The biggest need for the New York Mets heading into the offseason in my opinion was to shore up the starting rotation. With the Mets lineup having such a down year, they were able to tread water in the first half and maintain sole possession of first place for a majority of the season because of the starting rotation.
Signing Max Scherzer gives the Mets arguably the two best pitchers in the game at the top of their rotation. The Mets have Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco under contract to fill in two of the three remaining spots in the rotation. However, the last spot is up for grabs.
The Mets could decide to sign a starter like Carlos Rodon and Yusei Kikuchi to fill out the rotation. While it's appealing to sign someone so then no assets would have to be move, the Mets would benefit greatly from trading for a better arm.
The Mets should trade for Luis Castillo to fill in the last rotation spot.
The Reds are sellers and Luis Castillo should be every team's number one target from that team. The 29-year-old went 8-16 with a 3.98 ERA in 33 starts last season. He's got electric stuff, and despite a brutal second half, ended up with an ERA under 4.00 for the third straight season.
Castillo is an arm the Mets can rely upon to give them 30+ starts and give at least 170 innings. With a rotation full of question marks it'll be great to have an arm they can rely on to stay healthy and give them quality innings.
In order to acquire an arm like this, the Mets would have to give up a lot. Fortunately, the Mets do have the pieces necessary to get someone like this.
After collaborating with Blog Red Machine here on FanSided, we came up with a trade that I think makes a lot of sense for both sides.
In order to acquire Castillo, the Mets would have to give up a lot. In this trade, they'd do just that. Jeff McNeil is someone who's been in rumors all offseason. While I don't think the Mets should be shopping him around, if they can get an arm like this I'd be more than willing to give up McNeil. I assume if McNeil is dealt, the Mets would pursue Kris Bryant to fill in the missing infield position.
Ronny Mauricio is an interesting prospect. He's ranked 53rd overall according to MLB.com and is the Mets' #3 prospect. His ceiling is sky-high. However, he's blocked by Francisco Lindor. They could move Mauricio to another position, but Brett Baty is a better prospect, is closer to MLB ready, and is a third baseman. Like McNeil, I wouldn't be shopping Mauricio around but for the right arm I would give him up.
Alex Ramirez is the Mets #7 prospect according to MLB.com. He's the highest-ranked outfield prospect in the system. While it would be nice to hold onto him, Ramirez is expendable. The 18-year-old is an extremely raw prospect who slashed .258/.326/.384 with 5 home runs and 35 RBI in Single-A Port St. Lucie. His ETA isn't until 2024, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's later than that. The reds are not competing now so they can wait on him while the Mets get players who are going to help in 2022.
The last piece I have going to Cincinnati is Dominic Hamel. Hamel was the Mets' third round pick this season and threw three innings in rookie ball. The 22 year old is a guy tha tBlog Red Machine thinks the Reds would like.
In this trade, the Mets would be getting Luis Castillo but also Nick Senzel. The former number 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft has been underwhelming at the Major League level but I believe a fresh start can help him. With the Mets likely losing Jonathan Villar in free agency Senzel can replace him in that utility role.
Senzel has played second base, third base, and the outfield. In the season Senzel got some consistent playing time back in 2019 he slashed .256/.315/.427 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 104 games. He stole 14 bases and hit 20 doubles. He showed flashes of speed and power which I think show he can develop into a really good player.
The Mets wouldn't be inserting him into the Opening Day lineup or anything, but having Senzel fill in at a variety of different positions if there're injuries would be a good thing.
Castillo of course is the headliner and the Mets would be very fortunate to land him. The Reds would be getting a former all-star at his lowest value, a top prospect in Mauricio, a mid-level prospect in Ramirez, and a lower-level guy in Hamel.