SF Giants: 5 controllable MLB trade deadline targets
By Marc Delucchi
5 controllable SF Giants trade targets: 5. Luis Castillo
It may be unusual for a top contender to acquire a bounceback candidate at the deadline, but the Giants may not have another opportunity to acquire a pitcher like Luis Castillo with long-term control. Any deal would likely require a massive package in return, and given his struggles this year, that might be a hard thing for the front office to stomach. Still, if they believe Castillo is close to his peak self, it may be worth the price.
The Giants acquiring Castillo would be a full-circle move for multiple reasons. Castillo originally signed with the Giants as an amateur but was traded to the Miami Marlins in the ill-fated Casey McGehee trade. He would also join the growing list of former Reds starters who found their way into San Francisco’s rotation.
Since making his big-league debut in 2017, Castillo has been a very effective starter with Cincinnati. Entering 2021, he posted a 3.62 ERA with 578 strikeouts over 519.2 career innings. This season, however, things have not gone on as well. Castillo has a 6.62 ERA over 12 starts, allowing a league-leading 43 earned runs over 58.1 innings pitched. His strikeout rate has also dropped to a career-low 19.5%.
Nontraditional metrics are higher on Castillo’s performance. While a 4.72 FIP, 4.23 xFIP, and 4.18 ERA are more in line with a fourth or fifth starter, it suggests that he should see positive regression soon. His fastball is averaging 96.5 mph, and his changeup and slider still look like above-average or better-offspeed pitches. With two years of team control remaining after this season via arbitration, there’s a case to be made for an aggressive front office to make a sizable offer to the Reds, entrusting their pitching coaches to help Castillo return to his old form.
Castillo is easily the least likely player on this list to end up on the market. The Reds would probably be best served holding onto their ace and hoping he regains his previous form. Even if Cincinnati wants to recoup a prospect package for the flamethrowing righty, a strong second half would likely stimulate a robust offseason market. Still, teams like the Giants will surely have their eyes on Castillo if the Reds remain below .500 into the summer.
The SF Giants have the best record in Major League Baseball. They are clearly set to be buyers at this summer’s MLB trade deadline for the first time since Farhan Zaidi became the organization’s president of baseball operations. If Zaidi targets controllable players beyond this season, Luis Castillo, John Means, Richard Rodriguez, Byron Buxton, and Mitch Haniger could all become big names headed to San Francisco.