The Seattle Mariners announced they are acquiring All Star starting pitcher Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Andrew Moore, Levi Stoudt, Edwin Arroyo, and prized prospect Noelvi Marte.
Since the start of the 2019 season, Luis Castillo has been one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball because of his combined high quality and quantity on the mound. Castillo’s 12.4 fWAR since 2019 is the 10th best among all starting pitchers and he is among the six pitchers to pitch at least 500 innings during this span with an ERA, FIP, and xFIP all 3.50 or lower alongside Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Shane Bieber, Zack Wheeler, and Max Fried. While Castillo has dominated since 2019, he’s in the midst of a career-best season. So far in 2022 Castillo has pitched 85.0 innings to a spectacular 2.86 ERA, 3.18 xERA, 3.20 FIP, 3.39 xFIP, and 3.56 SIERA.
What makes Castillo such a tough matchup for opposing teams is that he does almost everything really well. Castillo does a good job throwing strikes, generating whiffs, and striking batters out as his 27.7 CSW%, 26.6 Whiff%, and 25.8 K% are all above league average. When batters do put the ball in play, Castillo has done a very good job limiting quality contact as his 5.3 Barrel% is in the 91st percentile and his 47.1 GB% is in the 79th percentile (among starting pitchers with a minimum of 80 innings pitched). Lastly, Castillo has utilized a great three-pitch mix that has given batters fits all year. Castillo’s four-seamer (32% usage), changeup (25.8% usage), and slider (20.9% usage) all have a sub .200 batting average and sub .300 wOBA against with his four-seamer being his best in both categories as opposing players have an abysmal .124 batting average and .204 wOBA.
Castillo joins a Mariners rotation that includes reigning AL Cy Young Robbie Ray, rising star Logan Gilbert, promising rookie George Kirby, and veterans Marco Gonzalez and Chris Flexen. Seattle’s 3.68 rotation ERA is currently the seventh best in the Major Leagues but they have perhaps been a bit lucky as their 4.28 FIP, 4.16 xFIP, and 4.21 SIERA are all below average. However, acquiring Castillo should help eliminate any questions as to whether or not the Mariners’ rotation is legit as their new three-headed monster of Ray, Castillo, and Gilbert is among the best trios in Major League Baseball. With the Mariners looking to make noise in October, adding Castillo should help them tremendously as we’ve seen it’s necessary to have an elite pitching staff in order to win the World Series in each of the last three years.
Lastly, it’s extremely important to note that Castillo is still under team control for the 2023 season via arbitration. With a young roster that should continue improving heading into next year, having Castillo on their pitching staff for not only a potential postseason run this year but also next year could be a big reason why the Mariners break their infamous postseason drought and maybe win a World Series.
As for the Reds, they acquired an absolute haul headlined by Noelvi Marte. Marte, a 20-year-old shortstop, was ranked the best prospect in the Mariners’ farm system by MLB.com and FanGraphs and was rated as a top 20 overall prospect by both websites. Marte has been absolutely raking with the Mariners’ A+ affiliate hitting .270/.360/.460 (133 wRC+) and additionally stealing 12 stolen bases in 84 games. Marte is still probably at least a year away from making his Major League debut, but Reds fans will be patiently waiting as the team is in a rebuilding phase and there should be no reason to call up the soon to be 21 year old until he’s ready.
In addition to Marte, the Reds acquired Edwin Arroyo (SS), Levi Stoudt (RHP), and Andrew Moore (RHP). MLB.com had Arroyo ranked as the third-best prospect in the Mariners’ system and 93rd overall prospect, while FanGraphs had him as the Mariners’ eighth-best prospect and outside their top 100. Despite the discrepancy in opinion between the websites, there’s no debate that the Mariners’ second-round pick from 2021 has put on a show in A as he is hitting .316/.385/.514 (132 wRC+) with 21 stolen bases in 87 games. At just 18 (soon to be 19) years old, there’s a lot to like about Arroyo’s game. Stoudt was ranked as the Mariners’ fifth-best prospect by MLB.com but was ranked as their 15th-best prospect by FanGraphs. Stoudt — already 24 years old — has struggled in AA this year with a 5.28 ERA, but the Reds have become somewhat of a pitching factory over the last few years so maybe a few tweaks can unlock his potential. Finally, the last piece acquired by the Reds was Andrew Moore. Moore was not listed on either MLB.com of FanGraphs’s top Mariners prospects, was drafted in the 14th round of the 2021 MLB Draft, and has pitched to a 1.95 ERA in 32.1 innings in A as a reliever this season.
With the Mariners looking to win immediately and the Reds looking to rebuild, this trade made way too much sense for both teams.
Mariners: A Reds: A
I am a freshman studying magazine, news and digital journalism at the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications