Dipoto: Mariners seeing ‘best version’ of Castillo, Gilbert looking to find his balance

Aug 19, 2022, 1:48 PM | Updated: 1:53 pm

Mariners Logan Gilbert...

Logan Gilbert pitches against the New York Yankees at T-Mobile Park on August 08, 2022. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

It was made clear at the MLB Trade Deadline that the Mariners will be leaning heavy on their pitching as they aim to end baseball’s longest active playoff drought.

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Seattle, which currently holds the No. 1 Wild Card spot in the American League, shipped off four prospects for All-Star right-hander Luis Castillo. He is now anchoring a starting rotation that includes 2021 AL Cy Young Award Winner Robbie Ray, second-year righty Logan Gilbert, veteran southpaw Marco Gonzales and rookie George Kirby.

As the Mariners head into the final stretch of the 2022 season, the performance of that rotation will be very key to the team’s playoff hopes.

During his weekly chat with Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Mike Salk Show, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto discussed the start of Castillo’s M’s career, as well as the recent performance of Gilbert.

With Castillo, Dipoto said simply that the ace pitcher is “really good” and has actually flown under the radar despite being a two-time All-Star with elite stuff.

“I mentioned when we acquired him that we thought we were acquiring him at the right time. He is right now at the at the pinnacle of what he does,” Dipoto told Mike Salk. “His command, the pitch quality, the consistency and the size of his menu. The pitch menu has grown. He’s added a four-seamer, he’s throwing his slider more frequently and to better locations. We’re seeing the best version of Luis Castillo, and there’s no reason why this can’t continue moving forward. He is super talented, he’s a great guy, and I think he’s just realizing how good he is and can be.”

Castillo’s Mariners tenure started in a notable way as he started at Yankee Stadium and worked into the seventh inning. It was also the second time he’d faced New York in three starts. That performance showed a lot about what kind of player the Mariners got at the deadline.

“The resolve that he showed, particularly after we picked them up in Yankee Stadium, pitching against what was then the best team record-wise in our league, and for the second time in about 10 days or 15 days, it was fairly impressive. And to be able to go do that on your first day on your new job and have all eyes trained on you and realize that there are big expectations – and that is from the fans, it’s from the manager, it’s from the front office, it’s from your teammates – and to go out and deliver. That’s what the big boys do,” Dipoto said. “He delivered and continues to.”

While Castillo has been stellar in three starts for the Mariners, Gilbert, who was the AL Pitcher of the Month in April and looked like he was on his way to the All-Star Game, has struggled since the All-Star Break, posting a 6.59 ERA in five starts while allowing five home runs.

Dipoto mentioned Gilbert had a poor August last year in his rookie campaign before bouncing back with a strong finish to the season.

“I think Logan’s just trying to find his balance. All in all, he’s having a fantastic season,” he said. “Last year, he got off to a slow-ish start and then he found his groove, and then he slumped a bit in August, and then we saw him really turn on the jets in September. And I think that rhythm, he’s trying to find how to balance his workload – the actual innings he’s throwing on the mound – with his practice load, what he’s doing to prepare.”

Dipoto has repeatedly said Gilbert is an incredibly thoughtful pitcher who prepares better than anyone in the game.

“His attentiveness to anything from the opponent he’s facing to the way his body is moving to his conditioning and preparedness to get out on the mound, he does it as diligently and thoroughly as anyone I’ve ever been around. And that’s taxing,” Dipoto said. “I think what we’re seeing is that as you get into the dog days, it takes a little time to get your second wind, and I’m certain that we’ll see it here just like we did turn towards the tail end of the last year.”

To hear the full Jerry Dipoto Show, find the podcast here or in the player below.

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Dipoto: Mariners seeing ‘best version’ of Castillo, Gilbert looking to find his balance