CINCINNATI — The Reds had no shortage of suitors who wanted a crack at acquiring rotation ace Luis Castillo as Tuesday’s 6 pm ET Trade Deadline approached. General manager Nick Krall made the move on Friday night.
Castillo was traded to the Mariners for four Minor League prospects, including three who were ranked in the top five of Seattle’s organization at the time of the deal.
“We liked the top-end players, also with some depth to the deal. I’d say we had 10-15 teams that were in at some level,” Krall said following a 6-2 Reds loss to the Orioles. “We tried to get the best players we could get back. We felt that this was the best return we could get for Luis and the best we could do. We really like all four players and think all four players have a chance to be potential big leaguers.”
Castillo, 29, is 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts this season and was named to the National League All-Star team for the second time earlier this month. He joined the Reds in a January 2017 trade that sent veteran starting pitcher Dan Straily to the Marlins.
“Luis is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever come across in this clubhouse. Great guy, great pitcher. Family man. Just really great to have him here for as long as we did,” Krall said. “But at the end of the day, we had to make ourselves better for the long haul. We felt these four players are going to help us do that.”
In his final start on Wednesday vs. the Marlins, Castillo pitched seven strong innings and struck out the side in the seventh before being sent off with a standing ovation from Reds fans at Great American Ball Park.
“It’s been a beautiful experience,” Castillo said via translator Jorge Merlos. “The personnel, the team, everyone that I’ve been able to make some type of connection with. 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.”
With Castillo earning $7.35 million in 2022 and slated to be a free agent after the 2023 season, the Reds were rumored to be moving the right-hander since before Spring Training.
“Obviously it’s great to know where I’m going now, but I didn’t want to leave,” Castillo said. “I created a family here. They were the team that gave me the opportunity to play first. We’ll see what happens out in Seattle and see what the team’s like.”
Marte, 20, was Seattle’s top prospect and is ranked as the No. 18 prospect overall by MLB Pipeline. He batted .270 with an .820 OPS, 15 home runs and 55 RBIs in 84 games with High-A Everett. Arroyo, 18, was the Mariners’ third-ranked prospect and is the No. 93 prospect overall. He was Seattle’s second-round pick in the 2021 Draft and batted .316 with an .899 OPS, 13 homers and 67 RBIs at Single-A Modesto.
Before the trade, Cincinnati was already teeming with shortstop depth that includes prospects Elly De La Cruz (Reds’ No. 3 prospect), Matt McLain (No. 4) and José Barrero.
“We’ve got guys that are premium athletes, potentially middle of the order bats,” Krall said of the new shortstops. “They can hit anywhere in the order. They are guys that we really, really like and we’ll have to figure that out as we move through the levels.”
Stoudt, 24, was ranked as Seattle’s No. 5 prospect and was a third-round pick in the 2019 Draft. He was 6-6 with a 5.28 ERA in 18 starts for Double-A Arkansas.
“We saw him in spring,” Krall said. “He’s a guy we liked potentially as part of the [Jesse] winker-package [in March]. It was great to be able to get him. He’s got a chance to be a Major League starter.”
Moore, who turns 23 next month, was a 14th-round selection in the 2021 Draft. He had a 1.95 ERA in 25 relief appearances for Modesto.
“Explosive, explosive stuff,” Krall said. “Fastball is up to 102 [mph] with a more slider. It’s trying to get him to harness it and be the best pitcher he can be.”
The Reds, who have slashed payroll, have been offloading veterans since the offseason and continued to deal several veteran players during Spring Training. They also traded outfielder Tyler Naquin to the Mets for a pair of Minor Leaguers on Thursday, and more moves are expected before Tuesday’s Deadline.
Even though the moving of Castillo was expected, it was still difficult to say goodbye as the team learned he was going to Seattle after Friday’s game.
“I don’t know if you can ever really be ready for it. We’re going to miss him,” manager David Bell said. “Everybody in the clubhouse and the organization, he has contributed so much. I hope he knows that. I tried to tell him. I tried to thank him for all of his contributions on the field, in the clubhouse and the community. He, just by being exactly who he is, there’s no question he inspired me to be a better person. I think he inspired a lot of people around Cincinnati. Definitely in that room. He couldn’t have done anything more.”