Playing matchmaker with top MLB trade targets Luis Castillo, Frankie Montas | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats & Rumors


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With Major League Baseball’s August 2 trade deadline just over a month away, it’s time to overthink all the rumors coming out of the ether.

In that case, we’ll have some fun with the latest news on Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo and Oakland Athletics ace Frankie Montas.

As reported by Stone Gammons from The Athletic on Saturday, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman “goes for a run” at Castillo and Montas. But they could have company in this pursuit, as Gammons has also named the Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants. as potential suitors for the two right-handers.

If we want to determine how Castillo and Montas match up with these seven contenders, we must first answer the question of which of them is the most desirable pitcher.

Spoiler alert: This is a trick question.

How Castillo and Montas overlap

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Age, controllability and salary

For starters, Castillo and Montas are in the same place in their refereeing deadlines. Both are in their second year of eligibility and are expected to become free agents after 2023.

The differences in age and salary, for their part, are only minimal. Castillo is 29 years and 199 days old and Montas is 29 years and 100 days old. The former earns $7.4 million, compared to $5.0 million for the latter.

While those things tilt in Montas’ favor, he’s close enough to actually be a boost.


Montas and the A’s got scared recently when the right-hander took a line reader from his throwing hand on May 21, but the incident did not require a stay on the injured list.

This has been the theme of Montas’ career, as he has yet to record a single run on the IL. The only meaningful moment he missed was for a 80 game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs which ran from June 21 to September 24, 2019. While it derailed his career, it hardly derailed him.

For his part, Castillo has just been to IL for the first time this season. Yet it is for still vaguely alarming reasons that he develops a sore shoulder during spring training in March and didn’t finally debut in 2022 until May 9.

Also, it may be a downside for Castillo that he has more professional rounds on his arm than Montas. While Castillo pitched 1,240.1 innings between regular season and the playoffsMontas is only at 1,114.2 sleeves.

Of course, the flip side of this argument is that Castillo is more of a commodity known as a sleeve-eater. He has topped 160 innings three times in a season, while Montas only did so for the first time by recording 187 frames in 2021.

So again, a thumbs up.


From a career-wide perspective, the balance here tilts decidedly towards Castillo.

Even putting aside that Castillo owns more than double career war as Montas, he also has key rate stats to his advantage. Take ERA+, for example, which has Castillo’s career mark at 124 (i.e. 24% better than average) and Montas’ career mark at 109. Castillo also boasts the top strikeout rate and, even despite the tiny dimensions of Great American Ball Park, also has advantages in AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS.

Above last two seasons, however, Montas (119) has somewhat caught up with Castillo (124) in the ERA+. Although Castillo has a small advantage in xwOBAMontas nevertheless also usurped him in withdrawal rate and AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS.

A comparison of the two pitchers’ tricks further balances the aforementioned scales. They have largely similar directories, with both throw seam fours and sinkers in the mid-to-high 90s, sliders in the mid-to-high 80s, and mostly hitters with a characteristic off-speed pitch.

For Castillo, it’s change:

Robert Friedman @PitchingNinja

Luis Castillo, Dirty 89mph Changeup… and bows to the magnitude of his change. 👌

For Montas, it’s the two-finger fastball:

Robert Friedman @PitchingNinja

Frankie Montas, Wicked Splitters. 🤢

5th and 6th Ks.

Castillo’s reputation for change precedes him, and rightly so. Since 2017, he has accumulated the most strikeouts off-road off-speed and is only behind Kevin Gausman’s splitter in cumulative run value.

As with their overall results, however, Montas fare better here if the focus is on the past two seasons. His splitter outperforms Castillo’s change in both strikeouts and execution value.

This obviously shows how nasty the Montas splitter is, but also how badly Castillo’s switch worked. Especially this year, when the odor rate and expected slugging percentage against, these are the two worst careers for the veteran.

And yet, the results likely exaggerate the decline of Castillo’s change. The land is doing very well speed and active spinsuggesting that the real problem is that he is throw it too high. If so, it is correctable.

So, all things considered, another boost.

Potential game changers

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Considering he’s spent his entire career pitching his home games in an extremely small stadium, it’s a feather in Castillo’s cap that he didn’t need to hit the road to succeed. He claims a 3.28 ERA at home and a 4.21 ERA on the road.

As to how he was able to do this, that helps. strikeouts and ground balls are his preferred methods of dating. Strikeouts play well anywhere, as do ground balls if a pitcher has good inside defense behind him.

For the latter, Castillo doesn’t have many good defenders behind him on the Cincinnati infield these days. Between 2017 and 2020, his ground ball average was 16 points less provided that. Since the beginning of 2021, it is 34 points more provided that.

Are you paying attention, Yankees? Because it concerns you above all. And to a lesser extent, so do you, Blue Jays, Astros and Dodgers.

Although Montas is a decent ground ball pitcher and a quality batting pitcher in his own right, his home/road splits betray how much he nonetheless benefits from RingCentral Coliseum’s abundance. right and wrong territory. Since 2017, his road ERA (4.22) is almost one point higher than his home ERA (3.31).

The same trend goes for the expected performance of his fly balls and line drives. In Oakland, their actual slugging percentage is 40 points less provided that. Elsewhere is two points higher.

To that end, the Giants and Mets could be confident that Montas would be able to survive Oracle Park and Citi fieldrespectively.

matchmaker time

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As for what each of Castillo and Montas’ seven alleged suitors get from their starting rotations in 2022, wins over replacement puts the order of needs as follows: White Sox, Blue Jays, Astros, Mets, Giants, Yankees and Dodgers.

Yet there is also health problems abundantly among these clubs, and particularly among the Dodgers, Mets and Blue Jays.

Los Angeles won’t have Walker Buehler (forearm), Andrew Heaney (shoulder) or Dustin May (Tommy John surgery) for the foreseeable future. The same goes for Tylor Megill (shoulder) in New York, who is also yet to welcome Max Scherzer (oblique) and Jacob deGrom (shoulder). Meanwhile in Toronto, Hyun-Jin Ryu (Tommy John) is done for the year and Nate Pearson (mono and lat) is down for a while.

While their rotations are healthier than most, the Astros and White Sox and especially the Yankees and Giants nonetheless have reason to be skeptical about sustainability. The Yankees lack proven inning eaters behind Gerrit Cole, and the Giants need a reliable arm behind Logan Webb and Carlos Rodon.

There is also the question of the cost of acquiring Castillo or Montas. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, it’s going to be stiff:

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

On the starting pitching trade market: The perception of some of the executives involved is that any team interested in starting pitching from OAK (Montas) or the Reds (Castillo, Mahle) needs some high-potential proposals. None of these teams have to move money.

To this end, it should be noted that among the seven contenders for the two aces, the Dodgers have the better agricultural system and the Astros have the worst.

Should the place of each team in the standings also count? Maybe, but certainly not as much as with a rental business objective. Because Castillo and Montas are checked through 2023, it’s not necessarily “World Series or bust” for anyone trading them.

As such, here’s how we would classify these teams as worthy of Castillo and Montas:

  • seven. Astros (skinny Castillo)
  • 6. White Sox (skinny Castillo)
  • 5. Yankees (skinny Castillo)
  • 4. Giants (Lean Montas)
  • 3. Mets (Lean Montas)
  • 2. Dodgers (Skinny Montas)
  • 1. Blue Jays (skinny Castillo)

While all of these teams can use a starter like Castillo or Montas, the Blue Jays really have need one of them. Without Ryu, they are the only team on this list that have confirmed they have lost a key starter for the rest of the season. And that’s without even going into the 5.53 they came out of Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi.

The Blue Jays also potentially offer the most relevant precedent for what a trade for Castillo or Montas might look like. Berrios also had a year and a half in control of the club when they acquired it of the Minnesota Twins last July, and it cost them their No. 1 and No. 8 prospects at the time: infielder Austin Martin and right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson.

Given that Castillos and Montas are both older now than Berrios (27), the Blue Jays could probably resist if Cincinnati or Oakland go after Gabriel Moreno, who is the top prospect not named Adley Rutschman. .

But if they offered infielders Orelvis Martinez and Otto Lopez, the package would be similar to the one Minnesota got last summer in one respect: It would feature both a Tier 1 prospect and a Tier 2 prospect.

Good enough for one of the top two starters in the summer market? Since there’s no more overthinking to do, it’s assumed that there’s only one way to find out.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and baseball scholar.

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