Luis Castillo had long been rumored to be on the trade block. The Yankees seemed like a logical fit for the talented right-hander, but on Friday night he was shipped by the Cincinnati Reds off to Seattle for a haul of prospects.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2022
With Castillo joining a rotation that already includes last year’s Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, and youngsters Logan Gilbert and George Kirby, the Mariners are set up with a talented staff for a postseason run.
So how did the Yankees miss out?
Well, for starters, it would seem likely that Cincinnati was asking for top prospect Anthony Volpe. Noelvi Marte, the headliner going from Seattle to Cincinnati is the Mariners’ top prospect, a 20-year-old shortstop ranked as the 18th best prospect in all of baseball. This year, Marte is hitting .275/.363/.462 with 15 home runs, 55 RBI, 62 Runs, and 13 stolen bases in 85 games at High-A.
Perhaps the Yankees balked at including Volpe. Maybe negotiations never even got that far.
What we do know is that Noelvi Marte is the Mariners’ number one prospect, Edwin Arroyo is their 3rd-ranked prospect, and Levi Stoudt is their 5th-ranked prospect. The Mariners were comfortable sacrificing a huge chunk of the top of their farm system to acquire Castillo for the next year and a half. That will only set the market for the other starting pitchers left to be traded.
So with Castillo off the board, who else might the Yankees turn their attention to?
The next logical option is Oakland starter Frankie Montas, who has a 3.18 ERA, 25.8% strikeout rate, 1.13 WHIP, and 3.42 SIERA in 104.2 innings. Like Castillo, Montas is also signed through next year, so the asking price could be similarly high. However, he also dealt with shoulder inflammation just last month, so perhaps the Yankees could be cautious with the 29-year-old.
If the Yankees don’t want to meet the asking price, they could try to pry young left-hander Tarik Skubal away from Detroit or go after another Reds starter, Tyler Mahle. Mahle is also signed through next season and has a 4.48 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 25.6% strikeout rate, and 3.92 SIERA this year. However, he has been far better on the road, with a 3.83 ERA away from hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark and a 4.94 ERA at home.
The Yankees could also decide to turn their attention to back-end starting rotation help and try to land Jose Quintana from the Pirates or Noah Syndergaard from the Angels, both of whom are believed to be on the market. Quintana has had a bit of a resurgence at age 33, pitching to a 3.70 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 20.7% strikeout rate, and 4.01 SIERA in Pittsburgh while former Met Noah Syndergaard has lost his strikeout stuff but has a respectable 3.83 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 4.24 SIERA pitching for the Angels.
With Luis Severino hurt and the rest of the rotation starting to lose some consistency, the Yankees likely need to add another starter for the stretch run. After the Mariners just took the best option off the table, the pressure is beginning to mount a little bit more in the Bronx to make sure they don’t let this golden opportunity for a World Series title slip through their fingers.