Should the Phillies pursue Luis Castillo before the trade deadline?

Luis Castillo
Cincinnati Reds’ Luis Castillo walks to the dugout during the fifth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Cincinnati, Friday, July 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

With the Major League Baseball trade deadline in just 20 days, the Phillies are expected to be heavily involved in the trade market. They have multiple needs and with the increasing amount of injuries to their best players, Dave Dombrowski is going to have to make a move(s) sooner or later. We have previously discussed what trades with the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels could look like for the Phils. Another team that Dombrowski could strike a deal with, is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are on the decline and have some high-end talent they will be looking to move. Will the Phillies and Reds complete a trade before the August 2nd deadline?

1-2-3 Punch

While teams like the Mets and Brewers have loaded starting rotations, the Phillies have held their own in 2022. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have pitched like All-Stars (whether they make the team or not). Kyle Gibson, Ranger Suarez, and Zach Eflin have had their ups and downs, but overall the starting five of the Phillies rotation has been solid. The starting rotation has the 6th best ERA in the National League and 13th overall in the MLB this season. They currently sit in 8th place in the big leagues with strikeouts by starting pitching.

With this being stated, the Phillies have an opportunity to improve their core. The Cincinnati Reds have arguably the best starter on the market in Luis Castillo. Castillo was named to the All-Star game this season and has a sub-3 earned run average, where it currently sits at 2.92. Luis averages a strikeout per inning and roughly just two walks per nine innings. His command is fantastic and Castillo sits in the 91st percentile in fastball velocity.

Adding Luis would give the Phillies a dynamic 1-2-3 punch in the rotation. Wheeler-Nola-Castillo would terrify opposing lineups and give the Phillies an advantage over rival teams down the stretch. If the Phils were to make the Wild Card, any combination of these three arms would strike fear in opposing clubs.

Cost for Castillo

The Phillies have made it very public that they are going to protect their top prospects. As the organization looks to rebuild its farm system, they have been very stubborn in keeping its better prospects. In the past Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, Mick Abel, and Andrew Painter have been labeled as untouchable. In a deal with Cincinnati to acquire Luis Castillo, the price is right to move one of the organization’s best.

The Phillies have three pitching prospects that Cincinnati will most likely ask about. Andrew Painter (#1 ranked prospect), Mick Abel (#2 ranked prospect), and Griff McGarry (#8 ranked prospect). The Phillies would only have to move one of these arms in the deal, but depending on which player will determine the rest of the package. Painter is the best of the three as of right now. McGarry is the closest to reaching the major leagues and Abel may just be the most likely to be dealt.

The Price is Right

The Phils will have to package other minor league prospects to get the deal done with Cincinnati. There will be a hot trade market for Luis Castillo and teams like the Mets, Yankees, and Dodgers have all been rumored in the sweepstakes. Depending on the price, the Phillies can make a competitive offer.

Luis Castillo would be a game changer for the Phillies the day he arrives. He has two years left of team control and the Phillies could really use his arm as they race to get back into the post-season. Castillo is also a long-term play for the organization, which is why moving a top prospect is more than fair to ask of Dave Dombrowski. Regardless of where he ends up, Luis Castillo will be traded before the trade deadline in August. If he switches from Cincinnati Red to Phillies’ pinstripes, remains to be seen.

AP Photo/Aaron Doster