The Houston Astros have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, so it might seem silly to add an arm at this point. Nonetheless, they have been rumored to have asked about Luis Castillo, the Reds’ ace who is having a career year on a miserable team. Castillo could have several teams vying for his services, so he could be totally priced out for the Astros who have other more pressing needs. However, if they are able to package an appealing trade for Castillo, it could create one of the best starting rotations ever.
Luis Castillo’s stats are amazing this season to date, and he continued that dominance during the All-Star game with one shutout inning. Castillo has a 3-4 record which is outshined by his 2.77 ERA over the course of his 13 starts. He also has a 1.077 WHIP and an amazing walk to strikeout ratio at 27/82. The two-time All-Star is set to become a free agent in 2024 and is arbitration-eligible next year, so he wouldn’t be a rental.
You might ask, what would a trade package look like and why is it worth considering? The first thing Luis Castillo brings is some more veteran leadership to the staff. This is year six in the Majors for Castillo and the 29 year old pitcher has one postseason start under his belt, where he gave up one run versus Atlanta in 2020 over 5.1 innings. I believe the Astros could package Jake Odorizzi, Jose Urquidy and Sugar Land’s Peter Solomon together to acquire Castillo which would bring their starting rotation to be some combo of Verlander, Valdez, Javier, Garcia, Castillo, and still McCullers when he returns.
The only rub is that the Yankees, Dodgers, Twins, and other playoff contenders are competing for his services so that hypothetical package above might not be enough. The benefits to that trade package, however, are that the Astros could still use either Garcia or Javier in a trade package for a bat and call up Sugar Land star and top prospect Hunter Brown to fill in at the six spot for the rest of the season, if they decide they need a premium position player.
Either way, the Astros would be in a good position to continue their excellence into the postseason and if they get Luis Castillo, he would immediately be the third starter and the Astros would have the toughest playoff rotation to face in all of baseball. Best of all, if Castillo is added, both he and Framber Valdez can exchange hair style tips.