That time Luis Castillo was on the Padres and what could have been

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Luis Castillo was included as part of the trade package to the Padres for Andrew Cashner but was returned after Colin Rea left his first start due to injury.

The Padres rotation could have looked vastly different had Luis Castillo remained on the roster. Back when Andrew Cashner was dealt to the Miami Marlins in July 2016, the Padres received a return of Jarred Cosart, Josh Naylor, Carter Capps, and Castillo.

At that point, Castillo was considered a promising, but unproven, prospect, who had only reached the Double-A level in the Marlins organization. The Padres included Colin Rea and Tayron Guerrero on their end. Rea made 19 appearances – including 18 starts – for the Friars in 2016.

He had a 4.98 ERA and while he showed promise, he struggled to maintain command of the strike zone as his WHIP skyrocketed to 1.460. By all accounts, he passed his physical but after tossing just 3.1 innings in his debut with the Marlins, he left with an elbow injury that eventually landed him on the injured list.

The Marlins felt they were dealt damaged goods, and Luis Castillo was returned to the Marlins. Likewise, Rea returned to San Diego.

Castillo would eventually be traded to the Reds after the 2016 season and posted a 2.58 ERA in 14 starts for Cincinnati’s Double-A outfit the following year. He was called up on June 23 and never looked back. In 15 starts, Castillo posted a 3.12 ERA while striking out 98 batters in 89.1 innings.

He was named the Reds’ Opening Day starter for the 2018 season and has established himself as one of the premier young pitchers in the game. Last year, he earned his first All-Star selection while finishing ninth in the National League with 226 strikeouts.

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The Padres and Marlins struck up a previous trade in 2016 that landed Chris Paddack, but it’s a tough pill to swallow knowing they could have had Paddack and Castillo at the front of the rotation. The acquisition of Castillo likely doesn’t impact their approach in the 2017 MLB Draft, so adding MacKenzie Gore to the mix would have been gravy.