Luis Castillo trade might have raised the price for Frankie Montas, other starters

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By , Audacy

Luis Castillo being the first domino to fall in the starting pitching market might have created a big problem for teams looking to add starters.

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The Cincinnati Reds sent the star hurler to the Mariners for a collection of prospects that included three of Seattle’s top-five prospects. Castillo was one of the top arms on the market, and won’t hit free agency until after the 2023 campaign.

It always was expected that Castillo would nets a decent haul, but the Reds got a really impressive return for him. For other teams with star pitchers or quality, team-controlled options, that could be good news as Tuesday's trade deadline approaches.

Frankie Montas remains with the Oakland Athletics, while Miami Marlins starter Pablo Lopez is expected to get some interest. The Boston Red Sox seem intent on trying to make the postseason, but they could listen on pending free agent Nathan Eovaldi, who has an impressive postseason resume. The list goes on.

“(The Castillo trade) set that bar, raised the bar for the starting pitching market, which was already thin and already kind of problematic for teams looking for quality starters,” MLB insider Ken Rosenthal said on “The Athletic Baseball Show”. “Frankie Montas, very similar pitcher. If I’m the Oakland Athletics, I want a similar package, and I’m probably going to get it given the competition.

“If I’m the Miami Marlins, I’m putting Pablo Lopez out there with two-plus years left … and I’m seeing what I get. If I’m the Giants, Carlos Rodon, yes he’s a rental, I put him out there. Nathan Eovaldi with the Red Sox, same thing. I want to exploit that market if I have starting pitching to trade.

“There are other rentals as well, (Noah) Syndergaard, (Jose) Quintana, right down the line. But there’s such demand for starters right now that we may see some other deals like this. … That return for Castillo is sitting out there, and again, if you’re the Oakland A’s and Billy Beane and David Forst, I don’t know that you’re taking less.”

Of that collection, Montas is most likely to fetch a return close to Castillo because of pedigree and time left under contract.

Regardless, there was a dearth of quality options relative to the number of teams interested in the first place. Thanks to Castillo, the cost of said quality options might have gotten a bit more expensive.

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