castillo
Photo: MLB

#63

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Diego Castillo

Diego Castillo

Height: 6'3"    Weight: 250

Bats/Throws: Right / Right

Born: 01/18/1994 in Cabrera, Dominican Republic

Nickname: Big Diesel

Acquired: In trade from the Tampa Bay Rays, for J.T. Chargois and Austin Shenton (07/29/2021)

MLB Debut: 06/06/2018

Free Agent after: 2024 season

Fans were not pleased when Kendall Graveman was traded to Houston prior to this year's trade deadline, but a couple of days later general manager Jerry Dipoto swung another deal to fill the closer vacancy, landing Castillo from the Tampa Bay Rays. Castillo's Mariner tenure didn't begin well—he surrendered a walkoff home run to blow his first save opportunity—but expectations are that the Dominican righty will anchor the bullpen for the next few years. In his three-plus-year big-league career, Castillo has produced well; his career ERA of just above 3.00 has improved each of the past two years, and in 2021 he's posted a sub-1.000 WHIP and a career-best 4.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

We'll have to wait and see if the balance of his ’21 season matches what he did with the Rays, but on paper, anyway, his was a good acquisition, giving the Mariners a late-inning reliever with three years of club control before free agency. Castillo himself is still coming to terms with his new normal, though. “I was actually a little sad when I heard the news,” he said. “I never thought that I’d actually get traded. It’s sad just because [Tampa Bay] is the first team that gave me an opportunity. [But] now it’s time to be here and move on forward with [the Mariners] and the new opportunities I have with them.”

Castillo brings something else to the M's as well: postseason experience. "He's been in the hottest fire there is," said Dipoto of Castillo, who as a member of the Rays made it all the way to the World Series in last year's funky mini-season. Dipoto is looking forward to a 2022 bullpen that relies on Castillo, veteran closer Ken Giles (who is missing this season recovering from Tommy John surgery), Andres Muñoz (one of last year's trade-deadline pickups, also missing this season due to TJ surgery), and a couple of holdovers from this year's relief corps.

TH, 8/3/21