Are the Cincinnati Reds sure they want to do this? The Los Angeles Dodgers fleeced them a few years ago, sending Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to Cincy for prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray as well as veteran pitcher Homer Bailey (who was released shortly thereafter).
Before the 2020 season, Downs was used in a package to acquire Mookie Betts. At the 2021 trade deadline, Gray was sent to Washington in the Max Scherzer-Trea Turner deal. Unbelievable how they do this, right?
But here we are before 2022 and the stakes are a bit different. This time, it’s the Dodgers who are seemingly desperate, looking to replenish their starting rotation due to the uncertainty surrounding Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer.
Recent reports suggested Scherzer isn’t fully sold on LA and would be willing to sign elsewhere if the money was right. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman talked about Kershaw’s situation and it sounds like the lefty may need some time to think things through. As for Bauer, we don’t care, really. Hopefully he’s gone for good.
Nonetheless, what went from a Super Rotation to a tired Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Julio Urías now has to recreate itself all over again. So LA is reportedly eyeing two Reds pitchers that the NL Central club is ready to part with.
Dodgers rumors: Reds ready to trade Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray to LA?
Here’s the latest from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who was present at this year’s GM Meetings:
"“The Dodgers did not offer Kershaw a qualifying offer after missing the playoffs with a strained flexor tendon, and engaged in trade talks with the Reds about [Luis] Castillo and [Sonny] Gray. But if Kershaw wants to return, no problem, a spot will be left for him.“Scherzer, who was expected to re-sign with Dodgers, appears now he may be looking elsewhere. He’s not closing the door on a possible return, but his two-month stay hardly left him enamored enough to stay if someone else was offering more money.”"
It’s hard to believe both Scherzer and Kershaw wouldn’t be back, but either way, the Dodgers need to find two more capable arms to accompany Buehler and Urías. Dustin May won’t be back until the middle of the summer (most likely) and there’s no way they’re going to rely on David Price or Tony Gonsolin for 15-20 starts after what we saw in 2021.
Supplementing the rotation with Castillo and/or Gray would be a crucial first step and it could keep them in a good place through 2023. Castillo is under club control for two more years and is projected to make just under $8 million in 2022. Gray will earn just over $10 million next year and has a $12 million team option for 2023.
What would a package for these two look like? We already put one together for Castillo, so if you throw in Gray, who just turned 32 and is coming off a mediocre season, maybe you throw in another top-10 prospect? Gavin Lux, Andre Jackson and Clayton Beeter for those two right-handers?
Possibly! Doesn’t sound too crazy. But the Dodgers are likely mulling over what they spoke to Cincinnati about, as well as what the future holds for Kershaw and/or Scherzer. Honestly, a worst-case scenario rotation of Buehler, Urías, Castillo, Gray and Another Acqusition/Spot Starters/May really doesn’t sound bad at all.
It’ll just be hard coping with the potential loss of the two future Hall of Famers.