Once again, Luis Castillo has become one of the top trade targets for the New York Mets this summer. A longtime option for their starting rotation since the moment it became clear the Cincinnati Reds were selling, they’ve recently been rumored to have some heavy interest in him yet again.
Landing Castillo isn’t as easy as Steve Cohen opening up his wallet. The Reds would have to get something pretty sweet in return for one of the summer’s most coveted starting pitcher trade candidate.
Exactly what would it cost the Mets to acquire him? I asked a Reds fan for help.
What would the Mets have to trade in order to pick up Luis Castillo?
One of the smartest and sanest baseball people I know, Drew Koch of Blog Red Machine, was able to provide a little bit of insight into exactly what it is Cincinnati would hope to receive in exchange for Castillo.
The Reds have focused their attention of late on athletic prospects who can play up the middle. That said, they now have a plethora of talented shortstops in the farm system. Cincinnati could use some major league-ready pitching prospects to help bolster their atrocious bullpen or a major league-ready corner outfielder. - Drew Koch, Blog Red Machine
Let’s break this down a little bit further. Because they already have a lot of shortstops, would that mean Ronny Mauricio is off the board? I’d say not. He could always play second base. If there’s one position you can’t have too much of, it’s shortstop.
But that doesn’t seem to be the great need for the Reds. As Koch points out, there are other objectives they will be looking to achieve in a trade headlined by Castillo.
Major-league-ready pitching prospects is where the Mets have a weakness. They don’t really have many of these. Calvin Ziegler, Dominic Hamel, or Jose Butto might be the best they can realistically offer. None of them are particularly close.
The corner outfield is a little different. Khalil Lee and Nick Plummer are both capable of playing center field but also probably better at one of the corners. However, each has struggled in the minimal amount of playing time they have received at the major league level. Plummer was already a free agent signing by the Mets this past offseason which might make Lee the more intriguing option for the Reds. Neither is, however, nearly good enough by himself to land a player like Castillo.
It would seem that based on Koch’s suggestion, the Mets don’t have a single player fitting their greatest needs. Fortunately, when it comes to trade deadline moves, sometimes quantity can make up for quality. There is certainly an intriguing enough package the Mets can offer the Reds for a year and a half of Castillo. Based on what we now know, it might take a little convincing.