Trading: Mariners get RHP Lewis Castle From the Reds for SS Noelvi Marte, SS Edwin Arroyo, RHP Levi Studt and RHP Andrew Moore.
With the Mariners in the wild-card position and looking to end an epic playoff drought dating back to the Stone Age (at least in sports years) of 2001, you knew general manager Jerry Dipoto was going to make a move — maybe a big one. He didn’t cheat. The Mariners were believed to be one of the leading contenders to buy John SotoBut Dipoto instead bumped Castillo, who was seen as the better starting pitcher (barring the shock Shohei Ohtani trade), and bidding teams such as the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cardinals were actively pursuing Castillo.
Let’s go to the standards.
The Mariners are 17-5 in their last 22 games to put themselves in the playoffs, but five of those losses have come against the Astros since the All-Star break, and the Mariners have scored just 11 runs in those losses. That is why they were in Soto; They need to improve on an offense that ranks 11th in the American League in runs per game. But they faced another problem: the rookie George Kirby Approaching an innings limit, after averaging just 67.2 in his first full season as a professional in 2021, with 94 innings on the season. A possible no. Without a 5 starter, they needed another starter to replace Kirby in the rotation.
Castillo obviously fits that hole. The two-time All-Star is just 4-4, but he owns a 2.86 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 85 innings (he missed April after leaving spring training with a sore shoulder). He has been especially hot of late, with a 1.59 ERA over his past five starts, including pitching seven innings in his past four outings. Those two games came against the Braves and Yankees, two of the best offenses in the majors, so he didn’t just hit on the Cubs and Pirates. With a fastball that averages 96 to 97 mph, Castillo’s velocity has never been an issue, nor has his changeup, which has been one of the best in the majors for years. But he’s developed a little more consistency this season, cutting his walk rate from 3.6 per nine innings to 3.0, and his slider has become a wipeout pitch, holding batters to a .189 average and just one home run. Scouts have long viewed Castillo as a potential ace, and he’s always been close to that position in 2022 — and that’s why all contenders in need of a starter wanted this guy.
Castillo is pitching 187.2 innings in 2021 and 190.2 innings in 2019. Acquiring Castillo should allow Scott Servais to step back from the second-year right-hander’s innings. Logan GilbertHe pitched 123 innings, striking out three Alec Manoa For most in AL. Kirby can move into the bullpen or start a few spots as needed. Seattle’s bullpen has been light over the past two months — entering Friday’s games, it had a 2.59 ERA since May 25, the best in the majors — so the Mariners now have plenty of depth in both the rotation and the pen. Last two months.
Castillo, Gilbert, Kirby, six potential starting pitcher options for next season is an added bonus that Castillo has team control through 2023. Robbie Ray, Marco Gonzalez And Chris Flexon. Of course, there is still an offense that needs to be improved. The trade Marte, their best chance, would almost certainly knock them out of the Soto sweepstakes they weren’t going to win anyway. Of course, they can offer a collection of Kirby, Emerson Hancock, Jared Kelenick. Kyle Lewis And another possibility, but that would essentially empty the farm system, and given Kelenic’s struggles at the major league level, his trade value isn’t soto-worthy right now anyway. The M’s are looking for a big upgrade to come from Mitch Haniger, who has been out since mid-April (except for one game). He is finally rehabbing in the minors and should be back soon. Remember, he hit 39 home runs last season.
But Haniger alone won’t be enough, especially since the wild-card race is a battle with the Blue Jays, Rays, AL Central teams and possibly the Orioles and Red Sox. The Mariners may still be looking for a secondary bat Joc Pederson, Ian Hopp (Even though he has another team control, the Cubs shouldn’t trade him.) Brandon Drury Or David Peralta. Or maybe Jesse Winger Finally raking will start on a consistent basis as it did in 2021.
Look, you could argue that no team needs a trip to the playoffs more than the Mariners … but they gave up two very promising prospects to acquire Castillo, and I think there’s a strong chance that this trade looks like a failure. Red in some years. Yes, the trade helps the Mariners this season and next, but given how the Astros crushed them in five games, Seattle doesn’t look like a World Series contender in 2022 (but you should take a chance!).
Reds and Mariners rotate winger/Eugene Suarez Throw in the return to spring training (in which pitching prospect Brandon Williamson was the Reds’ highlight), so that helps explain this deal. The Reds know Seattle’s organization, and the two front offices have dealt with each other before, often key to any successful transaction.
There’s a reason the Reds agreed to this deal: They could have hit a home run.
Marte was Kyle McDaniel’s No. 12 prospect entering the season, and he’s played at a level to stay in that ranking — or maybe move up. He’s hitting .270/.360/.460 for Everett in the High-A Northwest League at age 20, making him one of the league’s youngest players. His .820 OPS is well above the league average of .693, and he hit .370 with seven home runs (with 10 walks and 12 strikeouts) in July in particular. You have to love the interim fix/progress. Marte’s power ability was his calling card, and Kiley returned a 60 grade in spring training. He may not stick at shortstop, but the bat and glove are easily visible at third base. Look, you don’t seem to have any chance, and Marte wasn’t exactly tearing it up before his July hot streak, but unless the hit tool suddenly evaporates, Marte is at least a solid big leaguer with star potential. Over a year from Castillo, it’s about as good as you’d expect.
Arroyo, Seattle’s second-round pick last year, was acquired from Puerto Rico by the Reds. He was a very young draft pick and didn’t turn 19 until August, but was very good in the low-A California League, hitting .316/.385/.514 with 13 home runs. Yes, you have to adjust the California League stats — a league OPS of .755 — but Arroyo is one of only two 18-year-olds in the league with at least 93 at-bats, the other hitting .188. Oh, and he’s also likely to stick 21-for-24 stolen bases at shortstop. He looks like a top-100 prospect heading into 2023. Reds fans should be very excited about this deal.
Except that’s not all. Levi Stout could have been Seattle’s No. 5 or No. 6 prospect, despite struggling at Double-A Arkansas with a 5.28 ERA and 13 home runs allowed in 87 innings. But with a fastball in the upper 90s and a changeup considered his best secondary option, he has big-time things. The strikeout-to-walk ratio is a nice 82 to 22, so with more refinement, there’s still starter potential here.
Andrew Moore (not the former Mariner of the same name now in the minors with the Blue Jays) was a reliever with Bucs bunny numbers in Modesto (58 K, no home runs in 32.1 innings). Last year’s 14th-round pick out of Cipolla Junior College in Florida, the numbers are intriguing to say the least.
Look, any rebuild is painful, and you can blame the Reds for starting to get their best players back in spring training.
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