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An Outside Perspective, and a Trade Idea: Part I


The Yankees and their fans are totally unafraid of the 2021 Twins. How far would you go to make them squirm?In listening to the latest episode of the Views From 314 Ft. podcast, a companion to the excellent Yankees blog of the same name, I was struck by the way co-hosts Randy Wilkins and Derek Albin (and even guest Bradford William Davis, who covers the Yankees for the New York Daily News) discussed the serious threats to the Yankees’ American League supremacy for the coming season. In short, they don’t see any.

 

Before you crack wise about blithe or arrogant Yankees fans, let me assure you: that’s not who any of those three are. They’re sharp baseball analysts, and they were giving their honest appraisal of the competitive landscape. Hearing them weigh the Twins and find them wanting, not only because of the teams’ recent playoff history but because the Twins’ roster lacks the depth of star power the Yankees boast, helped bring the problem the Twins face into clearer focus.

 

For my email newsletter, Penning Bull, I do weekly, tiered power rankings of all 30 teams. Almost since the inception of that project, two months ago, I have had the Yankees as the third team (and only AL club) in my top tier. The Twins have steadily crept up the rankings, and are now one of only two teams (and the only AL club) in the second tier. Overall, I rate the Yankees as the third-best team in baseball, and the Twins as the fifth-best. Despite putting the tiers into the rankings to more clearly establish where big differences exist, though, I think I’d failed to consider the full implications of having them separated by a tier. Few people are higher on the roster the Twins have built than I am, and I was startled at the way even Yankees partisans were assuming New York to have a clear path to the World Series. Yet, I’m more or less projecting the same thing.

 

Let’s talk about how that could change. Let’s consider a trade that, while probably pushing the Twins front office beyond its comfort zone, could tilt the table in a meaningful way.

 

Reds ace Luis Castillo came up in plenty of trade rumors this winter. Most notably, in fact, he was tied to the Yankees, when Ken Rosenthal reported that Cincinnati had demanded New York shortstop Gleyber Torres in return for him. Nothing ever came all that close to happening, though, and with the season a few weeks away, Castillo looks likely to be the Opening Day starter for the Reds.

 

At 28 and with three years of team control left, Castillo is very much in his prime, and he’s a prime trade chip for a Reds team unlikely to be especially competitive in 2021. Over the last two seasons, he has 261 innings pitched and a DRA- of 64. A Baseball Prospectus statistic, DRA- represents a pitcher’s contribution to run prevention on an indexed scale, where 100 is league-average and lower is better. Castillo is elite. The only pitcher to qualify for the ERA title and best Castillo’s DRA- in each of the last two seasons is Jacob deGrom.

 

As you’d imagine, acquiring Castillo would be difficult. It’s far from impossible, though, because of the Reds’ financial and competitive realities, and because of what the Twins can offer them. I have a particular package in mind, and will share it tomorrow, but for now, drop a comment and let us know what you'd be willing to surrender in order to land Castillo.

 

Continued in Part 2.

 

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The Red's need an impact bat and a shortstop, although they have a good defender at short who broke in at midseason last year. To expect Garcia to skip two levels and hold down the starting job is expecting a bid.  With losing Galvis to Baltimore, some insurance should be sought by the front office. They also need starting pitching, so to obtain a starter from them one would have to be included in the package.

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My understanding was that Castillo would have been available ONLY in a package with one or two of their big contracts that have negative trade value. It's hard to imagine the package of prospects necessary to interest the Reds in dealing Castillo alone.

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I too have thought about this for a long time. About going all out to get Castillo so we can better compete for the World Series. Going all out I don't mean trading a valuable player at a depleted crucial position or a player that is very under valued due to 2020. It would have to be a player who is close to his maximum value and at a position where it's noncrucial and have an abundant simular substitutes; that would marquee a trade.

Any trade would be very expensive but is doable without really radically effecting other areas too much. To begin this discussion, is that I like all our players and hate give up any of them. The 1st player that comes to mind that fits my criteria is Larnach. But I believe that the Reds won't consider a trade for Castillo that doesn't include Kiriloff. Trading Kiriloff will hurt but we have Larnach which is simular to Kiriloff and some argue that he could be better without having to deal with Kiriloff's agent. Reds would want much more therefore my 2nd offering that fits my criteria is Arraez. Losing our IMO top pure hitters would hurt a lot but we have others that can admirably substitutes them,these 2 would marquee the trade. Reds more than likely would want a pitcher most likely a prospect. The rest is negotiable.

You may want to debate, why don't we substitute Lewis for Kiriloff. I don't think that would work for 2 reasons. #1 Lewis is hurt and #2 we are depleted at the crucial positions he plays SS and CF.

This is the trade that I believe that the Reds would consider. It's a bold action that I believe it is worth it to obtain Castillo. I'm not sure the FO would do it.

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We say the Reds aren't likely to be competitive, but:

 

1. That hasn't stopped them from playing to win the past few years (and they finished 2nd and made it into the expanded playoffs last year).

 

2. The NL Central could be really, really bad.

 

The Fangraphs playoff odds page projects the Reds at 79 wins right now -- but they also peg the Cardinals winning the division with only 81 wins. 18.2% chance at winning the division for the Reds.

 

The Reds lost Bauer to FA this winter, although they were somehow only 6-5 in his starts last year, despite his microscopic ERA. They also traded Raisel Iglesias, but he was a pending FA reliever.

 

They've got a pretty uninspiring lineup though, so I wouldn't be surprised if they fail to compete and have to consider trades this summer, regardless of their intent now.

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I know these are supposed to be fun and academic exercises. But Cincinnati was a playoff team last year...I don’t think the loss of one piece is going to send them headlong into an immediate rebuild. This is Cincinnati, not Miami. Meanwhile, the Reds are looking at three more years of Castillo at an insanely good value...he’s not in any way currently contributing to payroll issues for the club. Bottom line, it would require a massive overpay to get Castillo in 2021. So, that’s what I’ll be looking for tomorrow...a massive overpay. Anything less than that is quite unrealistic. To do the ‘all-in’ thing, the timing for the partner needs to work, and it doesn’t with Cincinnati and Castillo.

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I too have thought about this for a long time. About going all out to get Castillo so we can better compete for the World Series. Going all out I don't mean trading a valuable player at a depleted crucial position or a player that is very under valued due to 2020. It would have to be a player who is close to his maximum value and at a position where it's noncrucial and have an abundant simular substitutes; that would marquee a trade.
Any trade would be very expensive but is doable without really radically effecting other areas too much. To begin this discussion, is that I like all our players and hate give up any of them. The 1st player that comes to mind that fits my criteria is Larnach. But I believe that the Reds won't consider a trade for Castillo that doesn't include Kiriloff. Trading Kiriloff will hurt but we have Larnach which is simular to Kiriloff and some argue that he could be better without having to deal with Kiriloff's agent. Reds would want much more therefore my 2nd offering that fits my criteria is Arraez. Losing our IMO top pure hitters would hurt a lot but we have others that can admirably substitutes them,these 2 would marquee the trade. Reds more than likely would want a pitcher most likely a prospect. The rest is negotiable.
You may want to debate, why don't we substitute Lewis for Kiriloff. I don't think that would work for 2 reasons. #1 Lewis is hurt and #2 we are depleted at the crucial positions he plays SS and CF.
This is the trade that I believe that the Reds would consider. It's a bold action that I believe it is worth it to obtain Castillo. I'm not sure the FO would do it.

Daring. But I can see the logic in your proposal. Falvey would by laying his neck on the chopping block for sure. If Castillo pans out Falvey's a hero. If Castillo gets injured and Kirilloff tears up the league for the Reds Falvey will be backing up the UHaul past a mob of Twins fans armed with tar and feathers.

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Am I alone in not being all the impressed with the Yankees? Sure, they have the potential to be “all world” but they also have the potential for serious issues. Behind Cole in the rotation are a lot of questions. Judge and Stanton health wise don’t inspire a ton of confidence. Voit seems like he could regress and nobody seems high on Sanchez anymore. Not sure any Yankee partisan should be getting too cocky about all that surefire “star power”. Maybe they should focus on just staying ahead of the Blue Jays and Rays.

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Look at the abundance of outfielders we have and would we really miss any of the youngsters?  It's a catch 22 but a good position to be in.  So Kiriloff gets moved to NL, doesn't hurt the twins at all.  Solid player but if the Twins play the service time scenario, then move him now vs calling him up and he potential isn't the end all answer.  Not saying he won't be good, but great on paper now to get someone proven in Castillo would be a smart move.  Package Tortuga in there for player flexibility and a High End SP prospect and see what happens

 

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i could see us surviving without Kiriloff but they are gonna want much more....maybe Alcala? Castillo hasn't really proven he's an "Ace". Falvey will never expose that much of his pale behind to that much scrutiny.

 

I think you are right. They are going to ask for Kirilloff + a good SP prospect. Probably Kirilloff + Balazovic or Duran.+ another top 25 prospect like will Holland.  I doubt they accept Canterino in place of Balazovic or Duran.

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I've gamed this before on Baseball Trade Values and it's incredibly difficult. 

Castillo's trade value is something like 120. 

The best deal I made involved moving Lewis in a package.    That's not possible now.

I agree with the premise:     

Castillo puts the Twins SP over the top and in a short series Castillo, Berrios & Maeda

would be VERY tough.  Those 3 can match up with anyone.  

With SP like that you will play close, low scoring games (Kind of like 60's, 70's and 80's baseball).

But you would have power with Cruz, Donaldson, Sano, Kepler, Garver, and even Buxton to make a difference in a close, low scoring game. 

Think Oakland A's in the 70's.

Unfortunately with Lewis and his value of about 45 you're simply cleaning out the top quality in the system to get one player.   

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O.K.    Just put this together WITHOUT Lewis being a part of the deal.

Would the Reds do this ??  I don't know, but it's a "FAIR" trade.

 

Twins Get:

Castillo  SP  110.8 value

Castellanos  RF  --17.60 value  (his negative value is needed to make this even remotely possible.       Total Value   93.20

 

Reds Get:

Max Kepler  RF  53.6 value

Duran   SP     17.90 value

Dobnak   SP   10.00 value

Austidillo   C   6.40 value

Enlow  SP   4.10 value

N. Gordan  SS   1.3   value

Total Value:    93.20

 

It rates as a "FAIR" trade.

 

Castillo makes the Twins SP truly elite: Castillo, Berrios, Maeda, Pineda, Happ

Castellanos replaces Max Kepler in RF.  Defense is nowhere near as good but he's a better hitter in EVERY way (and remember, Castellanos MUST be included to make this work).

 

Reds get a very valuable player in Kepler who is still young.  They get 3 starting pitcher prospects headlined by Duran who could end up being a Castillo.

They get the versatile Austudillo and a SS prospect in Gordon who may not be good enough but is worth taking and giving an opportunity too.

 

There you have it.

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I'm interested in seeing part 2 in regard to the proposed trade scenario presented.

 

Please understand I'm not opposed to the Twins trading for a high end pitcher or player. Nor do I mean to dismiss the talent of Castillo in any way. But forgetting for a moment whether the Reds even WANT to consider moving him, or any potential return they may receive back, I'm just trying to take a mile in the sky look at this idea.

 

1] Maeda is a very good pitcher who seems to have gotten better. Berrios is even more talented overall, hasn't hit a ceiling yet we all hope for, and is just approaching the ideal age of experience vs stuff. There are 3 other guys behind those 2 and some interesting depth and options to make this a potentially excellent rotation. Does 1 guy deliver the goods enough with that being said pitching every 5th day?

 

2] Is a trade for Castillo about a potential short series post season or making the post season? There is a difference. Making it is #1. After that, you never know what will happen. Think the Twins in '87 and the Rays last year. Also think the Dogers and years of futility making the playoffs only to lose.

 

3] Right now, before the season even begins, EVERY team is scribbles on paper. Even the FO running teams know this. The Twins are one of the best teams in all MLB right now, and have been the last 2yrs. Barring horrific seasons or cataclysmic injuries, they could almost stumble to 90 wins. They have built or re-built a system over the past 3yrs that is starting to produce some exciting young talent that is getting really close to contributing and maintaining an open window and "sustainability" if not improving on the product we've already seen.

 

So, does one SP make THAT much of a difference in the scheme of things vs what is given up for him? Not saying yes or no. I'd love to have Castillo. I'm just asking?

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**The Yankees and their fans are totally unafraid of the 2021 Twins. How far would you go to make them squirm?**

 

No team fears us in the playoffs. We’ve lost 18 straight playoff games, so IDK why any team would take us seriously.

 

If we’re being serious though, IDK if the Reds would trade Castillo. They seem to be in a position to compete for a Wild card spot or a division title. Maybe call up the Rockies about German Marquez.

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I think you are right. They are going to ask for Kirilloff + a good SP prospect. Probably Kirilloff + Balazovic or Duran.+ another top 25 prospect like will Holland.  I doubt they accept Canterino in place of Balazovic or Duran.

a pitcher to replace Castillo will surely have to be included. Im not sure of their depth needs but it will cost someone like Rooker, Larnach or Kiriloff. If I recall their needs are middle infield depending on the Nick Senzel plans so I don't see that deal ever happening really. We can't trade Lewis now.... they'd never take Gordon, and I doubt Blankenthorn(is that right?) will be enough.
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I've gamed this before on Baseball Trade Values and it's incredibly difficult. 

Castillo's trade value is something like 120. 

The best deal I made involved moving Lewis in a package.    That's not possible now.

I agree with the premise:     

Castillo puts the Twins SP over the top and in a short series Castillo, Berrios & Maeda

would be VERY tough.  Those 3 can match up with anyone.  

With SP like that you will play close, low scoring games (Kind of like 60's, 70's and 80's baseball).

But you would have power with Cruz, Donaldson, Sano, Kepler, Garver, and even Buxton to make a difference in a close, low scoring game. 

Think Oakland A's in the 70's.

Unfortunately with Lewis and his value of about 45 you're simply cleaning out the top quality in the system to get one player.

 

I can totally see your point but .....without knowing the reverse splits I feel like our team is way too right handed... the Yankees are too.
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I always thought Castillo would be untouchable. So when the Reds put him out there I instantly began to come up with trade options. But come right down to it, I think this would become a futile exercise, because some get excited about the possibilities and others anxious about losing their favorite players or combination of both. I don't see FO making this trade unless they really want him and I mean really want him and in that case I wouldn't trust them making the right trade.

I'm a firm believer of trading. Trading helps us to balance our 40 man roster and bolster area where we are weak at the same time thinning areas where we are overstocked. I believe every player have locked potential. If you are fortunate the team that draft a player has the key to unlock that potential. But many times they don't so trading that player, gives him the opportunity to find the right team that pocess the key to unlock that potential. Johan Santana is case in point. He came to the Twins as a good pitcher but when he found the key of the circle change up, he became an elite ace.

How did the Reds come across Castillo? Castillo bounced around as a young prospect. Miami saw potential in him and had 2 opportunities at him, they all gave up on him. Reds picked him up for almost nothing and the rest is history. What's my point? My point is all prospects have potential and many can't see it and give up on prospects. Even if we can't unlock a prospect another team might. Also keep an eye open for players that we can unlock.

I think this is the road that FO likes to take in FA. But still I'd like them to be more active in trading.

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Doc Gast, Channing1964, cHawk,  ALL great points (and why this is such a fun site to come to). 

 

I think cHawk has the right idea, German Marquez has always been a target of mine.

 

He's also very expensive as reflected by Baseball Trade Values, just not as expensive as Castillo   (so you don't need to take on a contract like Castellanos---swapping him for Kepler).

 

There's no doubt the Rockies won't be competitive for a few years.  Marquez is probably available.  I see it as a mid-season/trade deadline deal.

But the nice thing about a deal like that is the Twins are getting Marquez for the short term AND long term.  Getting him away from Coors intrigues me. 

 

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This has been a hot topic for many of us all winter:  do the Twins need another frontline starter to succeed in the playoffs?  Certainly they had at least two reasonable trade opportunities in Snell and Darvish, both of whom were acquired for a good but not elite package of prospects.  But as many TD readers have remarked, when it comes to trading prospects, this is a very risk-adverse FO.

 

In looking at the Reds as a trade partner earlier this offseason, I had hoped they could grab a very serviceable veteran in Castellanos along with someone like Castillo or Gray.  It made sense, at least on paper, especially after signing Simmons, making Polanco expendable at a position(SS) that Reds are weak in.  Adding one of our two top pitching prospects and a 10-20 prospect to the package seemed a reasonable and doable package for Sonny Gray, at least.  But once they resigned Cruz, adding Castellanos did not make much sense.  In all probability, In any case, Falvine probably had few if any conversations with the Reds, given their 4 year history of trisk-averse trade policy.

 

As things have developed late in the offseason and 2 weeks into preseason play, the additions of Happ and Shoemaker look smart, at least on paper.  With Berrios and Maeda looking very sharp to date, it is not a stretch to think both could make for a very competitive #1/2 starters in the playoffs, and backed up by a solid threesome.  Right now, this looks like a better starting five than the Yanks.

 

I can't say I have the same trust in our bullpen, primarily because of the total ineffectiveness of Duffy and some erratic games by the rest of the big four "closer-types".  No reason to push the panic button yet, but again, many of us hoped in vain for addition of a shut-down reliever.  The FO opted to add a couple of veterans who could slot in late in the game, but are by no means elite relievers.

 

More troubling so far this spring has been the offense.  Yes, SSS, but the Twins relative inability to mount much of an offense is troubling.  In particular, Kepler, Sano, Polanco and Kirillof(until yesterday's HR) have looked weak.  While I would like to write off 2020 as an aberration, last year's offense was subpar, especially in the playoffs(what else is new).  The Twins reliance on the long ball might be further hurt by the deadened ball this year.  Relying on erratic hitters like Kepler, Sano and Garver might be a fool's errand.  For this reason alone I would not part with their two best hitting prospects, Larnach & Kirillof, for anyone.  The twins need more consistency in their lineup and those two, along with Arraez, represent the best chances for improvement, even as early as 2021.  We just don't have the depth in the minors to correct some of the obvious deficiencies in our current lineup.  So my take is : wait until near the trade deadline and then, reassess the teams' critical needs to break their stomach-churning playoff streak.  Think big or go home, Mr. Falvey!

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I think lost in all the speculation is that the Reds want a top shortstop. Offering them anything else is like offering an orange when they want an apple. Are Polanco or Gordon "top" shortstops? Evidently not when you move one to 2B and the other can't make his way out of the Minors. Keep dreaming!

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I think lost in all the speculation is that the Reds want a top shortstop. Offering them anything else is like offering an orange when they want an apple. Are Polanco or Gordon "top" shortstops? Evidently not when you move one to 2B and the other can't make his way out of the Minors. Keep dreaming!

 

Disagree!  Reds can't afford a top prospect.  Polanco is a bargain and better by far overall than anything else on Reds 40 man.  Of course, Twins would need to add one top pitching prospect plus one other top 20 prospect, and more if it were Castillo rather than Gray.  But Sonny Gray would be a very solid top 3 starter.  With that said, likelihood of going after either one is negligible now and probably also at trade deadline unless year goes south or serious ineffectiveness/injury in starting 5.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think you are right. They are going to ask for Kirilloff + a good SP prospect. Probably Kirilloff + Balazovic or Duran.+ another top 25 prospect like will Holland.  I doubt they accept Canterino in place of Balazovic or Duran.

yeah Castillo is a benchmark along with Gray. to pry one of them away would cripple them.
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