The Seattle Mariners have landed All-Star starting pitcher Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds, the teams announced Friday. The deal sends prospects Noelvi Marte, Edwin Arroyo, Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore to the Reds. We'll get to them in a bit, but the headline there is the Reds got three of the Mariners' top-five prospects.
Castillo, 29, is 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA (160 ERA+), 1.07 WHIP and 90 strikeouts against 28 walks in 85 innings this season. He made the All-Star team for the second time in his career and has shown the ability to pitch like an ace in extended stretches throughout his career. He's in the midst of such a run right now, actually, as he is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last five starts (all Reds wins). He's struck out 41 in 34 innings, too.
The Mariners have the longest playoff drought in major North American professional men's sports. They haven't been to the postseason since 2001. After missing by just two games last year, they sit in playoff position right now, heading into Friday night 54-46 and holding the second AL wild card spot. This move signals the willingness of general manager Jerry Dipoto to be even more aggressive in ending said drought.
With Castillo and 2021 Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, the Mariners now have the chance to run out ace-caliber starters in two playoff games -- and, remember, the wild-card round is now a three-game series. Thanks to the likes of Logan Gilbert and Marco Gonzales, they have good rotation depth, too.
Something to keep in mind on Castillo, too, is that this isn't necessarily only a move for the rest of the 2022 season. He's still under team control through next season, as he won't hit free agency until after the 2023 season. That is to say, even if things don't totally work out the rest of this year, by no means would this make the trade a bust in the short term just yet.
As for the return:
- Marte is a 20-year-old shortstop in High-A this season and was regarded as the top prospect the Mariners had, possibly a top-10 overall guy. He's hitting .270/.360/.460 with 19 doubles, 15 homers, 55 RBI, 61 runs and 12 steals in 84 games.
- Arroyo, 18, was the Mariners' second-rounder last season out of high school. He was considered the Mariners' third-best prospect. In 84 games in Class A this season, he's hit .316/.385/.514 with 19 doubles, seven triples, 13 homers, 67 RBI, 76 runs and 21 stolen bases.
- Stoudt, a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher, was the Mariners' third-round pick out of Lehigh in 2019. In 18 Double-A starts this season, he's 6-6 with a 5.28 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 82 strikeouts against 22 walks in 87 innings. He was considered the Mariners' fifth-best prospect.
- Moore, a 22-year-old right-handed reliever, was the Mariners' 14th-round pick last year. MLB.com doesn't have him ranked in the Mariners' top-30 prospects. In 25 outings for Class A, he has a 1.95 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 58 strikeouts against 17 walks in 32 1/3 innings.
Time will tell on how the return pans out for the Reds, but it looks like quite a haul.
On the Mariners' end, Castillo contributing to a deep playoff run -- which is surely the goal -- will make the move worth it.