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BREAKING: Mariners get their man, acquire RHP Luis Castillo from the Reds

You wanted a big trade? Jerry Dipoto hath delivered

Syndication: The Enquirer
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Oh, you thought it was a sleepy Friday evening, with gosh-darn Justin Verlander slicing up the Mariners? That’s all you expected today?

Well, guess what: With one move, Jerry Dipoto has announced that the Mariners’ contention window includes 2022, and it’s time to win:

Castillo is the gem of the trade deadline pitching class. A 29-year-old righty, he’s been aces this season, with a 3.20 FIP across 14 starts. Our good pal Jake Mailhot recently covered the changes he’s made to his fastball.

As far as the return, indications are that it’s a package of minor leaguers headlined by a couple familiar names:

Moore is a 14th-round pick from 2021 putting up nice numbers in Modesto, albeit as a 23-year-old reliever. Stoudt, meanwhile, was a third-rounder in 2019 who’s been scuffling in AA Arkansas this year (5.28 ERA).

They, of course, are not the names you recognize. Instead, the two big pieces are the two noteworthy prospects the Mariners still possess. Marte entered the year as the #18 prospect per Baseball America (and #11 per MLB Pipeline), but has seen his stock dip amidst a slow start to the season. Arroyo, meanwhile, has been on the opposite trajectory, with his .316/.385/.514 slash line in Modesto turning heads en route to a solid top-100 prospect ranking across the industry.

Of course, neither Arroyo nor Marte fit the Mariners’ current window of contention, which is to say, neither will make the major leagues until at least 2024 (barring a Juan Soto-like climb). Castillo, meanwhile, is under team control for this season and 2023. Don’t be surprised if the Mariners work on an extension with Castillo a la the Blue Jays and José Berríos last season.

There’s no doubt about it, this is a steep price. Even given Marte’s struggles, both he and Arroyo are top-100 type pieces, and could absolutely be future stalwarts of a big-league infield. That said, Castillo is a Major League ace right now. As the saying goes, one ace in the hand is worth two middle infielders in the bush.

For Dipoto & Co., this move means a couple things:

  1. Juan Soto will not be a Mariner. (At least, not until he hits free agency.) (That was a joke.)
  2. The M’s got a lot better without giving up any MLB talent.
  3. The Seattle Mariners are a playoff contender. Full stop.