Should the Braves consider making a trade for Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle?

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According to longtime MLB insider Peter Gammons, the Cincinnati Reds are open to the possibility of moving two of their best starting pitchers — Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle — after beginning the season 5-23.

Unsurprisingly, this has caused a lot of Braves fans to suggest targeting one of the two. Before the season, I even talked in depth about the possibility of adding Castillo, who I have long coveted. It made some sense then, particularly because the Braves were rumored to have interest in top of the rotation options such as Justin Verlander in free agency. However, for a plethora of reasons, I don’t see there being any chance the Braves target a starting arm leading up to the trade deadline unless something changes drastically.

First and foremost, Atlanta’s starting rotation is as full as can be, and I actually think it has the potential to be one of the best in baseball. Max Fried is elite, and Kyle Wright doesn’t look like he’s too far behind. Charlie Morton, even though he’s struggled early in the season, remains a fantastic third option, and how many fourth starters are better than Ian Anderson? Not many.

The fifth spot in the rotation is currently a revolving door, but I have a lot of faith in the potential of Spencer Strider. He’s next in line to get a full-time opportunity, and even if he doesn’t pan out, the Braves have a bevy of other young and talented arms waiting in line. This is the best Atlanta’s rotation has been in years, and never before has Alex Anthopoulos ponied up the prospect capital required to trade for a starting pitcher. So for that reason alone, I would be shocked if he decided to do so right now.

The Braves also just received some promising news regarding Mike Soroka‘s progress. I’m still hesitant to believe he will contribute significantly this season, but it’s yet another option the team potentially has in their back pocket later on in the year.

But beyond all of the starting pitching the Braves have, they also have arguably the best bullpen in the league, which can cover up a lot of warts. Come playoff time, the rotation will be asked to do a lot less. Most innings will likely be covered by Atlanta’s bullpen. There’s absolutely no reason the Braves should spend top dollar in prospect capital to add a fifth starter. The farm system is already depleted enough following the trade for Matt Olson this past offseason.

The only way it happens is if injuries begin to pile up. Luis Castillo has a ton of talent, and whoever gives up the prospects to acquire him will be adding a game-changing piece to their team, but the Braves should have no interest. If Alex Anthopoulos is looking to make a move, especially this early in the season, it needs to be for another outfielder while Eddie Rosario is sidelined for the next couple of months.



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