What Luis Castillo’s trade means to all sailors and rebuilding the Reds

The Reds finally moved their captor, Luis Castillo, on Friday night, sending the 29-year-old right-back to the Seattle Mariners for a package that included Seattle’s best player, Noelfi Marty. Everyone expected Castillo to be traded before the August 2 deadline, and the deal did not disappoint, assuring that the Reds are in full rebuilding mode and that the Mariners are eagerly pursuing him.

The sailors sent Marty, 21, to Cincinnati, along with Edwin Arroyo and Allegianis Andrew Moore and Levi Stodt. Arroyo, in particular, is seen as a good opportunity for quality, and everyone but Moore has been included in Keith Law’s Top 20 Mariners pre-season list. In return, Seattle got the best player on the market, a front-line player to pair with 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray.

Meanwhile, the Reds – who already replaced Tyler Naquin for the Mets on Thursday – continue to demolish a top-league team that was 38-61, and that record is relatively impressive, considering they opened the season 3-22.

the athleteAn MLB expert panel examines what the trade means for the Reds, Mariners and Castillo.


Andy McCullough, MLB National Writer

Where were you in the summer of 2001? I was about to start high school. Jerry DePoto, head of the Seattle baseball team, had just retired from promoting a job at the front office for the Rockies. Scott Service was trying to hang out as a catch for the Astros. The Seattle Mariners were on the run with the American Western League. A lot has changed in the intervening decades: My hair is fading gray every day. DePoto and Service run the show in Seattle. And for the first time since that 116-win season in 2001, the Mariners are in a position to reach the playoffs and end the longest post-season drought in North American sports.

The club has only cemented its comfortable spot in the MLS with a deal for Castillo. To acquire Castillo, the Mariners offloaded part of their farm system to improve the starting turnover for both 2022 and 2023. The team also created more clarity on the Juan Soto sweepstakes.

The pieces are moving off the board now, and the dominoes are collapsing as Tuesday’s trading deadline approaches. The Yankees kidnapped Andrew Benintende on Wednesday. Now gone is the Castillo, the best pitcher on the market. It is unlikely that Seattle will have enough potential capital to purchase Soto. But the Padres, Cardinals and Dodgers are still well placed to strip Soto from the national team – if those clubs are willing to match the price of Washington general manager Mike Rizzo.

The Yankees have a strong enough farm system, too. The team identified its rotation as a potential area for promotion. With Castillo gone, will the Bombers focus on Oakland champion Frankie Montas? Or will they consider the price of Soto? We’ll know the answers in the next few days. For now, people in Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest can prepare for the drought to end and chase the supplement.

Trent Rosecrans, Reds writer

As happy as DiPoto is about the acquisition of Castillo, there are two people at the Mariners club who might be more excited – Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez. why? Because they know exactly what sailors get at Castillo. They get an ace, an ace that thrives on the big moments and dominate one of the most challenging stadium environments in baseball at Great American Ball Park.

Put Castillo in Seattle? Whew.

Winker and Suarez, like Castillo, were popular in Cincinnati. However, the team signaled its direction early in the season when it sent the duo to Seattle at the start of spring training. The Reds’ goal in 2022 wasn’t to win, it was to ditch the payroll and look to the future of 2024 when Joey Foto and Mike Mustakas were off the payroll.

The Reds had some trading chips and boosted their system with their trade with the Mariners earlier this season, but that should rise to the Reds in the farm system rankings. Castillo still has another year in control, so the comeback must have been massive and by all accounts, it is.

The deal is themed pair of shorts to stop, Marty and Arroyo. Shortstop was already the Reds’ strongest position on the farm with Eli de la Cruz, Jose Barreiro and Matt McLean, but now he’s deeper. The thing is, you can never get too many short stops. You know who started as a short platformer? Just about every other big player is right-handed. Again, you can never have too many short layovers.

Right-hander Stoudt is a good starting prospect for the bowler and a scout sent me saying Moore is the sleeper in the deal, a big boom that hit 102 mph with a plus slider.

Will all of these players succeed? hard to say. But for a team that was unwilling to sign Castillo long-term, that’s a big task and it’s exactly what the Reds needed to do to maximize chips like Castillo.

Corey Brook, Mariners writer

The Mariners went into Friday’s game in Houston with the best ERA in baseball in the last 55 games (2.96). So why add the 29-year-old Castillo?

First, this team feels they have a real shot at snapping up their 21-year drought. She had to make a big splash. This is not Soto, but it is the best arm available out there. And she points this out: The Mariners, who recently had a 14-game winning streak in a row, don’t mess around. They’re serious about getting into the post-season dance. Second, the club knows it needs to watch the in-turn workload of two of its best young players, Logan Gilbert and George Kirby.


Noelfi Marty is one of the best prospects in Seattle. (Larry Goren/Four Seam Images via AP)

Castillo is an ace in every sense of the word, and he should thrive by moving from the Reds-friendly football field to the expansive T-Mobile park. He’s in team control until 2023. Castillo’s four-stage fastball (hitting average is 125 against) and change (.196) has been virtually unchangeable this season. The comeback is pretty steep, as these things can be, and suggests that sailors are already striving for it. Mart was the club’s best player and Arroyo is likely to be the second-placed. He split the Cal League when he was 18 years old.

Inoue Sarris, MLB National Writer

At Castillo, sailors get an ace. Since he broke out in the league in 2017, only one eligible player has had as high a pitch as he showed and hit more hits – so he’s able to reduce damage and keep the hitter out of the base lanes. He has power and control and manages to keep the ball in the park in an awesome park for shooters – he’ll enjoy getting out of Cincinnati.

It’s a complete arsenal. This year, he flattened his four stitches and showed off the best slick roundup of his career, to go with a plus slider and an elite change. Being able to play the two fastballs apart from each other gives him a real four-point combination with the command. He’s one of 15 players in the major leagues this year with above-average objects and positions on three or more stadiums.

There is always a debate about what makes a real ace. Maybe Castillo was on the wrong side of that to some, and so they’ll be talking about how big a franchise the Reds are and thinking the Mariners might have overpaid. But a guy with that kind of speed and that kind of advanced driving for a big arsenal? He looks like he’s a bit of a team leader, and he’s going to change the top of Seattle’s turn either way. Perhaps worth the expectations.

Stephen Nisbet, MLB National Writer

After weeks of speculation about where Castillo would land, the answer was not New York, not Los Angeles, but Seattle. The Mariners have declared themselves as key players in this trade deadline by having the best known starting bowler available. Castillo immediately raised the level of the Mariners’ rotation: he and Robbie Ray would be an amazing punch in the playoffs. Castillo has a 3.22 ERA career at home, although Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati is linked with Coors Field for being the worst shooting park in the majors, according to Statcast park factors. Now his main stadium is T-Mobile Park, which is considered the best stadium for shooters. I am sure he will appreciate the difference.

The wave of young shooters that the Mariners have at or near Major League level – from Gilbert to Kirby to Matt Brach, Emerson Hancock and more – presents a bright future, but Diputo realizes the best play nowadays is to bolster the rotation with a veteran arm. The price was high, with Mariners breaking out in three of the top five prospects, but there is reason to believe Castillo will provide enough value over the next 15 months to make the cost worthwhile, even if he goes elsewhere at a free agency.

(Photo: Rick Scuteri/USA Today)

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