A Cincinnati Reds pitcher was traded just days after his outstanding final outing at Great American Ball Park.
As Cincinnati fans prepared for bed late July 29, the Reds traded starting pitcher Luis Castillo to the Seattle Mariners for prospects. Castillo had long been the subject of trade predictions ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline and had been noted as one of the – if not the –best available pitchers for 2022. Other prospective teams giving Castillo a long look included the Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees – which Castillo smoked with eight strikeouts on July 14.
Castillo, who made his second MLB All-Star Game appearance this summer, has a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts for 2022. Since joining the Reds in 2017, Castillo has notched 44 wins and 860 strikeouts, leading the Reds in both categories. The 2022 season is going much better for Castillo than 2021, when the pitcher had a 3.98 ERA, posted 16 loses and allowed 94 runs.
During the July 27 game against the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park – his final start for the Reds – Castillo threw eight strikeouts in seven innings.
"It's been a beautiful experience. The [Reds] personnel, the team, everyone that I've been able to make some type of connection with," Castillo said during a press conference through interpreter Jorge Merlos. "To have my name in fans' mouths and have them cheering me on and say things about me, it's something that I'll treasure forever. I won't forget about that."
According to the Sporting News, Castillo has an $8.5 million contract for 2022 and is eligible for salary arbitration in 2023. He can become a free agent ahead of the 2024 season.
In return for Castillo, the Mariners gave the Reds shortstop Noelvi Marte, shortstop Edwin Arroyo, right-handed pitchers Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore. Marte, Arroyo and Stoudt are the Mariners' first, third and fifth-best prospects, according to MLB ratings and a news release from the Reds.
The MLB trade deadline is 6 p.m. Aug. 2.
The Castillo trade is the latest in a series of veteran moves the Reds' front office has made this year, which fans had predicted would become yet another "rebuilding season." Fan enthusiasm and trust have been waning since the Reds lost free agents like 2021 All-Star outfielder Nick Castellanos and traded away big contributors like Jesse Winker, third baseman Eugenio Suárez and pitcher Sonny Gray. Just before the start of the season, Reds owner Bob Castellini said that he wanted to concentrate on developing younger players, and the team has indeed cut payroll.
Feeling betrayed and fearing that 2022 would not be a legitimate push for playoff glory, some fans raised more than $4,000 ahead of Opening Day for a billboard urging Castellini to sell the Reds to someone who would invest in winning. That I-75 billboard and fans' growing lack of trust in the team elicited a sharp response from the Reds' chief operating officer – and Bob Castellini's son – Phil Castellini who told 700 AM WLW radio that Cincinnatians essentially just have to deal with it when the team repeatedly refuses to pay for productive veteran players. Phil Castellini later walked back his comments and sent an apology note to Reds staff.
The postseason has evaded the Reds in any meaningful way in recent years. During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, the Reds made it to the Wild Card playoffs but lost the first round to the Atlanta Braves without scoring at all. Before that, Cincinnati hadn't been to the postseason since 2013.
As of Aug. 1, the Cincinnati Reds are 40-61 for the 2022 season, which puts them in second-to-last place in the NL Central and fifth-to-last in the entire MLB. Earlier this year, baseball experts had said that the Reds were on pace for a 125-loss season, the lowest for any team since 1900.
The Reds will visit the Miami Marlins for a three-day series beginning Aug. 1.