Dodgers Reportedly Showing Interest in Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray

While the winter hot stove season typically surrounds action involving free agents, the Los Angeles Dodgers jumped into the rumor mill this weekend with a little trade speculation.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, Los Angeles has talked to the Cincinnati Reds about starting pitchers Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray.

The Reds are an interesting case because it appears as if the team wants to significantly cut payroll right when they seemed to be on a bit of an upswing.

After having an Opening Day payroll of less than $60 million in 2020, the Reds made their move in 2021 with a $120 million mark, seriously hoping to contend for a spot in the postseason. However, the club finished in third place in the NL Central with an 83-79 record, leaving ownership to seriously consider a new plan moving forward.

Cincinnati surprised a lot of people with their offensive punch — see Joey Votto, Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suarez and Jonathan India — but they never quite lived up to their expectations in the pitching department, finishing 20th in the majors in overall team ERA.

Pundits speculate that the effects that COVID had on teams — especially the smaller market clubs — is finally rearing its ugly head, forcing teams like Cincinnati to take a step back on spending.

Whatever the case may be, Castillo could be a huge bargain, depending on what Cincinnati wants in return. The 28-year-old righty is owed just $7.5 million in 2022 and is under control for the 2023 season.

In 2021, Castillo was tied for the league lead in starts with 33, suggesting outstanding inning-eating and durability qualities. He also made 30-plus starts in his 2018 and 2019 campaigns. Last year, he finished with a 4.7 WAR, 3.98 ERA and a 3.75 FIP with a 9.2 K/9 over 187-2/3 innings pitched.

The 32-year-old Gray is owed $10.2 million in 2022 and an even $12 million in 2023 before becoming eligible for free agency in 2024. Last year, Gray’s numbers were on the disappointing side, as he posted a 3.3 WAR, a 4.19 ERA and a 3.99 FIP over 26 starts and 135 innings of work. Nevertheless, the righty’s 10.2 K/9 was the third highest of his career, suggesting there could still be a little left in the tank.

While some trends indicate the end of the traditional starting pitcher might be near, the Dodgers have not shown any signs from steering away from a normal five-man crew. As it stands, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Andrew Heaney and Tony Gonsolin should be contenders for 2022 Opening Day rotation spots.

Veteran lefty David Price may also be a contender, although he was never really stretched out fully despite his many efforts as an opener last year. Price was included on the 2021 NLDS roster against the Giants, but the team decided not to add him to the NLCS roster, instead opting for left-handed relievers Alex Vesia and Justin Bruihl.

Dodgers fans everywhere are hoping the team makes legitimate efforts to bring back both Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, although it still remains to be seen how Trevor Bauer and the $34 million he’s owed in 2022 will impact the team budget for next season.

10 thoughts on “Dodgers Reportedly Showing Interest in Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray

  1. I am crappy at working out trade scenarios. Y’all can have at this one, but I would love to see both of those guys on the Dodgers IF< and that is a big IF they do not bring back Scherzer and Kersh. If they do that, there is not much room unless you trade someone.

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    1. Take this list: Kershaw, Scherzer, Bauer
      For every decent major league starter AF trades for, one of those guys gets lopped off next year’s roster. That’s not to say the decision will be Andrew’s but contrary to last year when Gonsolin, White and Jackson could be sent to OKC when they weren’t needed, guys like Castillo, Gray, Montas, etc. would be on the roster all year.

      Still using Gonso, White and Jackson as fill-ins there wouldn’t be much logic in having more than 5 major league veteran starters to start the year, unless one or more of them were also capable of working out of the bullpen (such as Price and Wood have done in the past).

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  2. I’d rather see AF try to get Scherzer to stay, but if they do get serious with the reds, I believe cincy will try to off load some bad money, with those deals. You guys mentioned Moose in the other thread, I’m sure it would take something like that, and let’s not forget both Castillo, and Gray were kind of crappy most off the season last year.

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    1. Yeah, they had their bad moments. I saw a game Gray pitched against LA and he was done in by some pretty shoddy fielding that extended the inning. Lux and Seager then took him deep. Castillo has real nasty stuff, and the Reds are not the Dodgers. I think he is a sure fire # 2 on any staff. This one, he is the 3.

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    1. Why in the world would he even consider accepting 18 mil when at the very minimum he’ll get 40 mil over 3 years? And he could conceivably get as much as 60 mil over 4 years. I know you think that AF will never pay what some other team would, and you might be right, but I tend to think he will. We shall see, sometime between now and a couple years from now when the strike is over.

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      1. I finally figured it out Jeff, I never thought from the get go he or Seager would accept the QO, but my problem is obviously that I have become very jaded against players and the amounts of money they get for playing a game, and the many times I have seen them reject what I believe to be very generous offers. Now yeah, Chris is going to make a lot of cash. I just think he is replaceable in some ways by guys already on the team. Maybe not defensively, but maybe offensively. I just have to believe that starting pitching at this point is much more of a need than a .250 hitting strikeout machine.

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  3. Your right about the lockout/walkout, Jeff the players let themselves get taken to the cleaners last time, I think they are going to dig in deeply, trying to make up some of what they gave away. The owners offer so far have been just ridiculous. I did hear a few days ago, that the owners, and players are talking several times a day, which is a good sign, but I expect a long and contentious negotiation.

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    1. I expect at least a lockout. At the very least simply because the leagues last offer of basing salaries on WAR is so far out there that they really are not close to being on the same page as the MLBPA, plus the fact that the players do not trust Manfred.

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