2. Mets trade target Luis Castillo
For the longest time, I have been the biggest Luis Castillo supporter. I think he's got electric stuff and is only getting better. With the Reds leaning towards selling, everyone who makes over the league minimum figures to be available. I believe Luis Castillo is the best pitcher the Mets can get in the trade market.
The 29-year-old went 8-16 last season with a 3.98 ERA. The ERA might not look great on paper, but Castillo had an up and down season. He came out of the gates slowly, posting a 4.65 ERA in 19 first-half starts. However, he settled in and finished strong with a 3.18 second-half ERA.
Castillo is one of the better pitchers in baseball, while also being one of the most durable. In each of the last three full seasons played, Castillo has made at least 31 starts with at least 169 innings pitched. It can't be stressed enough how badly the Mets could use someone who they can rely on to take the ball every fifth day and go deep into a ball game. The most reliable arm the Mets have to do that is Scherzer which is a great option, but he's 37 so who knows how good that will actually turn out.
The only Met to make 30 starts this season was Marcus Stroman who left in free agency. Taijuan Walker made 29 starts but has a very extensive history. The pitcher with the third most games started is Tylor Megill who might not even make the team.
Castillo has struck out 9.8 batters per nine in his career while allowing just 1.1 HR/9. For a guy making most of his starts in Cincinnati, that's a pretty impressive feat. The walks are a bit high at 3.3/9 in his career, but if he can improve on that number while pitching in a bigger ballpark, the sky is the limit for Castillo. I believe he has ace potential and would be the best third starter in the game.
Castillo has two years of team control left, so the price tag will be a hefty one. I came up with a proposal with the help of Blog Red Machine on FanSided that might be steep, but it's worth it for a pitcher of this caliber. Castillo would make the Mets a team that would be so hard to beat in the postseason with three ace-caliber pitchers pitching twice in a seven-game series.