Since the end of the 2020 season, I've been preaching a patient approach when it comes to the Red Sox' search for starting pitching.
Trevor Bauer? He may be the best available starter on the free-agent market, but he'd command a nine-figure salary and the team's second-round pick next summer, and international free agent pool money. And he'll be 31 by Opening Day. The Red Sox would probably need to commit five or more years for a pitcher who would be well into his mid-30s near the end of his deal. So, no thanks.
There are some other intriguing options on the market, but they, too, come with caveats. Masahiro Tanaka? Yes, he's been sturdy, but do you want to take a chance on that ulnar collateral ligament finally giving way? Corey Kluber? Sure, he's got a great history (two Cy Young Awards, two other top-three finishes), but there's the small matter of his workload for the last two seasons -- a grand total of 36.2 innings pitched. For a team desperate for innings, Kluber remains a huge question mark.
Over the weekend, however, a name appeared that finally got my attention: Luis Castillo.
Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reported that, in addition to listening on Sonny Gray, the Cincinnati Reds are open to dealing Castillo. And that's a name that should interest the Red Sox in a big way.
Castillo just turned 28 and has three years of control remaining. He's arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, with MLB Trade Rumors projecting him anywhere from $3 million to $5.8 million. Although it's far likelier that the number is closer to the lower figure, even the higher one wouldn't bust Boston's budget.
They'd be getting three prime years out of Castillo. In today's game, three years is a considerable amount of control. It's what the Red Sox obtained when they made the deal for Chris Sale four Decembers ago. Not that I'm comparing Castillo to Sale -- yet.