Revisiting the Blockbuster Luis Castillo Trade Now

It has been nearly two years since the Cincinnati Reds traded Luis Castillo to the Seattle Mariners. Who has won the trade so far?

Luis Castillo and Cal Raleigh
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 04: Luis Castillo #58 and Cal Raleigh #29 of the Seattle Mariners react against the Los Angeles Angels during the fifth inning at T-Mobile Park on April 04, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

We are approaching the two-year mark of the blockbuster trade between the Mariners and Reds that sent All-Star Luis Castillo to Seattle to be the ace of their already promising rotation and ultimately help end the 21-year playoff drought.

The Mariners sent back top prospects Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo to headline the deal, along with pitching prospects Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore.

Castillo has been as advertised for the Mariners. He has made every start, finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting in 2023, racked up his third All-Star Game nod, and threw just shy of 200 innings a season ago. These are just a few of the reasons that the Mariners inked Castillo to the five-year, $108 million extension just a few weeks after acquiring him in 2022.

But how does the trade look as a whole right now? With Marte just returning from his 80-game suspension due to PED use, let’s break it down.

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Noelvi Marte

The headline of the return for Castillo, Marte has already had tumultuous points in Cincinnati. Striking out less than 20% of the time and walking over 10% of the time while steering his way through the Reds farm system was certainly a positive, in addition to the 120 WRC+ he posted in 35 big league games for the Reds during 2023.

But getting suspended for PED’s this past March certainly sent him a few steps backwards. Marte just returned from his suspension this week and is still only 22 years old with the potential to be a star third baseman with 30 home run power. But he will have to get himself back on the right track after missing nearly half a season’s worth of at-bats.

Marte played just shy of 90 games above A-ball before getting the call to the big leagues at age 21. And it is still undetermined what his long-term position will be as he has never been a plus defender (likely third base or left field). But if continues to swing the bat and finds a few more consistent Barrels, the Reds will have themselves a true middle-of-the-order threat.

Edwin Arroyo

Arroyo has certainly lost significant prospect status since the time of the trade. When he was dealt to Cincinnati, some believed he had become the best prospect in the Mariners system.

Fast forward to now and he is off nearly all Top 100 lists, hit just .249 with a .749 OPS in High-A in 2023 and will not play a game this season due to a torn labrum in his shoulder.

A switch-hitter with power paired with the true ability to play shortstop, Arroyo has all of the tools of a big league star. He displayed that in Low-A Modesto when he produced a .900 OPS with 13 bombs in 87 games. But as a result of a disappointing 2023 and an injured 2024, Arroyo is still a ways off from the big leagues and may not reach his ceiling as a player at this rate. 2025 will be very telling.

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Levi Stoudt

Entering 2022, Stoudt had started to gain some real juice as a prospect, even if his ceiling wasn’t a frontline starter. In 2021 he posted a 3.52 ERA in High-A Everett before making three starts in Double-A Arkansas at the end of the year in which he posted a 2.53 ERA. He also had some intriguing stuff with a solid mid-90’s fastball and three secondaries.

While his 2022 campaign wasn’t pretty prior to the trade with a 5.28 ERA in Double-A, the Reds liked what they saw. And Stoudt got off to a fast start in the Reds organization as they started him in Triple-A Louisville to end ‘22 where he threw up a 3.32 ERA across six starts.

But things went awry the next year. Stoudt eventually made a stint in the big leagues, but gave up 11 earned runs in 10.1 innings of work. His time there was short-lived.

He wasn’t much better in Triple-A that year either, as he finished with a 6.23 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in 25 appearances (19 of them were starts). His command really took a nosedive, walking 50 batters in 82.1 innings (a BB/9 of nearly seven).

He is now no longer with the Reds. The Mariners claimed Stoudt to bring him back into the fold once Cincinnati DFA’d him. But Stoudt ran into similar issues in Tacoma this year with the Mariners, getting hit hard and struggling to find command. He held a 6.92 ERA, a 1.73 WHIP and 5.2 BB/9.

The Mariners also DFA’d Stoudt, and he is now in the Orioles organization where he currently resides in Double-A Bowie.

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Andrew Moore

Strictly a relief pitcher, Moore’s start to his tenure with the Reds is a forgetful one. He got blown up to end 2022 in his 9.1 innings in Low-A Daytona with a 12.50 ERA.

He was placed in High-A Dayton to begin 2023, but finished the year with just 10 appearances in 14.2 innings due to missing nearly four months of the year. He also mixed in four scoreless innings in the Arizona Complex League while rehabbing and 7.1 innings after the season in the Arizona Fall League. His ERA for the year in Dayton sat at 4.34 in the limited sample size.

2024 has been smoother sailing for Moore. His 1.38 ERA in Dayton after seven outings earned him a promotion to Double-A Chattanooga, where he has remained for the majority of the year. He, like Stoudt, will have to throw more strikes with his WHIP sitting at 1.71 in just over 18 innings. But his ERA with the Lookouts sits at 3.86.

Closing Thoughts

The Mariners likely do not regret making this deal for one second. Castillo has been a frontline starter and at times a true ace, fits in with the roster perfectly, is very well liked, makes every turn through the rotation and agreed to pitch what will be the majority of the remainder of his career in the Pacific Northwest.

He hasn’t quite been at true ace level in 2024, but he still possesses a 3.79 ERA and is on pace for a three fWAR season. Plus there is still the very real chance he has a better second half than first half. He continuously pitches better as the weather warms up.

For the Reds, they are banking on Marte turning into one of the franchise’s cornerstones along with Elly De La Cruz and will have to hope that Arroyo finds his 2022 form once he returns next season.

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If both of those things happen, the trade will be a win-win for both sides. But from where things currently stand, the Mariners appear to be winning this trade by a large margin.