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Report: Rangers Exploring Trade With Reds for Starting Pitching

The Texas Rangers, flush off their free-agency success, aren't resting on finding more pitching help, this time via trade

The Texas Rangers may be looking to the Cincinnati Reds as a trade partner to help add an impact arm to their starting rotation for 2022.

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that inquiry on Wednesday. Unlike the deals the Rangers have made the past few days, this looks like a trade. Per Morosi:

Sources: #Rangers still working to upgrade their starting rotation after the big signings of Semien and Seager. They've inquired to the #Reds about trading for one of their starting pitchers (Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, or Tyler Mahle).

If the Rangers are able to follow through on a trade, that new pitcher would join Jon Gray, who agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract on Sunday.

Mahle, 26 years old, had the best season of the three in 2021. He went 13-6 with a 3.75 ERA, striking out 210 batters and walking 64. He shared the National League lead in starts with 33. It was by far his best season as a big-league pitcher, as he had never won more than seven games in a season (2018) before last season.

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Gray, 31, is coming off a 7-9 season for the Reds, where he finished with a 4.19 ERA, 155 strikeouts and 50 walks. Gray is a nine-year veteran who has won 10 or more games five different times, with the last coming in 2019 with the Reds (11-8). That year he finished seventh in NL Cy Young voting.

Castillo, 28, shared the NL lead in starts last season with 33, but went 8-16 with a 3.98 ERA, 192 strikeouts and an NL-leading 75 walks. In his five-year career, Castillo has finished above .500 just one time, coming in 2019 when he went 15-8 and made the All-Star Game.

The Rangers have been one of the most active teams in free agency so far this offseason. The Rangers agreed to terms with infielder Corey Seager on a team-record 10-year, $325 million deal. The Rangers also signed infielder Marcus Semien to a seven-year, $175 million deal, and inked outfielder Kole Calhoun to a one-year deal with a team option in 2023.

In all, the Rangers have spent more than half a billion dollars in free agency.

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