The Reds have reportedly asked the Yankees for shortstop Gleyber Torres and prospects if New York wants to acquire starting pitcher Luis Castillo in a trade.
That realistically would never happen, at least not this offseason, and Cincinnati likely realizes as much. The club has chosen to project strength not only to Brian Cashman but also to other general managers around the league who might be eyeing Castillo. Cincinnati to this point is uninterested in considering reasonable offers.
Castillo staying through the 2021 season would preserve the Reds’ playoff ambitions. At 28, he’s in the prime of his career and still under team control for three more years.
The right-hander might be underrated nationally because of the excellence of teammates Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer. He posted a 3.21 ERA in 2020 and struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings. His peripheral numbers suggest a yearlong ERA below 3.00 is possible if not likely in the near future; his 2020 FIP was 2.65, and his expected ERA based on types of contact against him was 3.04. In other words, he pitched better than his already stellar basic stats imply.
With Bauer leaving Cincinnati in free agency, the Reds have little incentive to give Castillo away.
Castillo would obviously be a difference maker for the Yankees who could alter the course of a playoff series. He would give New York an ace behind Gerrit Cole without commanding ace money.
Torres, however, is a 24-year-old shortstop with two All-Star appearances in three years. As rare as a top-end starting pitcher might be, such a talented player at a premium infield position is even harder to attain. He’s virtually untouchable in trade discussions.
The Reds (31-29 last year) could always change their tune and deal Castillo at the deadline this year or beyond, but for now, they are happy where they are. Prospects far from MLB do nothing to assist their pursuit of a postseason bid and are therefore less desirable centerpieces.
As much as it might irk Yankees fans, that’s probably the correct mindset.