Bernie on the Scene: These Six Pitchers May Get Traded

Bernie on the Scene: These Six Pitchers May Get Traded

This article is part of our Bernie on the Scene series.

The MLB trade deadline is August 2. Between now and that date, we'll be reading plenty about players who may be, should be and could be moved in trades. I believe each worthy of a fantasy roster spot, depending of course on the new team.

Luis Castillo, starter, Cincinnati Reds, age 29

Castillo was an international free agent signed by the San Francisco Giants in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic. He was traded by the Giants to the Marlins in 2014. Then he was traded by the Marlins to the Padres in 2016. He was then sent back to the Marlins two days after the first trade. The Marlins sent Castillo to the Reds in 2017.

Castillo is currently working on a one-year contract worth $7.35M. He is eligible for arbitration in the 2023 season, and he'll be a free-agent in 2024. So, the acquiring team will have two full years of control over Castillo. I have never been a big fan, but Castillo can be plugged in to a number of contending rotations and offer innings help and a chance to keep his team in games.

Castillo has a four-pitch mix that includes four-seam and sinking fastballs that he throws at 97 MPH and a slider and changeup. He is one of few pitchers that mixes each of his four pitches equally, keeping the hitter off-balance and changing their eye level. He is a master at keeping the hitter guessing.

Castillo will likely welcome the opportunity to leave

The MLB trade deadline is August 2. Between now and that date, we'll be reading plenty about players who may be, should be and could be moved in trades. I believe each worthy of a fantasy roster spot, depending of course on the new team.

Luis Castillo, starter, Cincinnati Reds, age 29

Castillo was an international free agent signed by the San Francisco Giants in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic. He was traded by the Giants to the Marlins in 2014. Then he was traded by the Marlins to the Padres in 2016. He was then sent back to the Marlins two days after the first trade. The Marlins sent Castillo to the Reds in 2017.

Castillo is currently working on a one-year contract worth $7.35M. He is eligible for arbitration in the 2023 season, and he'll be a free-agent in 2024. So, the acquiring team will have two full years of control over Castillo. I have never been a big fan, but Castillo can be plugged in to a number of contending rotations and offer innings help and a chance to keep his team in games.

Castillo has a four-pitch mix that includes four-seam and sinking fastballs that he throws at 97 MPH and a slider and changeup. He is one of few pitchers that mixes each of his four pitches equally, keeping the hitter off-balance and changing their eye level. He is a master at keeping the hitter guessing.

Castillo will likely welcome the opportunity to leave hitter-friendly Cincinnati and possibly go to a more pitcher-friendly ball park. The Los Angeles Dodgers might make a good landing spot.

Madison Bumgarner, LHP/Starter, Arizona Diamondbacks, age 32

It just seems like Bumgarner is 45, but actually, he's "just" 32. He's been around forever and has tons of pitches on that left arm. He's having a better year than last season for the D-Backs, but there is no question his pitch count is mounting, and he is having trouble going deeply into games. But the Diamondbacks are a better club now, and he has helped, but he is very inconsistent.

If Bumgarner is traded, and he should be, Arizona will likely have to eat some of the money left on his contract. He is set to be paid $23M in 2023, and $14M in 2024, not counting whatever will be left on his current $23M contract. To me, signing Bumgarner long-term was a huge mistake for the team. Especially since they didn't learn anything from being saddled with a similar contract for Zack Greinke.

But Bumgarner has trouble navigating a lineup the third time through the order. In fact, in a recent start against the Padres in San Diego, he was woeful. I can see him heading to an American League club that wants to make a run at the postseason. Perhaps even the Blue Jays.

Kyle Freeland, LHP, starter,Colorado Rockies, age 29

A former first-round Rockies draft pick, Freeland has always pitched in his home state. It may be time now for him to go to a more pitcher-friendly pitching environment.

Freeland mixes pitches well, but his breaking balls are less effective in the high altitude of his home park at Coors Field.

He throws his fastball at 90 MPH, and also uses a cutter, a slider, a sinking fastball and a curve. It is his full and complete repertoire that may be attractive to any team looking to fortify their rotation.

Freeland may attract more clubs than contenders, as he is still young enough to help for the long-term. He is signed thru 2026, with a vesting option for 2027. At an annual average of $12M, the contract value may be very attractive to a host of teams looking for a quality lefty under team control. He is my No. 1 trade target for any team wishing to fortify their rotation — and tell me of a baseball team that isn't always in the hunt for that extra pitcher.

I do think the Rockies could get a host of prospects and solve plenty of problems by trading Freeland. The Yankees and Red Sox come to mind. But they are just two of many.

Scott Barlow, RHP, Kansas City Royals reliever, age 29

A former six-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011, Barlow signed with the Royals as a free-agent in 2017. Barlow is really, really attractive to a team in the hunt for a closer. Enter the Boston Red Sox, for example. He currently makes $2.4M a year, with two arbitration years and free-agency waiting in 2025. So, he would come with a ton of team control.

Barlow has stabilized the ninth inning for the Royals, as a dependable closer. But, with a new team, he might pitch in the eight or ninth depending upon where and when his new team wants his capable arm. That repertoire keeps the hitter guessing.

While Barlow might not be a high velocity closer, he can help out. But his new team and possible fantasy managers shouldn't count on high strikeouts. He pitches to contact, which could result in more home runs off his pitches, making him a bit more vulnerable in ball parks easier than his current Kansas City park.

David Bednar, RHIP, Pittsburgh Pirates reliever (Age 27)

The San Diego Padres drafted Bednar in the 35th round of the 2016 draft. They traded him to the Pirates in 2021. Shortstop Omar Cruz also went to Pittsburgh in that deal. But to be fair, Joe Musgrove, a great starter, went to San Diego. It was a three-team deal that also included the Mets.

Bednar would be an incredible "get" for any big league club. He is currently making $715,000 and has four seasons remaining before he reaches arbitration in 2026. Given the number of holes in the Pirates roster depth, I think Bednar is the ideal candidate to help them fetch a boatload of prospects that can help them build for the future.

While I have seen great improvement in Pittsburgh due to their outstanding prospect promotions, trading Bednar is the right move in my opinion. He sits at 96 MPH with his four-seam fastball. He also throws a curve at 77 and a split-finger at 90. The velocity variance works in his favor, and he's getting better and better at using his repertoire. But it is his fastball/curve comb that keeps him at the top of his game.

Bednar is my No. 1 reliever trade target. He has superb command and control of all his pitches, and he has shown he can navigate any lineup of hard hitters.

Tanner Rainey, RHP, Washington Nationals, reliever, age 29

Why wouldn't the Washington Nationals, who are aren't going anywhere trade Rainey? He can close or set-up on any club. Rainey is pitching on a very affordable $860,000 contract. He has arbitration years ahead and isn't eligible for free-agency until 2026. That makes him highly desirable for any club looking to shore up the bullpen.

Rainey throws hard. His fastball sits at 97. He has a good, strong, young arm. He also throws a slider at 88 MPH. He uses the slider only 30 percent of the time.

So, I look for a club that wants to add to their bullpen making an offer to the Nationals that would bring Washington more prospects.

HEADING HOME:

Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano has struggled a bit lately. He may have been rusty, as it seemed he wasn't getting much work. But teams have gotten to him. I'm holding on. I'm in no mood to trade him….unless I get a good trade offer. One of my target closers would fit nicely.

Oneil Cruz is huge. He's playing shortstop at 6-7, 210 pounds. Can he stick there? So far, so good. But I think the Pirates will move him. The man can hit, as he has shown in his recent graduation promotion. But there have been some hiccups as well, which is to be expected.

If the Pirates make some smart trades, they can get better quickly. They, like so many poor baseball teams, need to concentrate on improving their pitching.

The White Sox continue to play poor defense. And their bullpen hasn't helped. They are having to come back late in games to keep afloat. I thought the team would coast to the lead in the AL Central. They are getting resistance from Minnesota and Cleveland. And a boatload of injuries complicates their roster.

Was Nestor Cortes a fluke? Have we seen the best of him. Will he now be one good game, one bad game, one good game and…?

I think the Yankees need another starter. Frankie Montas? Luis Castillo? Kyle Freeland? Someone. They should get Domingo German back. Is that enough?

I would trade pitching as soon as possible if I were the Marlins. I would put lefty Trevor Rogers on the market and see what he would fetch. I'm thinking it'll be plenty. He's not having a great season, but he's only 24. He could really help stock the club for the future. And he throws with his left hand. Enough said.

Juan Yepez is not getting enough consistent playing time for the Cardinals. But if he keeps showing he can hit with power, that will change. So far, I'm holding on to him. He's a right-handed hitter with power. Keeper.

I don't like hearing and reading the rumors that the Angels don't want to pay both Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. It isn't as if Arte Moreno can't afford to pay them both. But will he want to pay them both? What will it take to sign Ohtani? About as much as it will take for the Yankees to sign Aaron Judge.

Arizona Diamondbacks lefty reliever Joe Mantiply is a total unknown in most baseball circles. But trust me, I watch him live a great deal. The guy can flat out pitch. I would guess he may be the only D-Backs representative to the NL All Star team. He still doesn't work enough his leverage innings to be totally viable in fantasy. But that will change.

In their final game of a series against the Minnesota Twins last week, the Cleveland Guardians were going for a sweep of the series. They were losing 1-0 in the top of the seveth. With the bases loaded and NO outs, manager Terry Francona had left-handed hitters Steven Kwan, Richie Palacios and Josh Naylor on the bench. A right-hander was on the mound. Of course, the Twins could have brought in a lefty, I get that. But Francona chose not to hit for Ernie Clement, Luke Maile and Myles Straw, three right-handers. The team didn't score. I think Francona lost that game for Cleveland.

If you wish to be in future Bernie on the Scene fantasy baseball OR fantasy football leagues, please keep this email handy:

bernie.HOA@gmail.com

That's where you should email me and tell me of your interest. Let me know if it is Baseball or Football, or both that interest you.

I will always keep your name on the list, and I will notify you if we have space available in our leagues. If you don't hear from me, it means we don't have that opening.

Thanks for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. Thanks for reading my work at Forbes.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bernie Pleskoff
Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
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