ESPN’s Passan: Mariners had good, not great deadline; set to ‘really take off’ in ’23
The 2022 MLB trade deadline has officially passed, with the Mariners acquiring two-time All-Star pitcher Luis Castillo and some depth pieces in backup catcher Curt Casali, infielder Jake Lamb and left-handed pitcher Matthew Boyd.
Was it enough?
Mariners Trade Deadline Breakdown: Did they do enough?
ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who was the first to report last Friday that the Mariners were acquiring Castillo, joined The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM on Wednesday to discuss Seattle’s trade deadline and answer that question.
“I thought the Mariners had a good, not great deadline. And good is OK because I think the great deadlines this time, honestly, they were the sellers, frankly, and the Padres,” Passan told Salk.
The sellers, such as the Cincinnati Reds who shipped Castillo to Seattle, received a lot of prospect capital in return, while the San Diego Padres acquired superstar Juan Soto and slugging first baseman Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals, as well as star reliever Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Prices were really high. That’s why a number of guys who I expected to move didn’t move,” Passan said.
When it comes to Castillo, did the Mariners give up too much with a package that included two of their top three prospects according to MLB Pipeline?
“I don’t know if there was a higher price paid for a player than what the Mariners paid for Luis Castillo, but again, that’s OK. Because ultimately, the Mariners have a goal, a mandate, a vision, and that is to get into the playoffs (this year),” Passan said. “I’ve seen far too many teams not actually go for it, just sort of do this half-measure type (approach). But no, the Mariners don’t do half-measures. They were fully in on getting to the playoffs this season and setting themselves up really nice for next year, too. That’s why they were willing to give up Edwin Arroyo, Noelvi Marte, Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore, because that is what they need to do right now, they believe, to take this next step.”
Passan said it was clear that the Mariners were going to go out and acquire a frontline starter, whether it was Castillo or someone else.
“If it wasn’t Castillo, it might have been Frankie Montas,” Passan said of the right-hander who went from Oakland to the Yankees after the M’s took Castillo off the market. “If it wasn’t Montas, maybe they would have overpaid on (San Francisco’s) Carlos Rodon. The mandate was get a starter, and not just any starter but a real dude.”
And the Mariners got a “real dude” in Castillo, who is signed through the end of 2023. That’s a big key in all this, Passan said.
“The Mariners are very good at looking at now and the future,” he said. “And their now, it’s imperative, but their future I think is brighter, because I think next year when they have that rotation – the same one that they’re gonna be trotting out in the playoffs this year – they’re also gonna have a better offense. There’s also going to be at least one other impact player there, whether it’s via free agency or trade.”
The Mariners are on a playoff trajectory, and Passan expects them to get there this year. He also thinks Seattle could really make some noise next season thanks in large part to the trade for Castillo.
“It just feels like if ’22 was the year that the Mariners grew up, ’23 is going to be the year that they really take off,” he said.
How good is Castillo?
The 29-year-old Castillo is a two-time All-Star, but just how good is he compared to some of baseball’s best starting pitchers?
“When Luis Castillo is at his best, he is a No. 1 starter,” Passan said. “That’s the stuff, right? He’s got true ace stuff and he can go deep into games. He throws hard, his changeup is gross, good breaking ball, too. And listen, I don’t throw around the No. 1 label lightly. That’s not something I call players because there are so few of them. But most of the time he’s a solid No. 2, and calling somebody a solid No. 2 pitcher is a huge compliment because there just aren’t that many out there.”
“If every (starting pitcher) is throwing his best game, Castillo’s stuff, just like the pure stuff and the command, the whole package is like a back-end top-10 guy,” Passan added. “It’s pretty good.”
Castillo’s addition to the Mariners’ rotation for 2022 and 2023 makes it very formidable as he joins top starters Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert.
“You look at this rotation for the next two years and you add (George) Kirby in there – and I don’t know if it’s Marco Gonzales or if it’s Chris Flexen or whoever – the arms that the Mariners have gotten are pretty nasty,” Passan said.
Listen to the full interview with Passan at this link or in the player below.
Mariners’ Servais: Good news on France, Julio; reaction to Castillo trade