Luis Castillo Trade Grades: Mariners, Reds both receive ‘A’ for first deadline blockbuster

The Seattle Mariners acquired right-hander Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night in Major League Baseball’s first major move before August. 2 Trade deadline. In exchange, the Mariners sent four prospects to Cincinnati: shortstops Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo and right-handers Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore.

The Mariners, currently the American League’s second wild-card team, are attempting to make the postseason for the first time since 2001. Castillo should bolster a rotation — both this season and next — that already features reigning Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray and quality youngsters Logan Gilbert and George Kirby. His addition comes at a potentially steep cost to the Mariners, but it shows how serious top executive Jerry Dipoto is about ending the game’s longest playoff drought.

On the Cincinnati side of things, Castillo’s departure is the latest (but not the last) part of an ongoing rebuild that dates back to last winter. The Reds are in full-on talent-gathering mode right now, and it’s fair to write that they’ve made a stunning comeback for their ace and half of his season and remaining team control.

We here at CBS Sports are nothing if not judgmental, and that means offering the closest analysis on the biggest trades this time of year. Below, you’ll find the “Grades” for both the Mariners and Reds, along with an explanation of those grades.

With that, let’s resume the deal:

Mariners receive.

Reads are received.

  • SS Novelli Mars

  • SS Edwin Arroyo

  • RHP Levi Stoudt

  • RHP Andrew Moore

Mariners Grade: A

That’s the kind of trade you make when you haven’t made the playoffs in over two decades. Seriously, though, it’s a welcome sight in a few respects, starting with how it rewards a passionate (and tormented) Seattle fan base and how it’s the league as a whole. How does counterculture operate?

Teams are too happy these days to take postseason berths for granted. Their executives will make a minor upgrade or two at the margin. If the chips fall as they do and it’s enough to make the playoffs, great; Otherwise, why risk losing some sweet, sweet extra value for anything less than a division title?

The Mariners are not going to win the AL West. They enter Saturday behind the Houston Astros, as do the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. Adding Castillo increases their postseason odds, and more importantly, it makes them a more dangerous October opponent.

Keep in mind, the new playoff format eliminates one more completed wild card game. The top two seeds in each league will receive a bye while the others will play a best-of-three series in the stadium of the better team. The Mariners now have a better chance to host the series and can push a three-game rotation that includes Castillo, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, and Logan Gilbert, one of the game’s most promising prospects. Young is one of the starters. It’s a tough set of matchups for the Toronto Blue Jays or any other team looking to advance.

Assuming that the exit package, as good as it is, wouldn’t be enough for either Juan Soto or Shohei Ohtani, then Castillo was the most impactful player the Mariners could get back. To wit, the 29-year-old Castillo could very well get the Game 1 assignment. After missing the start of the season due to shoulder problems, he has recovered to post a 2.86 ERA (160 ERA+) and 3.21 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14 starts. Since the start of the pandemic, he ranks seventh in Wins Above Replacement among starters. He remains under team control through the end of next season, and despite the aforementioned shoulder issue, has made a full slate of starts every year since 2018. The Mariners should be optimistic that Castillo can provide them with a lot of quality starts. Between now and winter 2023.

Castillo’s signature pitch is his changeup. It is one of, if not the best of its kind and he has often used it as his main offering throughout his career. Yet Castillo’s changeup hasn’t been the pitch that has caught his eye so far this season. That honor instead goes to his four-seam fastball, which averages 97 mph and has produced a .125 batting average-against and a 38.7 percent whiff rate, at least 300 four-seamers to date. The highest among throwing pitchers. Castillo also sinks his fastball and throws a slider, but for our money, it’s the four-seamer and changeup that make him good.

Most people would have agreed entering Friday morning that it would be great to see the Mariners pull off a blowout and that Castillo was the best pitcher on the market. Now that the cost is known, there is likely to be some disagreement as to whether or not the trade-off was worth what lies ahead. It was a lot to give up, no doubt, and the trade will limit Seattle’s ability to move this summer and beyond. The addition of Castillo could be the difference between the Mariners winning a playoff series (or more) and not.

We’re giving the Mariners an A because we think it’s healthy for the game for teams — especially ones that aren’t the usual suspects — to prioritize the chances of deep playoff runs, and because we think Castillo is a pitcher. Like enough. We would assume that anyone would give him a worse mark because he left the talent for a relatively short period of time.

Read Grade: A

It has become customary for struggling teams to hit the reset button by trading away every player who is either nearing free agency or banking more than seven figures. There is no easier way for a general manager to develop additional job security than with a five-year rebuilding plan. This way, the owner saves a lot of money and doesn’t have to deliver results to the executive. Just trust the process, man. Anytime a team goes that route, the suspicions are confirmed.

The worst, most ambitious of these situations — the one where the obvious goal is to save the owner some money at the expense of the team — looks a lot like what the Reds did in the offseason. They unexpectedly reached out to dump catcher Tucker Bernhardt and dealt lefty Miley to the Chicago Cubs. Both moves were inexplicable, even at the time, and suggested the Reds would take the long, hard, expensive road back to relevance. (It didn’t help matters that the owner’s son, an alternate-level suit, turned his back on fans earlier in the season.) On the other hand, this trade is rebuilding the right way.

The Reds traded two of their best prospects from Seattle’s good farm system in exchange for a year and a half of Castillo in a market-setting deal that feels like a rip from the past. Teams these days typically don’t return potential capital for pitchers who are this close to free agency. Factor in Cincinnati’s Cam Collier selection in the draft, easily the best value in the first round, and the Reds have added three high-end position player prospects to their farm system over the course of a few weeks.

Granted, trading a pitcher of Castillo’s caliber is never easy, especially when he comes off as one of the franchise’s biggest scouting and development wins. (The Reds acquired Castillo from the Miami Marlins for Dan Strailli in 2017; Castillo has since made 137 starts for the Reds, compared to Strailli’s 56 with the Fish.) Doing that now, and that return So, there’s a defensible decision on baseball’s multiple. The surface

Castillo, though largely durable throughout his career, missed the start of the season with shoulder problems. His looming free agency means the Reds need to make a call, either extending or trading him. Given the Reds’ position on the win curve and the risks associated with giving a veteran starter the former felt like a dubious decision — even a very good one — to a long-term deal that was worth his market value. is equal

Marte, 20, was ranked as the game’s 11th best prospect by CBS Sports in the spring. He has spent the year in High-A, where he has faced competition that is, on average, three years his senior. That didn’t stop him from batting .275/.363/.462 or tallying 34 extra-base hits (including 15 home runs) and 13 stolen bases in 85 games.

Mart combines big raw power with a sense of touch and zone. He’s never had more than 22 percent of his plate appearances in an entire season, yet he’s worked reliably in at least nine percent of his trips to the plate. If there is one area of ​​concern about his offensive game, it has to do with his tendency to wear out of left field. His 55 percent pull rate would rank third in the majors behind only Dolton Warsaw and Byron Buxton. The Reds can work with Mart to use the entire field to make him more difficult to defend, or they can conclude that there is no defense for him to clear the wall. Either way, he has enough work in his favorable tools—and efficiency—to think he’ll become an above-average hitter.

The biggest drawback with Mars is its defense. He committed 30 errors in 99 games last season and has committed 24 errors in 81 contests this year. The Reds will likely task their instructors with working with him on his internal clock and smoothing out his rough edges, because there’s no physical reason he can’t be better at six o’clock. If it fails to take, he will likely have to move to third base. Marte’s bat gives him a wide berth, and it’s possible he could become a star-caliber player no matter where he lines up.

Arroyo, 18, drew fans in the 2021 draft with a combination of youth (he won’t turn 19 until late August) and defensive polish. He is an unquestionable shortstop with the hands, feet and arm to be an asset at the position for the long haul. The question mark with his game has been his bat, but he is a switch hitter who has held his own despite being significantly younger than his competition in his first full professional season. In fact, Arroyo led a team that included respectable prospects like Harry Ford and Jonathan Klaas by hitting .316/.385/.514. It indicates well.

Arroyo’s glove gives him the upper hand. If he continues to develop as a hitter, the Reds would have landed two starting-caliber left-handed infielders in a single trade.

Stoudt, 24, is a small right-hander who is in position to become the first member of the package to reach the majors. He has already appeared in 21 games at the Double-A level, albeit with less than ideal results. That season, he compiled a 5.28 ERA in 87 innings, mostly due to one of the best home run rates on his club. Stoudt has better stuff than those marks, including a mid-90s fastball, but there’s a better chance he ends up pitching in relief as a major leaguer.

Moore, 22, is not to be confused with the former Mariners pitcher of the same name. While the other Moore was a command-and-control starter prospect, this Moore is a pure reliever who pumps gas with an upper-mid-90s fastball. He struck out 58 of 133 batters (44 percent) with the Mariners this season. If he can continue to strike at an acceptable level, he can play a high-profile role.

The Reds, who also dealt outfielder Tyler Nickin to the New York Mets earlier this week, should remain active on the trade front between now and Tuesday’s deadline. Industry sources have informed CBS Sports that the Reds are expected to move right-hander Tyler Mahle and resurgent utility infielder Brandon Drury before the buzzer.