If the Blue Jays are looking for a starter, the Cincinnati Reds have one of the best options available. With a club looking to shed payroll and sitting fifth in the NL Central, the Reds appear to be willing to trade right-hander, Luis Castillo.
The Dominican-born Castillo is having a great campaign, owning a 2.92 ERA on the season with a 9.4 K/9 and 1.099 WHIP through 71.0 innings. He started the year on the IL but has been terrific when healthy, limiting the damage to four earned runs or less in each of his starts. The Reds ace has one more year of team control after this season and will command a significant trade return, most likely similar if not more than what the Blue Jays offered last season to the Twins for Jose Berrios. Are they willing to go back to the prospect well again?
The Blue Jays have a few areas on the roster that need some additional reinforcements and there is no better time with the trade deadline just weeks away.
The Reds could include Jeff Hoffman in the deal, a former Blue Jays prospect who is having a great season out of the bullpen. While he has struggled to find a place on an MLB roster for most of his career, the right-hander is boasting a 3.07 ERA through 41.0 innings this season with a 9.4 K/9. While the WHIP is a bit high at 1.317, he would be an upgrade over Trevor Richards or some of the other optioned relievers the Jays have been using this season. He is a free agent this upcoming offseason.
What makes the Reds an interesting trade partner is that they may be willing to trade Castillo for a smaller trade package if the other team is willing to take on a bad contract like Mike Moustakas or Joey Votto (who would have to waive his no-trade clause). Many would probably prefer Votto over Moustakas because of the Canadian connection but both are left-handed batters, the only problem is that both players are owed a significant amount of money over the next few years:
Moustakas: $18mm in ’23, $20mm club option in ’24 ($4mm buyout)
Votto: $25mm in ’23, $20mm club option in ’24 ($7mm buyout)
There are a few different ways these deals could work out but if the Jays are willing to take on some bad contracts over the next two seasons (unless they buy out in 2024), a deal with Cincinnati for a bonafide starter could be a big difference-maker.