A blockbuster move the Mets should target this off-season for starting pitching support

New York mets, Luis Castillo

While the Mets have been busy this offseason, there is still work left to do. Coming off of a year where high expectations were not met, clear areas of the team needed improvement. The biggest struggle for the Mets in 2021 was hitting, which resulted from a combination of a lack of depth and talent. The team batting average was a mediocre .239 and the wRC+ (Weighted runs created) was pathetically 96. Both these stats are below league average, which is not acceptable for a team that is looking to contend.

The Mets signed Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, and Starling Marte to bolster up the offense. Canha and Marte are both guys that get on base a lot of the time, while Escobar is more of a power hitter. These three signings will definitely help fix the offense issue, but other issues like starting and relief pitching depth remained.

So, the subsequent signing made was Max Scherzer, a top 5 starter in the game and the top pitching free agent. This signing will create the deadliest 1-2 pitcher duo with deGrom also in the rotation, but the 3-5 starters are not the quality they need to be.

The Mets lost Marcus Stroman to the Cubs, creating a desperate need for starting pitching depth. Taijuan Walker proved to be very inconsistent in the 2021 season as he was an all-star caliber pitcher in the first half of the season but a below-average one in the second half. Carlos Carrasco battled injuries for most of the year, but when he returned he struggled majorly. Putting up a 6.04 ERA and 4.32 xFIP (Fielding independent pitching), Carrasco became more of a liability than an asset, reinforcing the need for starting pitching depth. However, Tylor Megill emerged as a reliable starter in his rookie year, putting up a 4.52 ERA and 3.92 xFIP, which are excellent stats for a rookie. So, the Mets’ biggest problem heading into the 2022 season is a reliable third starter in the rotation.

This problem can be solved by a trade for Luis Castillo, who put up a 3.98 ERA and 3.63 xFIP. With Castillo’s contract, he becomes a unrestricted free agent in the year 2024. The years of control with Luis Castillo and his young age of 29 make Luis Castillo very valuable. His current team, the Reds, are not contending at the moment and may be entering a rebuild as many franchise players are reportedly on their way out, like Nick Castellanos and Jessie Winker. So, the Reds would be looking for high-ranked prospects and a young MLB player in return.

A fair return for the Reds would feature Ronny Mauricio, J.T. Ginn, and JD Davis. Ronny Mauricio is the Mets third-ranked prospect 53rd in the MLB. Mauricio’s future with the Mets is uncertain as he is a shortstop, meaning he would have to change positions due to Lindor being with the Mets for the next decade. J.T. Ginn is the Mets’ fifth-ranked prospect and will help the Reds fix their pitching issue for the future. The last part of the return for the Reds in JD Davis, a third baseman for the Mets. Davis has lost his playing time with the addition of Eduardo Escobar and a change of scenery could benefit both Davis and the Mets. He has proven he can be an elite hitter, putting up a 130 wRC+ in 2021, but he is a liability in the field and seems to be injury-prone. Davis is only 28 and becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2025, which is a long time of control over a young player.

If the Reds are indeed looking to begin a rebuild, they could also send Mike Moustakas to the Mets. This move would be strictly to get rid of a bad contract/old player. Moustakas will be making $16 million in 2022, $18 million in 2023, and $20 million in 2024 when he is 35. Moustakas would be an ideal DH as he provides lots of power but is slow and has bad fielding. To actually contend in 2022, the Mets’ front office needs to get busy after the lockout.

Yankees Mock Trade: Landing star pitcher Luis Castillo from the Reds

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

One way or another, Yankees GM Brian Cashman must find another starting pitcher to assist in the rotations development. Depending on Domingo German and Luis Severino to return to their former versions is optimistic but not impossible. Severino is coming off two Tommy John surgeries and a small sample size of action in 2021. German dealt with injury and a suspension the year prior, hurting his stock and momentum.

The current rotation looks like this:

1.) Gerrit Cole

2..) Jameson Taillon

3.) Jordan Montgomery

4.) Luis Severino

5.) Domingo German

The back-end up the rotation is incredibly unreliable, meaning Cashman will either have to spend big money on a free agent acquisition like Carlos Rodon or look to the trade market to fill the void.

In this scenario, we take a gander at Luis Castillo and what a prospective trade could look like.

 

yankees, reds

Luis Medina, Jordan Montgomery, Oswald Peraza, and Trey Sweeney are included in the deal on the Yankees’ side. The Reds offer up Castillo as their lone departure, but his value is clear.

Castillo finished the 2021 season with a 3.98 ERA, 9.21 strikeouts per nine, and a 71.5% left on base rate over 187.2 innings. His 16 losses are appropriated to the offensive and support side rather than Castillo’s performance. The Reds’ ace also posted a 4.03 SIERA and 3.63 xFIP. His number took a dip compared to previous seasons, which could help the Yankees in a potential deal.

The Yankees would have two more years of control over Luis, earning $7.5 million this upcoming season and the third year of arbitration before entering free agency in 2024. Giving up all of these assets proves to validate through the simulator, but given only two years of control, you could make an argument the players involved could provide far more value if retained.

For example, Oswald Peraza is close to making the jump to the majors, and the Yanks have a massive void at shortstop. Alternatively, they may look to utilize Peraza in a different trade — maybe with the Athletics, who are looking to be sellers.

Nonetheless, adding Castillo to the rotation would give the Bombers one of the best groups in baseball and put them in a place of strength rather than weakness.

What do you think of this trade proposal? Would you keep it the same or change things? Comment here! 

Yankees should execute ‘blockbuster’ deal to solve No. 2 spot in rotation

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

The New York Yankees can’t roll into the 2022 season with their current starting pitching rotation. While they have several players returning from injury, they’ve proven to be liabilities, making an acquisition that much more important for general manager Brian Cashman this off-season.

Cashman unloaded a one-year, $25 million offer for Justin Verlander before the lockout commenced, so showing his aggression when it comes to finding a perfect number two behind Gerrit Cole.

This past season, Cole struggled at specific points, finishing with a 3.23 ERA, 12.06 strikeouts per nine, 2.93 SEIRA, and 2.93 xFIP. His xFIP was simply fantastic last season, meaning he was dominant outside of allowing home runs.

Ultimately, the Bombers need to find a great pairing with their star Ace. One option that could fit the bill is Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds, coming off a 3.98 ERA season with 9.21 strikeouts per nine and a 71.5% left on-base percentage. Castillo lost 16 games, but you can justify overlooking that number when considering his individual statistics.

After May, Castillo posted a 2.73 ERA, showcasing incredible growth as the season progressed. He finished with a 4.03 SIERA and 3.63 xFIP. Overall, Luis had his fair share of struggles, but the Yankees would be able to unlock his true potential, and he’s connected to them almost every off-season.

Here’s what a proposed trade may look like between the Yankees-Reds:

Yankees Receive:

-Luis Castillo

Red Receive: 

-Domingo German

-Jonathan Loáisiga

-Oswald Peraza

In this scenario, the Bombers get a starter who can lock down the No. 2 spot with team control until 2024, and they offer up a struggling starter in German, a great relief arm in Loáisiga, and top SS prospect, Peraza. At this point in time, with the reviews of Anthony Volpe, the team is better off using Peraza as a key piece in a trade, and given the Reds don’t have a player of his capacity in their minor-league system, he would be a pretty penny.

Ultimately, the Yankees would hate to lose Loáisiga, and if there’s another way to acquire Castillo without including him, that would be ideal, but given what Castillo’s value sits at, it’s necessary.

What do you think of this trade, and if you disagree, who would you consider? Comment here!

Yankees could go after Orioles lefty starting pitcher in potential trade

yankees, john means

The New York Yankees are in search of starting pitching talent, whether it be through free agency or a trade partner. After offering Justin Verlander a one-year, $25 million deal, it is clear general manager Brian Cashman is willing to spend a pretty penny to acquire a solid talent.

While he could look to an option like Robbie Ray to solve a big hole in the starting rotation alongside Gerrit Cole, he could turn his attention to an AL East rival in a potential trade deal.

The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly interested in trading left-hander John Means, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Means is preparing to earn $3 million in arbitration this season, coming off an adequate 2021 campaign where he pitched 146.2 innings.

The Yankees would like to add a bit more diversity to the rotation, and Means presents a lefty at 28-years-old. Standing at 6’3″ and 235 pounds, Means earned a 3.62 ERA, 8.22 strikeouts per nine, and 1.60 walk rate per nine this past year. He also posted a 32.9% ground ball rate and 80.5% left on-base percentage.

Means’ ground ball rate might not be attractive to the Yankees, as they look for pitchers that settle in the 40% plus area. He features a fastball, slider, curveball, and change-up. His fastball hovers around 93 mph, which he tossed 47.9% of the time in 2021. He’s using less of his slider more breaking pitches, resulting in a solid first half of the season.

The Baltimore starter had his best game of the season on May 5, when he threw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees could look to expand upon his existing talents, given his capacity for great performances. Means is two years removed from an All-Star bid in which he won 12 games and logged a 3.60 ERA.

Based on his success thus far and the need for diversity in the Yankees’ starting rotation, Means makes a ton of sense. However, it all depends on what the Orioles are asking for in a prospective deal.

Yankees: Cincinnati Reds are open to discussing top starter via trade

New York Yankees, Luis Castillo

The New York Yankees need at least a couple of starting pitchers, maybe three, for depth purposes. Ideally, at least one of them would be someone who can impact their season significantly, as opposed to just back-end starters just to fill out the roster.

Free agency presents the Yankees with several top options: Robbie Ray, Carlos Rodon, Justin Verlander, Kevin Gausman, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman are some of the alternatives available in the open market.

However, the trade market could also be something that the Yankees may explore this winter. And it appears that an old target just became available again.

The Cincinnati Reds traded catcher Tucker Barnhart and waived solid starter Wade Miley, all over money. They are clearly in cost-cutting more. MLB Trade Rumors reported (through MLB Network’s Jon Morosi) that, for the second straight offseason, top starter Luis Castillo may be available in trade talks. 

The Yankees may ask for Castillo again

Last year, Reds GM Nick Krall firmly denied that Castillo was available, but clubs inquired anyway, including the Yankees. They were told, reportedly, that they needed to trade Gleyber Torres and more to get the pitcher.

It’s unclear if the Reds, who still have control over Castillo for two more seasons, are still interested in the Yankees’ shortstop, but given the emergence of Jonathan India and Gleyber’s down season, it seems unlikely.

Castillo has a 3.72 ERA, 30.4% strikeout rate, 53.9% grounder rate, and 14.4 fWAR over 707 1/3 career innings in the last five years.  Last year, he overcame a rough start to finish at a 3.98 ERA.

The Yankees, even if the Reds aren’t interested in Torres anymore, have the pieces to get something done should Cinci decides to pounce. Castillo’s name is yet another option for the Bombers to improve their starting pitching depth: he has a long track record of being successful and will pitch the 2022 campaign at 29 years old.

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.