Dodgers: Exploring Luis Castillo as an Alternative to Trevor Bauer

The months between the end of the 2020 World Series and the start of 2021 Spring Training may forever be known as the winter of Trevor Bauer. For better or worse, the at-times pretentious All-Star pitcher has turned his free agency into a full-fledged show reminiscent of LeBron James’ “The Decision” at the start of the last decade.

In all seriousness, Bauer is an amazing talent. His spectacular 2020 season wasn’t a fluke, and he should be more than serviceable for years to come. Having said that, however, he is nowhere near worth the $36-40 million annually that he is said to be looking for.

While the Dodgers could always use another talented arm on their roster, the price tag that Bauer is likely to go for in a market lacking top tier pitching makes it all but certain that he won’t be wearing Dodger blue when spring comes around. Despite his past hopes that he would one day be a Dodger.

Instead, the Dodgers could look to another Reds pitcher to bolster an already elite starting rotation.

An Out of the Box Trade Target

One name that the Dodgers should consider is Cincinnati flamethrower, Luis Castillo.

Luis Castillo 2020 Regular Season Stats

4-6 record, 3.21 ERA, 89 SO, 70.0 IP

Castillo is coming off of a rather pedestrian 2020 season by his standards, especially after the All-Star season he enjoyed in 2019. His 4-6 record seems less than average, but those numbers are quite deceiving considering the Reds’ offensive was mostly bad last year.

During the shortened 2020 season, Castillo was a strikeout machine. His 11.4 SO9 ratio was good for 6th best in baseball, and he was rated among the most elite pitchers in baseball in multiple other categories including pitch speed, exit velocity, and xERA.

Overall, Castillo is just a pure thrower. Moreover, his terrific fastball/changeup mix makes him as reliable as they come. The holdup with any acquisition for Castillo is his contract status, as he will not be a free agent until the 2024 season.

This means that if the Dodgers want to pick up the electric righty, they’ll have to pay a hefty price.

Proposed Trade: Dodgers receive Luis Castillo for Keibert Ruiz, Mitch White, Matt Beaty, and Ryan Pepiot

At first glance, this seems like a lot to give up for one player, but let’s take a deeper look at the details.

Catcher Keibert Ruiz is heading into the 2021 season as LA’s top prospect, a great defensive catcher with a nice overall offensive package as well. The problem is that he has stalled in Triple-A offensively and has plenty of competition for playing time at the catcher position. With Will Smith looking like the everyday catcher of the future, now may be the time to move on from Ruiz while his value is still high. It doesn’t hurt that the Reds could use some catching depth going forward, either.

Mitchell White and Ryan Pepiot are both good young arms in a loaded Dodgers farm system looking for opportunities to move up. White has had chances with the big league squad and made the most of them, but there still isn’t a path to steady playing time for the 26-year-old in LA. Pepiot was the Dodgers’ 3rd round selection in 2019 and projects as a solid 3-4 starter going forward. He hasn’t had much of a chance to prove himself, but the quality of arms in the Dodgers farm system means that it will likely be another few years before he would get an opportunity.

That leaves us with Matt Beaty, a great guy, but one that is easily replaced. Beaty has done everything that has been asked of him during his time in LA, but he too has had limited chances to show his full potential due to the depth in front of him. In a trade like this, he would be getting a chance to play more innings in a rebuilding team in the hopes of boosting his value going forward.

All of this is to simply say that the Dodgers have the ability to part with some depth for a proven commodity like Luis Castillo. Throw in the fact that he is slated to make just $4.4 million in 2021 before his arbitration years in 2022 and 2023 and you have yourself a bargain, even at this cost.

Final Thoughts

The Dodgers have been building a powerhouse team from the ground up, and their farm system has produced game-changers across the field. Because of this, however, those prospects still waiting in the minors have a tougher road towards consistent playing time because the need just isn’t there.

It may seem like a weird flex, but the Dodgers almost have more talent than they know what to do with. With former top prospects like Dustin May, Will Smith, and Walker Buehler now full-fledged big leaguers, the time has come for the Dodgers to use their remaining depth to round out the edges. A trade for Luis Castillo not only gives the team some frontline starter insurance, but it also gives them the best rotation for years to come.

NEXT: With Trevor Bauer’s Contract Demands, Where Could He End Up?

Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!


  1. Hey Daniel, don’t you think the Dodgers would be better served, if they were going to make a trade….to trade for a Need and not to add to their strength???? This article makes no sense at all….

  2. I agree totally with “Kingman”. Article should be entitled “Dodgers Can Easily Deplete Farm System”. Get a right-handed bat not named Arenado or Bryant and a top reliever.

  3. LOL…That’s what I was thinking. Why not trade Gray too? There’s no path for him to be a starter with Buehler, Kershaw, Urias, May, Price, and Gonsolin already entrenched.

    I think you could trade less prospects for that big right-handed bat (3B?) that you’re looking for. Like Kris Bryant…

    1. I think Kris Bryant might be the best value choice. He has stips that could make it a good deal for us. He has been trending down, but still plenty of upside for a rebound.

  4. I agree with Daniel and will need Ruiz in the near future Barnes will be a free agent after the 2022 season and will be 35 I dought he will be hereafter 2021. If you want to make up trades right-handed bat and 3b with pop and good defensive player.

  5. Although my philosophy is, you can always use more pitching, I tend to agree with the previous comments. In my opinion, resigning Turner and getting DJ LeMahieu would be a much better option. Play LeMahieu at third, Move Turner to first and Muncy to second. Or Just put LeMahieu at second and sit Lux. I’m not sure he’s going to pan out anyways. And of course get a serious closer and move on from Jansen. And if you can bring back Kike, all the better. But getting LeMahieu would certainly take care of Kike’s services.

  6. I would love to have Castillo in Dodgers rotation, but why would the Reds consider trading its ace pitcher who is projected to get a little over $4M in 2021? If they are indeed looking to reduce payroll, then they should be shopping Castellanos and/or Moustakas, both with $16M AAV (Joey Votto isn’t going to be traded). Third baseman Suarez is not likely to be traded, but with a $9.5M AAV he is more likely to be dealt than Castillo. In order to get Castillo the Dodgers would have to package Gavin Lux, Julio Urias, and Josiah Gray.

    1. You are spot on from both the Reds’ need and the value necessary to get him. Castillo is a top 10 asset in all of baseball. Who wouldn’t want him or make the trade proposed by the author in a second?

    2. Why would the Reds want Ruiz? They have their top catching prospect Tyler Stephenson joining the team this year and have Barnhart the gold Glover backing him up. Do some homework before posting this crap. Start with a Shortstop and add on from there.

    3. You are spot on in both the Reds’ need and what it would take to get him. Castillo is a top10 MLB asset.

  7. The idea of signing a number 2 starter is dominance. Why would I give up prospects for Luis Castillo? When I need RHB more? Also why am I going to pay that amount of money for someone who is not clearly dominant over what we already have on our staff, or is as good as Buhler. Elite players cost elite money period. Wait until we can get an elite LHP and we drop some of these contracts like Price and Pollock. Don’t go over pay for DJ or Arenado either. We don’t need someone who is better than Turner at 3b or elite. We need someone who can hit and is serviceable at that position that’s it. Turner is not a DJ or an Arenado and he has produced plenty of results since he has been here. Those are the shoes we need to fill if he’s gone. Not elite overpaying options.

  8. I agree with many of you, but I think an answer would be to add Suarez to the trade proposal. You know the Reds are going to want to subtract payroll, so do a Friedman specialty, add a team for a 3 team trade….that way Dodgers could add Castillo and Suarez, a 3rd team could take on Castellanos or Moose plus a prospect, and Cincy can rebuild and get prospects and ready to play position players, such as Beatty or Rios. The Dodgers add the RH 3B and top spot pitcher under team control, plus allows May and Gonsolin to lengthen out and Urias too. Dodgers always appear to have too many pitchers, but then injuries happen, and they seem to always have bullpen games, 60 game schedule that can work, but not for 162.

  9. The alternative to Bauer is not to get another starter at all. Before the Padres got Snell, I thought the Dodgers should have looked at him because he was available, relatively cheap, and very good.. Now he’s gone and acquired by our biggest division rival. Forget about adding another starter. Get a shutdown closer. That’s a real need. Keep looking for a right handed bat, preferably at 2B, like LeMaheiu. Keep the proven right handed bat we have had for years by re-signing Turner.

  10. LOLOLOL. Castillo, under control for 3 more years, for 4 borderline major league prospects? And then he writes it’s a lot to give up? Reds would be laughed out of MLB for that trade. Maybe the Reds would do it for Gonsolin and Lux. Ruiz didn’t stall out in AAA as stated, he stalled out in AA. After batting .250, they made him repeat AA. The second time around he batted .250 again. And he’s not great defensively, he has some strengths, but a weak arm, and he’s super slow. White can’t stay healthy, and when he does, has only been good in short stretches. Beaty can hit, but is bench material. Pepiot has some potential, but is certainly not an “A” chip. Poor Gonsolin. He pitches at a better ERA and WHIP than Gerrit Cole, is considered the D’s #6 starter, and all people can write about is the D’s getting another starter.

    1. Mostly valid points but lol you can’t compare Gonsolin to Gerrit Cole. Not even close. Gonsolin has about 86 innings worth to choose from, generally against weaker teams. Not at all close to Cole’s track record or elite talent. Plus, once the playoffs hit, Gonsolin pretty much fell apart. Gonsolin is not better than Gerrit Cole and he is their #6 starter right now.

      1. Of course you are right, and not implying Gonsolin is better than Cole, or even close, but that he pitched to a better ERA and WHIP, in more limited innings, is a fact. The point I was making is he is the #6, which shows how deep the Ds are in starting pitching, and paying a deep price in money or prospects for another starter is a big time overkill. And that doesn’t even mention Gray, who is probably ready as well. The holes right now are at closer and right hand hitting infielder. And as far as the trade proposal, a guy on another site who fancies himself a prospect and roster expert, wrote an article suggesting it would take Gonsolin, Lux AND Ruiz to get Castillo, these 4 guys aren’t going to get you a #2 young starter with 3 years control, sure this is the team that gave us Gray and Jeter Downs for a bunch of bad contracts, but you have to think they learned their lesson.

  11. Just jumping on the bandwagon here. That’s too much for a number three starter at best. If you’re gonna burn a bunch of prospects bring back a right handed hitting infielder. There’s a few available out there, so we are hearing.

  12. Reds fan here in peace. Daniel, that is not a realistic offer for Louis Castillo. The prosed players in your article wouldn’t even land the Dodgers Sonny Gray.

    According to Baseball Trade Values website, the Reds would leave about $81 million in net value.

    Very bad trade proposal for Castillo.

  13. 4 mil for an elite pitcher the numbers do not add up. Obviously there is something wrong with Castillo. I would not touch that deal at all. Arozarena might be a possibility for RHB.

    1. you don’t understand baseball economics, do you? Oh wait, you just mentioned Randy Arozarena as a possibility to be traded to the Dodgers. Yeah. You clearly don’t understand baseball in general.

      1. Hi my name is Deeznuts. Who doesn’t understand baseball smartass? Thank you. Come again!!!

  14. There’s no way that a starting pitcher with Castillo’s numbers is going to cost 4 mill ?. Especially with the contracts going out for Bauer and Snell. If you think your going to get Castillo on the cheap I highly doubt it!

  15. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like nearly enough for Castillo. Maybe a Gonsolin moves the needle, because if I’m the Dodgers, I’m loving the current proposal (as the Reds, not so much).

  16. This isn’t bad from a Dodgers standpoint. But, the Reds won’t be taking the Dodgers players that are stuck, no matter how good of prospects they are. The Reds already have a great rookie and a 2 time gold glover at catcher.
    Now, if the Dodgers want to do a sign and trade for Seager and buy down some of the money then the Reds would move on that.
    Castillo is an Ace who is still under team control for a few more years at a very salary.

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