Reds trade Luis Castillo to Mariners for 4 prospects

Castillo, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA for the Reds in bottom spot

SEATTLE (AP) — After more than two decades without a playoff appearance, the Seattle Mariners issued a clear statement Friday night that they intend to end their postseason drought this year.

The Mariners acquired perhaps the best starting pitcher in the trade market, bringing in All-Star Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds with payroll for four minor league prospects.

Seattle hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001, the longest postseason drought in the big four North American professional sports.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the game. He’s really established himself as a dominant starter,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais in Houston. “This year we have the chance to create something really big here. You have to take a risk every now and then if you ultimately want to get the reward, take a little risk. Dominant starting pitcher and I’m excited to meet him.”

At 54-47, the Mariners are second of three AL wildcards, a half game ahead of Tampa Bay (53-47) and two games ahead of Cleveland (51-48).

Seattle won its last 14 games before the All-Star break, one short of the longest winning streak in team history and a club’s best run before the break since 1933. But the Mariners have been 3-5 since then, after an 11-1 Loss in Houston on Friday night.

A return to the AL West race may be out of the question as Houston has a 12-game lead. But Castillo’s landing solidifies Seattle’s rotation and makes the Mariners dangerous if they make the playoffs.

Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said there were talks with the Reds about Castillo going back to last fall before the lockout, and the Mariners’ performance over the past six weeks led to teams re-engaging .

“Right now we just think he’s in the prime of his career and at the top of his game and our goal is to keep him there and help him in any way we can to improve where it’s possible ‘ Dipoto said.

Cincinnati received infielders Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo and right-handers Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore. Marte was the Mariners’ top-rated prospect, with Arroyo third and Stoudt fifth.

“We felt this was the best return we could get for Luis,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said.

Castillo joins third baseman Eugenio Suárez and left fielder Jesse Winker, both of whom were traded from Cincinnati to the Mariners in mid-March. Castillo last served on Wednesday and is looking to make his Mariners debut at Yankee Stadium next week, where Seattle will play a three-game series starting Monday.

Castillo, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA for the bottom-ranked Reds (38-61), batting 90 and going 28 in 85 innings. His fastball has an average speed of 97 mph.

He rebounded from a career-worst 8-16 record last year when he had a 3.98 ERA.

“It was a beautiful experience,” Castillo said through a translator. “Having my name in the mouths of the fans and being cheered on by them is something I will forever cherish.”

Acquired by Miami prior to the 2017 season, Castillo is a two-time All-Star with a 44-53 record and a 3.62 ERA in six seasons. He has a salary of $7.35 million this season, is due for arbitration next winter, and is eligible to become a free agent after the 2023 season.

He joins a rotation that includes Logan Gilbert, Robbie Ray, Marco Gonzales and Chris Flexen. The touted rookie George Kirby looks likely to be pushed out, but Dipoto said the goal is to be creative to keep Kirby on a regular turn and contributing.

Marte, 20, hit .275 with 19 doubles, 15 homers, 55 RBIs and 13 steals this season for Class A Everett.

Arroyo, 18, was a second-round draft pick last year and hit .299 in the minors with 21 doubles, seven triples, 15 homers, 77 RBIs and 25 steals.

Stout, 24, is 13-9 with a 4.32 ERA in 33 starts over two minor league seasons.

The 22-year-old Moore was 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA this year for Class A Modesto.

“Noelvi Marte has a chance to be an effective mid-order bat who can play shortstop,” Krall said. “Edwin Arroyo, same thing – he has a combination of power and speed that can play shortstop. Levi Stoudt has a chance to be a major league starter. Andrew Moore just started pitching. He was drafted last year. He has explosive, explosive stuff. His fastball is up to 102 (mph) with a plus slider.

A night earlier, the rebuilding Reds had traded outfielder Tyler Naquin and left-hander Phillip Diehl to the New York Mets for two youthful minor leagues.

Major League Baseball trade closes on Tuesday. Reds trade Luis Castillo to Mariners for 4 prospects

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