The 2021 MLB offseason is off to a much hotter start than most, as the Dec. 1 CBA expiration looms. The Los Angeles Angels are reportedly waiting until after a new CBA has been put in place before spending big money, partly explaining why they passed on a number of free agent starting pitchers to sign on Sunday and Monday.
Their biggest free agent target is Robbie Ray, who is coming off an AL Cy Young Award. His free agent value is massive, and he looks to command a huge, long-term deal. The Angels may be willing to pay that, but in the meantime, they could explore cheaper options.
One of those options is to scour the trade market for top pitchers on cheaper contracts. And the name that keeps coming up and checks all the boxes is Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Castillo. The Angels and Reds have already had exploratory conversations about a deal, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 28, 2021
Castillo will be 29 on Opening Day 2022, and is entering his sixth MLB season. In his first five years, he compiled a career ERA of 3.72, a WHIP of 1.220, a 9.8 K-per-nine, and a 123 ERA+. He has pitched 170 innings or more in three of his five seasons.
What makes him an even more attractive player is the fact that he’s under team control for two more years, and is going to be paid an estimated $7.5 million in 2022. Cheap, team-controlled, and talented is a highly sought after combination in today’s MLB.
So while landing him would be hugely beneficial for the Angels, the asking price is probably going to be extremely high. The reason they are reportedly far apart in their negotiations is that the Reds could be asking for Reid Detmers, Brandon Marsh, or any other top Angels prospect.
It’s unclear if the Angels would be willing to give any of these players up, but Perry Minasian has said that no one is untouchable in trade talks. All of this to say that the Angels are still remarkably active in trying to land another starting pitcher.
Angels signing Michael Lorenzen
The deal has not been made official yet, but it looks as though the Angels will sign starter/reliever Michael Lorenzen to a one-year, $7 million deal. For now, the plan is to have Lorenzen be the team’s sixth starter, but that could change depending on the moves the team makes the rest of the offseason.