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Mariners Make a Big Splash

The trade deadline has come and gone and it was starting to look like we wouldn’t see too many big names be traded, then Monday and Tuesday happened. Josh Hader shockingly is now in San Diego. Frankie Montas is now with the Yankees. Oh, and not to bury the lead too much but, Juan Soto actually got traded. I’m not sure if this is the craziest trade deadline ever, but it certainly lived up to the hype. Let’s focus on the big name who was traded many days before the deadline.

Luis Castillo is now a member of the Seattle Mariners. That still feels a bit weird to say. The Mariners went out and traded for the best starting pitcher that was available on the market. They pulled off arguably the most significant trade in Mariners history. You might look at the Cano trade or even look back to when they traded away Ken Griffey Jr. Even if you factor in multiple-time Cy Young winner and HOF Randy Johnson, who was only 25 with a 4.69 ERA at the time of the acquisition, Luis Castillo is definitely the best player they have ever acquired and is arguably the most prominent trade they have ever completed. 

Seattle is bringing in a two-time All-Star who has a career 3.62 ERA and is having arguably his best season with a career-low 2.68 ERA. Castillo has a 4 pitch mix of a 4-seam fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup. He throws each one about a quarter of the time with his 4-seam fastball at 32%, changeup at 25.8%, sinker at 21.3%, and his slider at 20.9%. He does an excellent job of tunneling his pitches together, meaning that they all play well off of each other. The 4-seam and sinker are both 95+ MPH, but the sinker has that last-second bite to it. The changeup and the sinker look very similar, just with a 7-10 mph difference. Lastly, the slider keeps you honest. It adds another dimension to his repertoire, creating more horizontal movement as opposed to the vertical movement he creates with his changeup and sinker. @PitchingNinja on Twitter has put out some great videos and overlays about just how dominant Castillo can be. Castillo ranks above the 75th percentile in the league in xwOBA, xERA, xSLG, Barrel%, and fastball velocity.

Let’s take a look at what the Mariners had to give up. SS Noelvi Marte, SS Edwin Arroyo, RHP Levi Stoudt, and RHP Andrew Moore. Marte, Arroyo, and Stoudt were regarded as 3 of the top 5 prospects in the Mariners system. Moore is a lower-ranked prospect but is a bullpen arm with high velocity who projects as a potential back-end guy going forward.

Without doing too much of a deep dive into prospects who are no longer in the organization, let’s just take a look and see why the Reds coveted a package like this from Seattle. Marte has been ranked as high as the top 10 of all prospects in baseball. However, he has slowly started to lose a bit of traction in the industry with a slow start to the season. Many around baseball had begun viewing Arroyo as the better prospect long-term. While both are currently shortstops, Marte projects to move off the position to either 3B or somewhere in the corner outfield due to his lack of range and overall lackluster glove, committing 24 errors in only 81 games this season. Arroyo struggled a bit in rookie ball but has been tearing it up this year at Low-A Modesto. Hitting at a .316 BA with almost a .900 OPS and 13 HR in 87 games. He’s younger, he’s a switch hitter, and recently has been regarded as the more athletic prospect when compared to Marte. Stoudt is closest to the big leagues out of the 4. He was at AA Arkansas but has been struggling a bit lately. After a good start to the year, he is sitting at well over a 5 ERA. He projects as a potential middle-of-the-rotation guy who has a fastball in the upper 90s.

Let’s take a look at the few small moves the Mariners made in the final hours of the trade deadline. They acquired Matthew Boyd and Curt Casali from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for unranked prospects Michael Stryffeler and Andy Thomas. They also traded for Jake Lamb from the Dodgers for cash considerations or a PTBNL. Boyd and Casali are currently on the IL and are expected to join the big league team within the coming weeks. Casali offers you a better backup catcher who has a connection with a former teammate and now current teammate, Luis Castillo. Casali is only hitting .231 but has a 96 OPS+ which are both significantly better than current backup catcher Luis Torrens, who is hitting .208 with a 44 OPS+. Boyd, when healthy, is expected to fill the multi-inning role of recently released Tommy Milone. He has yet to appear in a game this season but is looking to bounce back as a reliever after a streaky last few seasons. Jake Lamb is seen as a utility bench bat that can add depth to the Mariners hitting. Lamb is hitting .239 on the season with a .770 OPS. He has played 3B previously in his career and has appeared at 1B and LF this season for LA. Overall, these 3 guys are more fringe moves than anything. They’re meant to strengthen the end of the bench and the lower part of the pitching staff.

Let’s wrap this up by looking at a few guys that Seattle could have added but didn’t. Brandon Drury was a name that had been linked to the Mariners and when Castillo was on the move, I figured it would be just as easy to get Drury as a part of that deal. They also elected not to add any proven bullpen help with guys like Andrew Chafin or David Robertson. I realize that Diego Castillo and Mitch Haniger are on the way back, but I’ve never been a huge fan of adding guys off the IL as your bigger moves at the deadline. I understand you gave up a lot for Luis Castillo and this is only the start of this potential “window” for this team, but if you’re going to go get the top arm, why not try and get more than just depth pieces?

In the long run, we don’t how these trades will pan out. Could Marte or someone else in these deals turn into future all-stars or more? Sure they could, but you also have plenty of big trades where you never hear of the prospects again. I wish nothing but the best for all of them in their new organizations, but the Mariners got arguably the best player they could realistically get and he immediately helps them to try and break a 20+ year postseason drought.

Featured Photo: Mariners / Twitter

Michael Fitzpatrick

Michael Fitzpatrick is a former collegiate baseball player who played baseball for over 20 years. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in Sports Psychology. He is an avid baseball fan and a life long Seattle Mariners fan. Hope you enjoy! Twitter: Fitz_God16

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