Though the Los Angeles Dodgers’ postseason issues didn’t exactly boil down to starting pitching, it surely would’ve helped if they had an extra arm locked down for the 2023 season now that Clayton Kershaw, Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson are about to become free agents. Don’t forget, Walker Buehler is out until 2024, too.
As for 2022, an extra starter in the rotation would’ve helped them avoid a bullpen game in the NLDS. There was also a need for a top-end starter following Buehler’s injury, which occurred in June. At the time, he wasn’t expected to be ruled out for the year, but it was obvious the right-hander wouldn’t be returning atop his game after surgery.
That gave Andrew Friedman and the front office ample time to strategize before the trade deadline. Per buzz from a few months ago, LA was targeting Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo, but he eventually ended up with the Seattle Mariners.
Castillo was controllable through 2023, so the price was understandably going to be high. At the time of the trade, the right-hander was sporting a 2.86 ERA, 3.20 FIP and 1.07 WHIP in 14 starts.
Seattle ended up parting with a king’s ransom, sending shortstops Noelvi Marte (No. 1 prospect) and Edwin Arroyo (No. 3), as well as right-handers Levi Stoudt (No. 5) and Andrew Moore to Cincinnati.
Should the Dodgers regret not trading for ace Luis Castillo at the deadline?
- C Diego Cartaya
- 3B Miguel Vargas
- OF Andy Pages
- RHP Peter Heubeck
Also, the M’s might’ve not even wanted that assortment of players since they ended up acquiring two shortstops and two pitchers. But what if the Dodgers amended the package to give up, say:
- RHP Bobby Miller
- 2B/OF Michael Busch
- RHP Gavin Stone
- 2B/SS Rayne Doncon
Would fans have been comfortable parting with that group for Castillo? Maybe not for 1.5 years of the right-hander, but throw in the fact Castillo agreed to a five-year, $108 million extension, and that certainly would’ve made it easier to swallow the pill of surrendering that much talent.
Maybe the Reds wouldn’t have accepted that package or something similar. We’ll never know. But for the sake of argument, let’s just say the Dodgers had the opportunity to beat that offer. If they opted not to, think they’re regretting it now?
Castillo for the next six seasons would’ve insured them against Kershaw leaving, Buehler missing all of 2023, and Urías’ free agency after 2023. It would’ve given them a dominant top two in 2023, too.
Friedman will surely make up for it this offseason, but it perhaps would’ve been nicer to have one less thing on the docket for what’s expected to be a very busy next few months.
Jury’s still out here. We’ll have a more definitive answer during the 2023 season when we see how the Dodgers’ prospects develop and how their starters are performing in the rotation.