MLB Trade Rumors: Reds' Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle Interest Rangers

Adam WellsDecember 1, 2021

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 29: Starting pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers the ball against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 29, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After making several big splashes in free agency, the Texas Rangers may look to the trade market to continue upgrading their roster.

Per MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Rangers have contacted the Cincinnati Reds about acquiring a starting pitcher from the trio of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle.

The Rangers have been the surprise team of the offseason. They have spent $561.2 million on reported agreements with Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, Kole Calhoun and Jon Gray.

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Top 10 $ committed to free agents so far:<br><br>Texas: $561.2 million<br>New York Mets: $254 million<br>Toronto: $121 million<br>Seattle: $115 million<br>Detroit: $77 million<br>Houston: $67 million<br>Miami: $53 million<br>Los Angeles Angels: $45 million<br>St. Louis: $44 million<br>San Francisco: $36 million

After reporting Semien's seven-year, $175 million deal, ESPN's Jeff Passan noted the Rangers "aren't done" and "went into this winter with money to spend."

The agreements with Seager and Gray followed suit, but it still doesn't appear as if Texas' front office is standing down.

The Reds apparently came into this offseason with the goal of cutting payroll. General manager Nick Krall told reporters Nov. 3 after trading catcher Tucker Barnhart to the Detroit Tigers that they "must align our payroll to our resources and continue focusing on scouting and developing young talent from within our system."

Per Spotrac, Gray is the Reds' fourth-highest-paid player in 2022 with a base salary of $10.4 million. Castillo and Mahle are both entering their second year of arbitration with projected salaries of $7.5 million and $5.5 million, respectively, for next season. 

Mahle is the youngest of that group at 27 years old. He led Reds starters with 210 strikeouts and ranked second with a 3.75 ERA. Castillo tied for the MLB lead with 33 starts and posted a 3.98 ERA in 187.2 innings.

Gray posted his highest ERA (4.19) since 2018, but he averaged more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings for the third consecutive season.

The Rangers' moves suggest a strong desire to improve after finishing last in the American League West with a 60-102 record. Adding more help to their starting rotation would go a long way toward making them competitive in a loaded division with the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics.