While free agency has been the main focus in Major League Baseball this offseason and blockbuster deals are being signed by some of the sport's best and brightest, there are some teams opting to build through trades as they recognize players from other organizations can help improve key positions in their own.
The Los Angeles Angels appear to be one such team as they eye Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Castillo. The Baltimore Orioles, on the other hand, are sellers and could be looking to offload the one player who showed up and showed out for the team in 2021.
Angels Looking to Strengthen Bullpen with Reds' Luis Castillo
MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported that the Angels are interested in acquiring Reds pitcher Luis Castillo. The asking price is high and the teams remain far apart, though.
It is somewhat surprising that Cincinnati is even listening to offers for Castillo considering ESPN's Buster Olney reported as recently as Tuesday that both the pitcher and Tyler Mahle are considered "off-limits" but that other starter Sonny Gray is available.
The team is in the midst of cutting costs, though, so when another club comes asking about a player, they at least owe it to themselves to listen. Even if they have no intention of letting him go.
For the Angels, signing Castillo would be a positive on several fronts.
They would get a strong starter to strengthen their lineup. Acquiring him would mean picking up a contract with two years of club control at a relatively inexpensive amount of $7.6 million this winter. Beyond that, the low price and short-term nature of the deal mean the team could still conceivably enter a bidding war for a top-tier pitcher still on the market.
He would also join a rotation that added Noah Syndergaard earlier this offseason.
The only potential negative of dealing for Castillo would be whatever Cincinnati would want in return.
The club isn't going to let its best pitcher walk away in a one-sided trade. The Reds will look toward the future and want prospects—a lot of them—in return. Not just developmental players, either. The Reds will have eyes on competing in their division and were a tough out for many teams a season ago. They will expect a player or two to be able to step in and contribute right away.
The interest is reportedly there, though, and it appears it will come down to whether the West Coast squad is able to come up with a package that entices the Reds to deal and if it is willing to mortgage the future to bring Castillo into the fold.
Baltimore Open to Listening to Offers for Cedric Mullins
The Orioles are listening to offers for All-Star Cedric Mullins, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
"Word has gotten out that the Orioles would listen on star CF Cedric Mullins, and teams are lining up to give it a shot knowing it's a long shot," Heyman said. "Asking price is understandably extremely high. All these teams (and more) could use a CF: Philly, Rangers, Astros, Giants, Mets, Yanks."
O's fans are used to their team developing players who then walk away, either via free agency or trades, so the idea that the organization would be dangling a player in the hopes of picking up affordable veterans or unproven young talent in return is not that surprising.
What is, though, is that the team would listen to offers for Mullins, who came from nowhere in 2021 to win a Silver Slugger Award, appear in the All-Star Game and garner MVP support at the end of the season. In another dismal season for Charm City's favorite birds, he was a silver lining.
His 30 home runs, 59 RBI, 30 stolen bases and .360 on-base percentage helped keep the Orioles in games they had no business being competitive in. How much did he mean to the team's win-loss record? He possesses a Wins Above Replacement number of 5.7, meaning he alone was worth nearly six wins to the organization.
Mullins did everything but pitch for the Orioles in 2021, and regardless of how steep the asking price is, the idea that the team would even think about listening to offers has to be deflating to a fanbase that has watched its team let its best players walk away far too often.
If Mullins can catch lightning in a bottle and replicate last season's numbers, he would benefit any of the teams Heyman mentioned as potential suitors. The Orioles, though, owe it to their loyal fans to hold on to the center fielder and let him star at Camden Yards for as long as it can.