NEW YORK – The hints of red highlights in his shoulder-length dreadlocks were still visible, signifying his former team. But if you look closely, there were also a few teal green highlights in at the ends of more than a few strands that matched the workout shirt that he was wearing of his new team, the Seattle Mariners.
Acquired by the Mariners from the Reds in a trade on Friday evening for four minor league prospects, Luis Castillo met his team in New York on Sunday even after taking care of some personal details with his family.
“I feel like the team has welcomed me well,” Castillo said through interpreter Freddie Llanos. “I’m very excited and excited to be here.”
Castillo leaves a Reds team that came into Monday with a 40-61 record and in the early stages of a full rebuild, which included trading his Cincinnati teammates Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to the Mariners during spring training. He joins a team with a 55-48 record that holds the second wild card spot and is making a push to play in the postseason for the first time since 2001.
“It feels good,” he said. “You’re coming to a team that is so close to getting into the postseason. So the only thing left is just continue doing what the team has been doing and working hard. And I’m sure we’ll get there.”
Castillo was added to the active roster on Monday afternoon and threw a bullpen session at Yankee Stadium with several interested teammates watching him work.
“I’m anxious to see him get on pitch,” manager Scott Servais said. “I know he threw a bullpen today and guys were very excited about what they saw there as they should be. So (he’s) got elite stuff and I get a chance to know him a little bit but he’ll be ready to go on Wednesday.”
It will be a fantastic pitching matchup for that afternoon game in the series finale with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole getting the start for New York.
The Yankees were also pursuing a trade for him with the Reds, but the Mariners offered a prospect package of infielders Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyos, the organizations top two prospects per Baseball America, and right-handed pitchers Andrew Moore and Levi Stoudt.
“It was the Yankees and other teams, a lot of more teams,” Castillo said. “They were definitely very interested in me.”
After failing to get Castillo, the Yankees pivoted on Monday, acquiring right-handed starting pitcher Frankie Montas and right-handed reliever Lou Trivino from the Oakland A’s in exchange for four players. If Castillo was considered the No. 1 starting pitcher available the trade market, then Montas was 1A.
Castillo, 29, dealt with shoulder fatigue early in the season and has made 14 starts, posting a 4-4 record with a 2.86 ERA. In 85 innings, he’s struck out 90 batters with 28 walks. Opposing hitters have a .201/.274/.318 slash line against him.
In his last five outings, he’s posted a 2-0 record with a 1.59 ERA, allowing just six earned runs in 34 innings pitched with 10 walks and 41 strikeouts. That included a start at Yankee Stadium where he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and allowed one run on two hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.
“I’m just going to continue with my same routine,” he said. “Just make sure this team gets the best from me.”
And the hair?
“The red is still there, if I have to change it, I will change it,” he said. “I like to add different colors to it to add a little personality.”
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