Cardinals: How Luis Castillo trade hurts St. Louis at the trade deadline

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The St. Louis Cardinals weren’t involved in the Luis Castillo trade but they will be affected by it in their pursuit of other big deals.

Luis Castillo was probably never going to end up pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite the Cardinals’ need for an arm like his and them having the firepower to get a deal done, the Cincinnati Reds probably wouldn’t have preferred to deal him within the division.

Instead, Castillo ended up with the Seattle Mariners for a pretty nice haul. What does it mean for the Cardinals?

Unfortunately, it could mean that to get the best starting pitchers available, St. Louis will have to empty the prospect tank.

Cardinals will have to part with some very good players to majorly upgrade their roster

Whether it’s Frankie Montas or a blockbuster for Juan Soto, the Cardinals face a challenge before the trade deadline is over. They have five of the top 100 prospects in baseball. It took baseball’s No. 18 and 93 prospects and more for the Mariners to add Castillo.

The price on the high-level available players is notably high with the Castillo trade setting a market. Many of this year’s hottest trade candidates aren’t even pending free agents — Castillo included. For this reason, sellers have a lot of leverage.

It already didn’t help St. Louis to have three sellers in their own division probably less interested in doing business with them. The best example might be the Cardinals’ need for a catcher and Willson Contreras on the Chicago Cubs just waiting to find out who he’ll suit up for next. While interdivisional trades aren’t impossible or actually all that rare, they can come at a higher premium.

The Cardinals have a solid mix of prospects and young players on the major league roster they could move for veteran parts. The next obstacle for them is to find a deal with an asking price that doesn’t make them feel like losers if they end up falling short of a championship.

Starting pitching is a priority for the Cardinals right now. The asking prices may only get higher the longer they wait. There isn’t a single phenomenal starter out there that must be moved. For the best addition, prepare to say farewell to some promising young players and maybe a few too many of them.