How Mariners’ trade for Castillo better sets them up for playoff success

Jul 30, 2022, 4:14 PM | Updated: Jul 31, 2022, 5:28 pm

Mariners Luis Castillo...

Luis Castillo throws against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 31, 2022. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Mariners pulled off a major move on Friday night, acquiring two-time All-Star pitcher Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds.

Mariners trade huge prospect haul for All-Star Luis Castillo

During the Mariners Postgame Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM, former M’s hurler Ryan Rowland-Smith reacted to the big news, and he made it clear he was very surprised.

Rowland-Smith told Gary Hill he thought the Mariners would be acquiring more of a depth addition for the rotation rather than a frontline starter like Castillo. Because of the level of pitcher the 29-year-old right-hander is, it naturally cost the Mariners a lot, with top shortstop prospects Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo headline the return for Cincinnati along with right-handed prospects Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore.

That the Mariners, who are aiming to make the postseason for the first time since 2001, were able to get the deal done with so many teams interested in Castillo is notable, Rowland-Smith said Friday night.

“With so much competition right now, with so many more teams in the Wild Card race, the fact that the Mariners beat out some of these other teams – which is so tough to do when you look at some of these farm systems around – it’s a great sign,” he said. “And you can look and say, ‘Well, what did they give up?’ We never know what prospects are going to be … You just don’t know.”

Rowland-Smith has heard that losing Arroyo was the biggest blow for the Mariners as he’s had a monster 2022 season after being drafted in the second round in 2022, but “that’s what it takes.”

“It’s an exciting time if you’re a Mariners fan,” he said. “Because as shocking as it is for the guys they gave up, it’s basically a signal to say, ‘Look, it’s go time right now. This drought is going to be over because we’re making moves like this.'”

A closer look: What M’s are getting in All-Star RHP Luis Castillo

Rowland-Smith noted that the Mariners’ recent hot spell has been largely because the rotation has been so good. That’s allowed the team to stay in games and given the offense a chance to do enough to help them win.

“And obviously with Luis Castillo, that’s exactly what you do,” he said.

Castillo also changes the perception of the Mariners for the rest of the season and into a potential playoff berth.

“I think the conversation has gone from, ‘We really want to make the playoffs. Of course we do.’ But what do you do when you get to that round one? How do you stack up? We always look at that, who’s pitching against who? It always comes down to that. Now all of a sudden, you’ve got some names that (are pretty notable),” Rowland-Smith said, later adding, “It is just locked and loaded as far as getting to round one and to get beyond those first initial stages of the playoffs. So it’s super exciting. And again, I can’t say enough that I wasn’t banking on this … You have to make some moves, you have to add not just for August and September, but for those first couple initial rounds of the playoffs.”

Drayer: ‘Big time’ addition of Castillo answers key questions for Mariners

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How Mariners’ trade for Castillo better sets them up for playoff success