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Mariners' Updated Starting Rotation, Payroll After Luis Castillo Trade

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 30, 2022

Luis Castillo (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners' rotation received a major boost Friday night when the team announced the acquisition of starting pitcher Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds ahead of Tuesday's 2022 MLB trade deadline.

Seattle sent a heavy package of prospects to Cincinnati—two infielders (Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo) and two right-handed pitchers (Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore)—to secure one of the top players available on the trade market.

The Mariners still rank a modest 22nd in payroll at $109.9 million following the arrival of Castillo, per Spotrac. The two-time All-Star is playing under a one-year, $7.4 million contract and remains under club control for 2023 via arbitration.

Here's a look at the team's updated rotation following the blockbuster deal:

  1. Luis Castillo
  2. Robbie Ray
  3. Logan Gilbert
  4. George Kirby
  5. Chris Flexen or Marco Gonzales

The Mariners didn't necessarily need a high-end starting pitcher leading up to the deadline, but making a splash with the trade for Castillo greatly enhances the team's chances of capturing a wild-card berth in the American League.

While Seattle (54-47) is a long shot to chase down the Houston Astros (66-35) in the AL West given the 12-game deficit, it currently owns the second of three wild-card spots in the league's crowded playoff race.

Just 5.5 games separate seven different clubs in the wild-card race, which is likely why the M's felt the need to bolster their roster.

Mariners manager Scott Servais expressed excitement about the arrival of Castillo and said it was time for the club to swing for the fences.

"He's one of the best pitchers in the game—he's really established himself as a dominant starter," Servais told reporters. "We've got a chance to do something really big here this year. You have to step out and take a chance once in a while if you ultimately want to get the reward, take a little risk."

Castillo is on pace for the best season of his six-year career with a 2.86 ERA and 1.07 WHIP across 14 starts. Those numbers are more impressive when you consider seven of those outings came in the bandbox known as Great American Ball Park.

Going from the Reds' home field, which is tied with the Colorado Rockies' Coors Field as the most hitter-friendly park in MLB, per Baseball Savant, to the league's most pitcher-friendly stadium in the Mariners' T-Mobile Park should help the 29-year-old right-hander maintain or improve upon his terrific numbers.

Looking ahead, if Seattle is able to secure a playoff berth, it should be quite dangerous in the postseason with a rotation of Castillo, Ray, Gilbert and Kirby.

Having shown they're all-in to push toward a World Series title with the deals for Castillo and Carlos Santana, who arrived from the Kansas City Royals in late June, it wouldn't be a surprise to see one more notable deal for a hitter before the deadline.

The M's rank 23rd in runs scored (409) and 15th in team OPS (.704), and even a modest boost to that performance could be enough to make a deep playoff run given the strong starting staff.

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