Trade Central: Reds Trade Luis Castillo To Mariners For Prospect Haul
While the proposed Juan Soto trades have taken the vast majority of attention, Luis Castillo was one of the best pitchers available at this year's deadline. As expected, the Reds received a hefty prospect return for him.
The Mariners acquired Castillo from the Reds on Friday in exchange for four of their Top 30 prospects, including their top two. Shortstop Noelvi Marte (No. 1), shortstop Edwin Arroyo (No. 2), righthanded starter Levi Stoudt (No. 10) and righthanded reliever Andrew Moore (No. 26) are all headed to Cincinnati in return for Castillo.
With the trade, the Mariners now boast one of the best rotation trios in the American League in Castillo, reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray and burgeoning ace Logan Gilbert.
Luis Castillo, RHP
Castillo has been a well above-average starting pitcher since he made his debut as a rookie in 2017 and has a career-best 2.86 ERA in 14 starts this year. He has long had a devastating fastball-changeup pairing, with a 96-98 mph fastball and a plus change, but his slider has steadily improved to give him a third pitch for hitters to worry about. Castillo’s durability is also impressive. He’s avoided missing significant time since he joined the Reds’ rotation. In addition to his stuff and durability, Castillo sharpened his command and is controlling contact better than he had previously. His fastball is a swing-and-miss pitch and his slider and changeup both generate whiffs and ground balls, giving Castillo a trio of weapons to generate outs in a variety of ways. He will be a free agent after the 2023 season, giving the Mariners a potential ace for this season and next as they try to end the longest playoff drought in North American professional sports.
Noelvi Marte, SS
The Mariners’ No. 1 prospect and No. 47 overall on the BA Top 100, Marte has long showed explosive power with top-end exit velocities and exceptional strength for his age. His approach is inconsistent from time to time, but he shows an aptitude for picking out which pitches to drive and which to lay off of when he's dialed in. Marte entered the season too big and hit .229 with a .680 OPS the first two and a half months at High-A Everett, but he improved his conditioning as the year went on and regained his explosiveness, which helped propel him to a red-hot stretch in which he's hit .355 with nine home runs, 32 RBIs and a 1.107 OPS in his last 28 games. A potential average to above-average hitter with plus or more power, Marte's bat will play even with a projected move to third base. He has thickened up as he's aged, and in a Reds’ system filled with shortstop prospects, he’s likely to move to the hot corner before long. As long as he keeps his approach and conditioning consistent, Marte's power and ability to get to it gives him the potential to be a middle-of-the-order slugger.
Edwin Arroyo, SS
The Mariners' No. 2 prospect, Arroyo has been one of the fastest risers among prospects this year as an athletic, switch-hitting shortstop with plus defensive ability and more offensive skills than expected. Known as a gifted defender with a light bat when he was drafted 48th overall last year, Arroyo hit .316/.385/.514 with 13 home runs, 67 RBIs and 21 stolen bases at Low-A Modesto this season, earning consensus reviews as the California League's best prospect outside of the D-backs' Jordan Lawlar. Arroyo is a smooth operator at shortstop with soft hands, solid range, advanced instincts for his age and a plus, accurate arm. He plays under control and with a maturity well beyond his years, showing both the reliability and athleticism to be at least a plus defender. Arroyo adjusted his mindset to be more relaxed in the batter's box and broke out this year, showing the ability to make consistent contact and drive balls hard from the left side in particular. He is competent from the right side as well, although not quite as strong as he is from the left, and projects to be an above-average hitter with 20-25 home run power. Arroyo is still very young and has a lot of physical maturation left, but he has the all-around skill set and advanced instincts to be an impactful everyday shortstop who makes a difference on both sides of the ball.
Levi Stoudt, RHP
The Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, Stoudt has struggled in a return to Double-A Arkansas this year but still shows the core components to be a back-of-the-rotation starter or productive reliever. Stoudt has a big fastball that sits at 93-95 mph and touches 98. It’s an above-average pitch he throws for strikes consistently to get ahead of hitters. Stoudt’s low-80s split-changeup was a plus pitch in the past, but it’s not been as consistent or effective this year. His slider flashes above-average and he mixes in a bigger mid-70s curveball that shows average. Stoudt struggles to locate his curveball, while his changeup is a chase pitch that generally ends up out of the zone. He'll need to improve his ability to throw both for strikes more to avoid opponents sitting on his fastball. Stoudt has been inconsistent this year, with awful outings sandwiched around effective ones. If he can get his secondaries in the strike zone more, he has the pitch mix to be a solid No. 4 or 5 starter,
Andrew Moore, RHP
The Mariners’ 14th-round pick in 2021 out of Chipola (Fla.) JC, Moore was one of the breakout prospects in their farm system for Low-A Modesto this year. Moore is a pure reliever, but he has the fastball-breaking ball combination to potentially pitch late innings in the majors. He has a 95-97 mph fastball that touches 100 and despite a 6-foot-5 frame, he throws on a surprisingly flat plane that helps his fastball play up. His 85-88 mph slider is a hard offering that relies more on power than its modest movement and is another potential above-average pitch. Moore dominated at Low-A as a college draftee and still has to prove his stuff will play against more age-appropriate competition, but his arm strength and pitch qualities provide enough optimism that it will.