The Seattle Mariners have reportedly signed RHP Luis Castillo to a five-year, $108 million extension that includes a multi-faceted vesting option for a sixth season including potential earnings of up to $133 million, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN. The deal begins in the 2023 season and also features a no-trade clause for the first three years, per Daniel Kramer of MLB. The deal also includes a sixth with both player and club options. Additionally, Passan reports, the deal features an alternative vesting team option wherein if Castillo receives UCL repair surgery (Tommy John) in the final three years of the contract, from 2025 through 2027, the M’s will acquire a $5 million team option for the 2028 season.
With Castillo in the fold, the M’s now have a full rotation of high-ceiling starters locked in for years to come, as the longtime former Cincinnati Reds ace will be in Northwest Green for the majority of his early 30s. According to Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto, “bringing him [Castillo] to Seattle represented a key moment in our ongoing efforts to build a championship roster. Similarly, this deal illustrates our continued commitment to both the present and future of this team.”
This marks the second long-term deal handed out by Mariners ownership this season, and a serious commitment towards bringing championship baseball to the city of Seattle. The Mariners went in heavily on Castillo at the trade deadline, offering up a package of prospects built around their top prospect, slugger Noelvi Marte, sweetened with a young up-and-coming star in SS Edwin Arroyo, a package other teams were unable or unwilling to match. With this financial commitment, the Mariners have ensured that they didn’t trade away a significant part of the future for only a year and a half of Castillo, who has so far racked up a franchise record 64 strikeouts in his first nine games as a Mariner, and set a franchise record for opening a game with seven consecutive strikeouts.
The Mariners rotation now features two top-line starters in Castillo and Robbie Ray, as well as young building blocks Logan Gilbert and George Kirby. That’s a rotation that theoretically should be able to compete with not just the top dogs of the AL West—the Astros and their constant barrage of excellent pitching, a surging Rangers team that will be adding pitching both in free agency and from their well-stocked farm, including the former 1-2 punch of Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker—but the best teams in baseball, especially if the Mariners can continue to churn out stellar bullpen arms. There’s work to do with the lineup yet, for sure, but this season the Mariners have made the financial commitment we, as fans, asked them to, locking up a pair of All-Stars for the long-term on both sides of the ball. At a time when this Mariners team has been flagging, it’s a much-needed shot in the arm for fans and, one would hope, players alike.