could be coming

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

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.





New York Yankees News/Rumors: How the Padres could affect the LeMahieu signing and much more

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

The New York Yankees have made their sole priority the re-signing of baseball’s hitting champ DJ LeMahieu while all the other team needs are on hold. However, two months into the offseason and the Yankees have not been able to make that happen. LeMahieu wants more money, and a longer contract than the Yankees want to offer. So as far as we know, the sides are still far apart. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Dodgers are hovering about their interest in the star.

The Dodger’s interest may have heightened by what the San Diego Padres are doing. In case you don’t follow what all of baseball is doing, you may have missed the Padres have been making a splash during the past week, trading for the Tampa Bay Rays ace, Blake Snell, the Chicago Cubs ace Yu Darvish, and added to that, the signing of SS Ha-seong Kim. Snell and Darvish could be the number one ace on any team. Ha-song Kim is an excellent shortstop.

The question has arisen if the Dodgers who play in the same division are concerned. The Dodgers are World Champions and the Padres last season posted a record over .500 for the first time since 2010. The Dodgers have replied that they are not worried. But you have to believe that the Jaugearnaut that is known as the Dodgers must be in some way concerned when a team in their division vastly improves their chances for a postseason run.

With the Dodgers already interested in LeMahieu, they may be more serious in the upgrade that DJ would be to their club with his hitting ability and infield versatility. Watch out, New York Yankees; the Dodgers have the wherewithal and could swoop in and give DJ what he wants.

What’s the status of the Tanaka/Gardner negotiations?

Two long-time New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka, and Brett Gardner, are free agents after Tanaka was not offered a qualifying offer, and Gardner did not have his option taken up by the Yankees. Of all the departing Yankees, these two hold the most promise of returning, yet they are still in limbo after two months.

The Yankee front off has been in contact with both agents. They have told the two that they can’t decide on their return if it’s possible until the outcome of the LeMahieu negotiations is known. The two have use to the Yankees. The starting pitching is lacking, and Tanaka still has value as a number three starter that has been mostly reliable for the Yankees. Gardner, on the other hand, is as good as any reserve outfielder in free agency. Like with every other team need, we will have to wait and see when the Yankees know if they can re-sign DJ LeMahieu.

If the New York Yankees won’t spend, how do they fix the bullpen?

New York Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner has declared that he wants more than anything this offseason not to spend and stay below the luxury tax threshold of $210 million in payroll. To accomplish that, he has to drop the 2020 payroll by $30-40 million dollars if it’s going to cost him $25 million to resign DJ LeMahieu, which leaves him little money to do anything of significance to improve the starting rotation or upgrade the bullpen.

If the Yankees are going to accomplish either need, they will have to do it via the trade route. That may be the way to go anyway, as three bullpen arms are better than any free agent. Joe Musgrove, Luis Castillo, and Kyle Hendricks all come with multiple seasons of control, and all come from the Central Division of the American League teams from teams with little chance of postseason runs. Although Hendriks would be the most expensive, Luis Castillo is the better fit for the Yankees. If the Yankees want any of these three, they will have to give up prospects that will hurt.

Cheap acquisitions likely won’t get the job done for the Yankees because they need to replace high-quality Tommy Kahnle with a similar if not better arm. They also have to consider that Adam Ottavino, who is in the last year of his contract, may not rebound from his subpar 2020 season.  Luis Castillo would add just over $4 million to the Yankee payroll, but they would have control over him until the end of the 2023 season, when he will only be 30 years old.

Photo accompanying this article is of Luis Castillo. EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

Yankees could make blockbuster trade to solve starting pitching woes

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

The New York Yankees need to find a number two pitcher whether they like it or not, and general manager Brian Cashman will have to find ways to open up money to spend. Considering the Yankees have the highest payroll in Major League Baseball routinely, the fact they can’t even make the World Series, let alone get past the second round of the postseason, is quite disappointing.

Pitching seems to be their issue every season since they have plenty of offensive weapons to produce runs. Ranging from Giancarlo Stanton to Aaron Judge, injuries have taken a toll on the offense’s capabilities, but if these players can play a full season or at least the majority, the Yankees will be just fine.

Again, pitching is the major factor here, and the Yankees don’t have much depth in the starting rotation behind Gerrit Cole. Teams around the league are beginning to trade prospects in a win-now mode, and the Yankees can’t wait until Aaron Judge’s contract expectations arrive to sell the farm.

One blockbuster trade the New York Yankees could make:

One stellar option Cashman should target is Cincinnati Reds’ star, Luis Castillo. He is set to be a free agent in 2020 for his arbitration-eligible in 2022, so the team will have plenty of control over him if they want to utilize prospects to acquire his services.

Last season, Castillo earned 70 innings of work, logging a 3.21 ERA with 11.44 strikeouts per nine. He accumulated a 58.4 ground ball percentage, which would be extremely beneficial for Yankee Stadium and the high HR rates. To accompany those statistics, he only allowed five homers and walked 24 batters.

At just 28 years old, Castillo is in the middle of his prime, and his pitch diversity is attractive. He utilizes his fastball 27%, changeup to 30%, sinker 25%, and slider 18%. A very diverse array of options he can use to dominate batters.

Adding Castillo to a rotation that has Cole, Jordan Montgomery, and are expected to get back Luis Severino and Domingo German will give the Yankees a formidable group. Ultimately, the Yankees have sold on prospects before, and they have plenty they could utilize in a trade right now for an elite arm set to earn $4.4 million in 2021. Talk about a cost-efficient move.

Yankees could land their No. 2 pitcher in blockbuster trade with Reds

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

The New York Yankees have accepted the fact that they might lose out on some quality players this free agency period. As the Yankees continue to negotiate with DJ LeMahieu and his representatives on a contract extension, all other priorities have been put on hold. Depending on how much money they have to work with, the Yankees could target a big name if LeMahieu ends up walking in FA.

However, starting pitching remains a major need for the Yankees, and there have been reports of their interest in players with previous injuries. A great way to save money is to allocate money toward one-year deals with quality pitchers who have dealt with injuries the past few seasons.

One good option would be Corey Kluber, who only pitched in 36.2 innings the past two seasons. In 2018, he finished with a 2.89 ERA and was considered one of the best starters in baseball. Taking a flier on him now on a cost-efficient deal would be a great move for the Yankees, but it might not solve their No. 2 starter problem.

The New York Yankees could make one blockbuster trade with a Cincinnati Reds:

If general manager Brian Cashman wants to get aggressive, he could consider trading prospects for Reds’ star Luis Castillo. Cincinnati has committed to the rebuild and are looking to offload as many quality players as possible. Castillo fits the bill well, as he is arbitration-eligible in 2022 and controlled by the team until 2024. This would give the Yankees several years of quality baseball for a pitcher who’s dominated for the most part over his four years in the MLB.

In 2020, Castillo pitched in 70 innings, earning a 3.21 ERA with 11.44 strikeouts per nine average. He recorded a 58.4 ground ball percentage, which would fit perfectly in Yankee Stadium. He only allowed five homers and walked 24 batters, indicating that he is just entering his prime. At 28 years old, he utilizes four pitches evenly. Castillo uses his changeup to 30%, fastball 27%, sinker 25%, and slider 18% of the time.

Nonetheless, it would take a ton of quality prospects to draw interest from the Reds in a potential trade. They would have to consider giving up Deivi Garcia, who made his MLB debut last season, RHP Luis Gil, and SS Anthony Volpe.

It would be a hefty price to pay for Castillo, but if the Yankees really consider the next few seasons as their window to win a championship, they must do everything possible to increase the probability of reaching the World Series. Eventually, they are going to have to pay Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, let alone figure out the catcher position with Gary Sanchez.

As long-term deals go on and players get up there in age, making win-now moves should be a priority. Castillo offers team control for the next three seasons and will fit in perfectly behind Gerrit Cole in the rotation.