The Houston Astros are hell-bent on getting a quality starter for 2020 and the trade rumors are starting to fly. Could the team land Luis Castillo?
Houston Astros fans — today is the last of the Winter Meetings that have been held in San Diego since this past Sunday. We’ve seen a lot of deals get done, including the signing of Gerrit Cole to a record, nine-year, $324 million deal by the New York Yankees.
Anthony Rendon, one of the darlings of this past World Series’ competition, was just inked by the Los Angeles Angels to the tune of a long-term pact that’s for seven years and $245 million to boot.
The dominoes are falling and the Houston Astros have largely watched the drama unfold from the sidelines as the teams with gobs of cash trying to get the most-coveted players that are available for this offseason.
But did we expect anything different? The Houston Astros have been known to be shrewd with their moves, being able to find quality talent at bargain prices. They’ve been spending some money as of late, awarding Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander and Alex Bregman multi-year extensions but their core values of how they’ve approached free agency have remained largely unfettered.
The Houston Astros signed free agent Dustin Garneau to a one-year deal well before the start of the WM’s and they were able to successfully trade defensive mainstay Jake Marisnick to the New York Mets for prospect hopefuls Blake Taylor and Kenedy Corona.
But outside of that, there has been no blockbuster rumors implicating the Houston Astros up until yesterday when the contents of the pot on the hot stove started to runneth over.
Rumors started to fly that Correa isn’t necessarily as untouchable on the trade front as we thought him to be and his name started to start flying into some lofty proposals tossed all around cyberspace.
We all know about Correa’s injury history and he hasn’t played close to a full season since 2016 — his sophomore campaign — where he appeared in 153 games. Since then, he’s appeared in 110, 109 and 75 games respectively.
Considering that he’d still get days off in each of those games missed, that’s still well over triple-digit games that he has not been a part of over the past three seasons.
Correa is estimated to earn $7.4 million this season amid his second-to-last season of arbitration negotiations before becoming a free agent in 2022.
Because of his ability to be quite brittle at times with his injuries, the thought of signing him to a long-term has to take some deep thought for the 2012 No. 1 pick of the MLB Amateur Draft.
This allowed the hearsay to blow the door wide open yesterday on trades that could send the one-time All-Star packing his bags.
Houston Astros executive vice president/general manager Jeff Luhnow has since reassured that Correa would be an Astro but I’m positive these rumors with trade proposals involving him have been discussed.
But meanwhile, there’s an excellent pitcher that the Houston Astros could trade for using Correa as collateral along with Josh Reddick, who is all but sure going to likely be swapped from the Houston Astros this season. Spirited baseball blogger Alex “Juicy” Jensen floated this proposal on the Twittersphere recently and I’m certainly on board with it as well.
Reddick is in the final season of a four-year, $52 million deal he signed with the Houston Astros back in late 2016 that will earn him $13M. With top prospect Kyle Tucker seemingly ready to take over the reigns in the outfield for the foreseeable future, this leaves Reddick in the middle of roster crunch that the team is still trying to mitigate even at this moment.
But about that pitcher, I was talking about…
If the Houston Astros could somehow convince the Cincinnati Reds to let right-hander Luis Castillo away from vises of their kung-fu grip on his services, the franchise would have a great starter to put in the rotation for years to come.
Correa would be the mainstay at shortstop the Reds could use and Reddick would provide a valuable defensive, veteran presence in their outfield. I also wouldn’t mind one — possibly two — of their lower-level prospects from their farm system, which is currently ranked 7th in the majors.
Castillo just finished up a hot year where he turned in All-Star honors, was ranked 9th in the NL in terms of WAR (4.7), 5th in wins (15), 9th in strikeouts (226), 3rd in H/9 (6.6), 10th in adjusted ERA+ (133) all give the recipe of a sure-fire starter that could pay immense dividends for the future.
The 26-year-old flame-thrower keeps his pitches up in the high 80s to 90s with his changeup,
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four-seam fastball, sinker and slider being the key part of his repertoire with some slight sidearm action as well.
Castillo is estimated to earn $584K in arb this season and his three seasons left of club control before becoming a free agent in 2024, something that would be absolutely ideal for the Astros.
Even though Luhnow would have to do some convincing to trade Correa away, I don’t think it would take much to demonstrate how much an impact he’d make to any organization because for all intent and purposes, his injury woes may be behind him but the Houston Astros can’t necessarily afford to wait-and-see if that’s something to happen, especially if they want to continue to contend year-after-year.
We’ll have to see how things shake out but if Castillo’s name is raised as the centerpiece into any trade talks with this organization, they’d be a damn fool not to oblige, engage and try to put their best foot forward to get a deal done.
Castillo posted a 15-8 record, a 3.40 ERA while tossing 226 strikeouts to 72 earned runs along with a 3.70 FIP and 1.14 WHIP through 190.2 innings in 32 starts for the Reds last season.