CINCINNATI — The Reds had no shortage of admirers looking to try and acquire rotational ace Luis Castillo as the trade deadline neared 6:00 p.m. ET Tuesday. 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 in the top five of the Seattle organization at the time of the deal.
“We liked the top-end players, also with some depth in the deal. I’d say we had 10 to 15 teams playing at a certain level,” Krall said after the Reds lost 6-2 to the Orioles. “We tried to bring back the best players we could bring back “The best return we could get for Luis and the best we could get. We really like all four players and we think all four players have a chance have to become potential big leagues.”
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 a 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 met in this clubhouse. Great guy, great thrower. family man. It’s just great to have him here as long as we have,” Krall said. “But at the end of the day we had to improve over the long term. We felt that these four players will help us with that.”
In his last start Wednesday against the Marlins, Castillo pitched for seven strong innings and beat the team in the seventh before being sent off to a standing ovation from Reds fans at Great American Ball Park.
“It was a beautiful experience,” Castillo said of translator Jorge Merlos. “The staff, the team, everyone I could kind of connect with. Having my name in the fans mouths and they cheer me on and say things about me is something I will cherish forever. I won’t forget that.”
With Castillo earning $7.35 million in 2022 and set to be a free agent after the 2023 season, the Reds have been rumored to have been moving the right-hander since spring training.
“Of course it’s great to know where I’m going now, but I didn’t want to leave,” Castillo said. “I started a family here. They were the team that gave me the opportunity to play first. We’ll see what happens in Seattle and see how the team is.”
Marte, 20, was Seattle’s top prospect and is ranked #18 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline. He hit .270 with .820 OPS, 15 homers and 55 RBIs in 84 games with High-A Everett. Arroyo, 18, was the Mariners’ third pick and is the No. 93 overall prospect. He was Seattle’s second-round pick in the 2021 draft, batting .316 with .899 OPS, 13 homers and 67 RBIs at Single-A Modesto.
Before the trade, Cincinnati was already teeming with shortstop depth that included prospects Elly De La Cruz (Reds’ No. 3 lookout), Matt McLain (No. 4) and Jose Barrero.
“We have guys who are top-notch athletes, possibly in the middle of the bats,” Krall said of the new shortstops. “They can strike anywhere in the order. They’re guys that we really, really like and we’ll have to figure that out as we progress 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 the spring,” Krall said. “He’s a guy that we might have liked to be part of the team [Jesse] winker package [in March]. It was great to have him. He has a chance to be a major league starter.”
Moore, who turns 23 next month, was a 14th-round pick in the 2021 draft. He had a 1.95 ERA in 25 relief appearances for Modesto.
“Explosive, explosive stuff,” Krall said. “Fastball goes to 102 [mph] with plus slider. It tries to get him to use it and be the best pitcher he can be.
The Reds, who have slashed the payroll, have laid off veterans since the offseason and continued to treat several veteran players during spring training. They also traded outfielder Tyler Naquin to the Mets for a pair of minor leagues on Thursday, and more moves are expected ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
Although Castillo’s move was expected, it was still difficult to say goodbye when the team learned he would be leaving for Seattle after Friday’s game.
“I don’t know if you can ever really be prepared for this. We will miss him,” said manager David Bell. “Everyone in the clubhouse and in the organization, he has contributed so much. I hope he knows that. I tried to tell him. I’ve tried to thank him for all his contributions on the field, in the clubhouse and in the community. He undoubtedly inspired me to become a better person by being exactly who he is. I think he inspired a lot of people in Cincinnati. Definitely in this room. He couldn’t have done more.”