The New York Mets were reported to have interest in Cincinnati Reds All-Star starting pitcher Luis Castillo as a potential trade deadline target - but they're far from the only team that is intrigued by this righty.
One club that loves Castillo is the Los Angeles Dodgers, who could be challenging the Mets for the National League pennant later in the year. While L.A. is believed to be prioritizing impact relief pitching ahead of August 2, they've been high on Castillo for a long time. Should they wind up pulling the trigger on acquiring a big name starter, Castillo would be their top choice and most realistic target, per a source with knowledge of the situation.
The Dodgers, like the Mets and many other contending clubs around the league, have shown interest in Castillo as of this date. The Reds, who're rebuilding, are destined to get to choose which prospect/s they like the most in exchange for Castillo, should his market materialize as anticipated.
Castillo has a 3.32 ERA and 60 strikeouts across 57 innings (10 starts) this season. He is expected to be the best starter available on the trade market, along with Oakland Athletics' righty Frankie Montas. Castillo, 29, comes along with another year of control, which makes him even more valuable (as does Montas).
Coincidentally, the Mets will get Max Scherzer (oblique strain) back from the IL this Tuesday in Cincinnati. However, the team will not face Castillo, who is set to pitch Sunday against the Atlanta Braves.
Back to Scherzer, with the three-time Cy Young winner on the brink of making his return, and Jacob deGrom (stress reaction on right scapula) on the verge of beginning a rehab assignment, the Mets will know in the coming weeks whether they need to acquire top starter help ahead of the deadline. This is going to be based off whether these two arms make it back before the first few days of August.
At the moment, all signs point to the Mets upgrading their roster with a power-hitting DH/outfield type and a high-leverage reliever. They could stand to add a depth starter to cover themselves in case of future injury in the rotation, but the hope is they won't need to dish out prospects to bolster a unit that entered the season as a major strength.
Speaking of prospects, the Mets have indicated they are unwilling to give up their best minor leaguers at the deadline. The Dodgers on the other hand, seemingly have more to offer in this department, and could be willing to go this route for Castillo or another starter, given the uncertainty of Walker Buehler, who could miss the rest of the season after having a bone spur removed from his elbow.
As long as the Mets have a healthy Scherzer and deGrom, they hardly need to worry about the Dodgers possibly landing Castillo. If the former doesn't occur, L.A. appears to have a leg up on the Mets in the Castillo race, should they choose to land a big starter at the deadline.