Castillo staying put amid Reds' flurry of trades

INF Solano inks 1-year deal; RHP Farmer signs MiLB contract

March 17th, 2022

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- During the offseason and this first week of Spring Training, the Reds have made a flurry of moves that have reduced payroll. But valuable starting pitchers Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle appear to be sticking around.

“I don’t see us moving any of those two players,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said on Wednesday.

Both Castillo and Mahle are second-year arbitration-eligible and won't be free agents until after the 2023 season.

Castillo, especially, has drawn interest in the past two offseasons because of his track record and stuff. With one of the best changeups in baseball, he has a 3.72 ERA in 123 career starts.

“I feel good that I’ll be with the team that gave me the opportunity to be in the Major Leagues,” Castillo said via translator Jorge Merlos. “I can’t thank them enough for my being here. I feel great and I feel good that I will be around these guys and help us win games.”

The Reds traded catcher Tucker Barnhart in November and let Wade Miley get away on waivers to the Cubs. Both were cost-cutting moves, as were this week’s trades of starting pitcher Sonny Gray, outfielder Jesse Winker and third baseman Eugenio Suárez. Reliever Amir Garrett was dealt to the Royals on Wednesday for starter Mike Minor, but that transaction added salary to the payroll.

“It does feel a little bit weird, especially when you become friends and had a good partnership with these guys that you’ve kind of grown up with,” Castillo said. “It’s weird to see them go.”

Castillo was 8-16 with a 3.98 ERA and 192 strikeouts in 33 starts and 187 2/3 innings last season. In his first 11 starts, he was 1-8 with a 7.22 ERA before orchestrating a remarkable turnaround. He posted a 2.73 ERA over his final 22 starts.

During the offseason and lockout, Castillo worked out at home in the Dominican Republic, and he felt like he will be ready for the regular season.

“I’m definitely going to try to do the best that I can to put myself forward and come out strong at the beginning of the season,” Castillo said. “God already has a plan for us. We’re going to try to put our best foot forward to start out well.”

Reds sign two players
More additions came to the Reds on Wednesday when veteran infielder was signed to a one-year contract worth $4.5 million. Reliever was signed to a Minor League contract and invited to big league camp as a non-roster player.

Solano, 34, is a career .277/.325/.372 hitter in eight seasons with the Marlins, Yankees and Giants. He batted .280 with a .748 OPS in 101 games last season for San Francisco.

“Had an .839 OPS against left-handed pitching over the last three years,” Krall said. “He can play second, short and third. He could be a guy that can play all over and do a lot of things. He gives you flexibility to move guys around. You could put him in the DH role. He’s a quality hitter, especially against left-handed pitching, but he’s also been pretty good against righties as well. He helps balance out our lineup.”

Farmer, 31, has a 5.33 ERA in eight big league seasons, all with the Tigers. He had a 6.37 ERA in 36 appearances last season.

Spring starters named
The Reds named their first five starting pitchers for Cactus League games.

No. 2 prospect Nick Lodolo will start on Friday vs. the Guardians, followed by Mahle on Saturday vs. the A’s, Tony Santillan on Sunday vs. the Giants, Graham Ashcraft on Monday against the Cubs and Gutierrez on Tuesday against the Dodgers.