With the days dwindling down until the beginning of Spring Training, teams are quickly trying to finalize their rosters. Free agents like Carlos Correa and Freddie Freeman remain unsigned, while teams like the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland Athletics continue fire sales on their roster.
Two players that have been named consistently in trade rumors are Reds’ starting pitchers Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo. Castillo was seen as one of the most valuable starters available on the trade market, while Mahle could be seen as a strong fallback option.
Prior to the lockout, the Los Angeles Angels showed interest in trading for Castillo, a move that would have significantly bolstered their currently middle-of-the-road starting rotation.
So when the lockout ended, and the Reds traded Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker, and Eugenio Suarez, it appeared as though it was only a matter of time before Castillo and Mahle met the same fate. If that had been the case, the Angels could have been one of the first teams at the Reds’ doorstep.
But in a surprising twist, the Reds reportedly have no interest in trading either of their top two starting pitchers, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
The Reds, rather than continue to reduce payroll, intend to keep right-handers Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle, and add free agents with some of the money they saved in various deals. The team’s payroll, per Fangraphs, currently stands at $90.1 million.
If the Angels truly had interest in Castillo — or even Mahle — this would certainly come as a disappointing development. With severely limited options remaining on the free agent market, a trade for Castillo could’ve drastically changed the outlook on the Angels season.
But perhaps the Reds asking price was simply too high. Many speculated that one of Brandon Marsh or Jo Adell would have to be included to get a deal done, but those rumors were never substantiated. Now, it appears the rumor mill surrounding these two starters may be nearing its end.
The Angels could now be forced to pivot to a different option. Angels superstar Mike Trout put some pressure on the organization recently with comments stating that Perry Minasian was “obviously not done” building out the roster. But Zack Greinke, at age 38, appears to be the top starting pitcher on the market.
Outside of a shocking trade or a signing of one of the top position players on the market — Freeman, Correa, Trevor Story, etc. — it’s unclear what significant upgrades the Angels are capable of making.
Angels showing interest in Tyler Anderson
On a smaller level, the Angels could bolster the depth of their starting rotation by signing free agent Tyler Anderson.
The former Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners starter had a relatively solid 2021 campaign, and he could provide the Angels with a reliable No. 4 or No. 5 quality of work.