3 trade calls Dodgers should make the day MLB Lockout ends

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Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Dodgers have some work to do whenever MLB and the MLBPA come together on a new CBA, a momentous occasion that could occur either Monday or Tuesday or absolutely never.

Things must be resolved by Monday, Feb. 28 if the league doesn’t want to lose a single day of the regular season, games which the MLB side is insisting will not be made up if the bargaining lasts too long.

Great. So now we have a deadline that could determine whether or not we all fall back in love with the sport we devote 162 games’ worth of attention to per year (minimum).

In other words, love after lockout.

The good part? Experts and outsiders agree that things are going to get insane the very second the lockout is lifted. Scott Boras will hold hands with Rob Manfred. Tony Clark and Dick Monfort will do a jig, swinging their partners ’round and ’round. Max Scherzer will … well, he’ll probably growl angrily, but it’ll have nothing to do with the scenery.

The 24 hours after the official end of the MLB Lockout — again, either next week or never — will trigger a free agency period unlike any we’ve ever seen, so wild that Kawhi Leonard might sign a few minutes after the deadline and hope no one notices.

But while Andrew Friedman’s dialing up Freddie Freeman and trying to dole out cash to fill LA’s roster gaps, he’ll also have to try to speed to the front of the line and pull off some slick trades before anyone else gets wise.

Even after trading Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, the Dodgers still reportedly have the No. 1 farm system in all of baseball, according to Keith Law.

They’ll need to swap some of their depth for major-league stars, and these three partners can help.

3 trade partners the Dodgers should call after the MLB Lockout ends

3. Cincinnati Reds

Now is the time to move in on acquiring Luis Castillo — before everyone else remembers he was at the top of their trade board, too.

Castillo started 2021 off as everyone’s favorite arm hidden on a wilting team; after all, without Trevor Bauer, would the Reds really be able to replicate their magic from 2020 (lol)?

Turns out we were right. Cincinnati took a step back, finishing 83-79 — which was actually not that different from their 2020 record of 31-29, now that you mention it. 60-game seasons and expanded playoffs, everybody! Castillo, unfortunately, bore the brunt of it, beginning the year with a 4.65 first-half ERA before eventually rebounding with a 3.18 mark in the second half.

After mastering the form in 2019 and 2020, he certainly hit bumps in the road more frequently in 2021, even as things started to even out as the season progressed. Cincinnati plays in a hitter-friendly ballpark, yet Castillo still posted remarkable ERA splits, with a 3.18 mark at home and 4.87 in unfriendly road terrain.

Has any of this lowered his price? Somewhat, but not as much as we thought it would when summer 2021 was just beginning.

Seeing as the Reds will be expecting relative top dollar for Castillo, the Dodgers are one of the few pitching-starved teams that can afford to pay the price from the depth of their farm system. With Julio Urías and Walker Buehler coming off career highs in innings pitched and multiple important pieces either gone (Scherzer, potentially Clayton Kershaw) or questionable (David Price, Tony Gonsolin), the Dodgers could absolutely use as much upper-echelon pitching as they can obtain.

Start the bidding at Ryan Pepiot and Michael Busch, and do it quickly.

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