By Joe Pantorno
Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo isn’t going to the New York Yankees and any reports suggesting otherwise, for now, simply are not true.
Sunday saw a number of false reports saying that the Yankees were on the verge of acquiring the 28-year-old right-hander, only for the proven ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan to squash out any hope, imploring fans to “stop believing people who are consistently wrong.”
Reds general manager Nick Krall also added that such rumors were “completely false.”
With starting-pitching depth behind Gerrit Cole a must-have for the Yankees, Castillo would have been a huge get just a day after they signed two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to a one-year deal.
While Kluber is trying to get back to full health after two injury-riddled seasons, Castillo is in his prime. He’s coming off an All-Star appearance in 2019 before a shortened campaign last year in which he posted a 3.21 ERA and a career-best strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.71.
The Reds are already on the verge of losing Trevor Bauer — who won the 2020 NL Cy Young Award with them — to free agency, so naturally, the price to part with Castillo was going to be high.
And from a Yankees standpoint, it was probably too high.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported on Monday morning that Cincinnati was asking for Yankees’ star infielder Gleyber Torres and more in a package deal for Castillo.
Torres is four years younger than Castillo and is already developing into one of the best middle infielders in the game. The two-time All-Star slashed .271/.340/.493 (.834 OPS) in his three professional seasons with a 162-game average of 34 home runs; impressive numbers considering he struggled mightily in 42 games last season.
This is a talent who can secure the shortstop position in the Bronx for the next 10-to-15 years, and having to give up more on top of that for a No. 2 or even 3 starter — depending on how good Luis Severino is upon his return — is quite a steep price to pay.
For now, Castillo looks poised to stay in Cincinnati while the Yankees will have to look elsewhere if they want to add more to their rotation.