The Pirates have designated infielder Diego Castillo for assignment, per their transactions tracker at MLB.com. The move opens a roster spot for catcher Austin Hedges, whose signing became official today.
Castillo, 25, was one of two players traded from the Yankees to the Pirates as part of the July 2021 trade that sent Clay Holmes to the Bronx. The other, Hoy Park, was designated for assignment in November, going to the Red Sox and then Braves in subsequent trades. That means today’s transaction could potentially wipe the Holmes return from Pittsburgh’s roster just a year and a half later, while Holmes has gone on to establish himself a key part of the Yankee bullpen.
Castillo was a contact-over-power guy for the beginnings of his professional career, striking out around 10% of the time in the lower levels of the minors but rarely putting the ball over the fence. 2021 seemed to be a breakout for him, as he hit 19 home runs between the systems of the Yankees and Pirates, finishing the year with a combined slash line of .278/.355/.487 and a wRC+ of 128.
He was selected to Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster in November of last year but couldn’t carry his positive developments forward. He got into 96 games at the big league level in 2022 and hit 11 home runs, but he also struck out in 26.5% of his plate appearances while walking just 4.9% of the time. He finished the season with a batting line of .206/.251/.382, production that was 27% below average, as evidenced by his 73 wRC+. He also got into 35 Triple-A games but the results were only marginally better. It seems the Bucs saw enough to feel it was time to move on.
They will now have one week to trade him or pass him through waivers. It’s possible that Castillo could garner some interest from other clubs, despite his disappointing season. He’s still young and has a couple of option years remaining. He’s also played all four infield positions and a bit of right field, meaning he could provide clubs with a versatile depth piece even if his bat doesn’t turn around.
How you gonna DFA both players involved in the Clay Holmes deal.
You want to keep him just because he was part of the Holmes deal? When the deal was made Holmes wasn’t what he is now.
they traded hoy park after dfa’ing him a pitcher i think but at least they still have something from that trade
I guarantee you probably hated Holmes when he was with the Pirates because he sucked. Plain and simple he was bad with the Pirates. You can’t get fleeced in a trade just because a guy figured it out. It’s not as if they traded him when he was an all star
The jury is still out on Holmes, though. He was untouchable in the first half of the season—we didn’t even recognize him. But he was his same old self in the second half. Even so, I hope he returns to the stopper he was for the Yanks
They got a pitcher for park at least.
I guarantee you probably hated Holmes when he was with the Pirates because he sucked. Plain and simple he was bad with the Pirates. You can’t get fleeced in a trade just because a guy figured it out. It’s not as if they traded him when he was an all star. Also you are talking about a guy who gave up 15 runs in his last 24 outings last season.
do you often repeat yourself, TKECK?
I bet you’re a joy to be around at parties
Jim Thome is my homie
Holmes should’ve been DFA’d while he played in Pittsburgh. They’re lucky to get the 2 players back, but unfortunately they didn’t pan out.
Yankees fans treat Clay Holmes as the 2nd coming of Mariano Rivera because of what…. one good half of one season? Pirates did what they always do… trade a bullpen piece (useful or not) for prospects, who may or may not help future teams. I’m pretty sure Holmes is the 5th best closer in the AL East, right behind Romano, Jansen, Bautista, and whomever the Rays use on a particular night.
Elite 2 months right after the Pirates traded him. Elite 1st half last year. Been more Rivera than Holmes so far. See how he does this year.
how you ask?
By doing it
That turned out to be a horrible trade for the Pirates.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Oops, the Bucs did it again…
Where have you gone Willie Stargell?
Unfortunately for Willie, Oleander Memorial Gardens in Wilmington. N.C……….
What gave you the first clue?
When Holmes became an all star.
not every prospect works out which is something people need to realize
Not horrible. They traded a guy the didn’t feel they could get reliable control from. Moving on after 3 years was understandable. They got a prospect for Park. Hopefully get another for Castillo. It’s tuff to give up on a elite arm but teams do it all the time and have received less.
Man.. did anyone see this coming when the trade went down originally? Pirates fans thought they won by a wide margin. Safe to say Diego will be claimed quickly. A smooth uppercut power bat for any teams bench
Absolutely not. Out of nowhere.
You ever seen Diego play? This was a long time coming…
He’s been DFA’d. At least one team will want him through a trade. Doubt that he’ll make it to the waiver wire.
it’s feast or fathom with Castillo and can’t hit righties worth a lick of salt
“Feast or fathom”?
He has power against lefties can’t hit righties
He’s strictly a platoon player
I agree Diego could be picked up soon. Only 25 years old. Surprised Pittsburgh has already given up on him but I imagine it’s a roster space issue and they now have more valuable players to protect.
Fans didn’t think anything of the kind, I certainly didn’t
Park was a low tier prospect and Castillo couldn’t hit right handed pitching. He excelled during ST because pitchers throwing to him were themselves low tier players
Not sure if i like this. Duane underwood jr how is he still there
Jim Thome is my homie
He’s gotta be next.
jarlin garcia hasnt been added yet so hopefully
Bucs get fleeced again with their “trade everyone for prospects and throw them against the wall approach”. After acquiring yet another 1B/outfielder earlier this week – I am guessing the new strategy is to field four first basemen, four outfielders and Austin Hedges, and let the other team hit off a tee.
Jim Thome is my homie
So who will be dropped from the 40 man when they sign a backup catcher? There really isn’t much left to DFA.
Underwood Jr, or someone like Mitchell/Mercano?
Underwood I hope
Plenty to dfa. Wilson, Jong, Vilade.
They probably want to keep Mitchell Marcano. Underwood is possible because of arbitration. Though I am sure they still like his potential.
There ya go, Mendoza. Now who gets dfa’d for Garcia?
Looks like Bae will be the middle infield/outfield utility guy that Castillo was last season.
Marcano in the mix, as well.
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BB- I say Underwood and BC has been trying to trade him based on his “potential”.Unlike Castillo Duane has been given chances for three years and has had an up and down career at bestHe May be the type of pitcher who is a late bloomer but the Pirates really do not have many left who are not usable.
Tigers opening day 3B.
That’s the thing with the prospects, meaning they’re just prospects
Just a very strange front office. I’m guessing Castillo is a victim of the middle infielder numbers game but with an obvious competitive spring training on the horizon, it seems odd to give up on the kid while keeping a guy like Underwood on the roster
I understand they’re evaluating their MLB roster as well as minor league roster at this time and reflecting on last season, but he was actually a guy who showed occasional power
@ tired: It does seem like a numbers game, not only because we have Cruz, Castro, Bae and Marcano, but because we have Peguero and Gonzalez and others coming soon. I guess they’d seen enough to start chopping.
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Tired- I thought that Castillo would be the next position player as they seem to be high on Vilade for some reason.His HR % though would have put him at about 25 home runs for a full year.I thought that he had some potential as a utilityman and some team will trade for him and hopefully the Pirates did not make a mistake.
After Underwood unless it is Vilade I do not think that they have much left to dfa.
When he was hitting 5th in the lineup and played second base, he did well, especially against left handed pitching. On hits to the outfield, his season average was .455 .439 .873 1.311. A .455 batting average isn’t too bad. He’s a platoon player.
The Pirates gave up a poor reliever and took a chance on two decent minor leaguers.Remember how good Castillo looked last year in ST? Once major league pitchers got the book on him, he was toast. I thought he was going to be a steal for the Pirates
In the future I still think the Pirates did not give up much. I think Holmes will be hard pressed to continue to be a strong pitcher. He started to revert back to his norm as the season went on.
I thought he had a injury or something.
Not saying that Castillo was gonna be a star, but I much rather would have seen Duane Underwood Jr. Let go.
Every club needs a mop-up guy. That’s the only time I’d trust Underwood. Put him in there in the 4th inning when we’re down 12-1. Somebody has to eat those innings.
Wait a minute. Wasn’t that VanMeter’s role?
I understand that, but definitley one of Zach Thompson/Bryse Wilson/Vince Velasquez (whichever one gets the rotation spot), Yohan Ramirez, or Chase Dejong could be that guy.
You will get to see underwood shine somewhere else like Holmes.
Although the Holmes trade has hit Defcon 1 for the Pirates, nobody could have seen that coming from Holmes. I didn’t have a great feeling about the trade at the tune, because just Watchung Holmes I saw what was probably the best sinker I’ve ever seen with an elite slider but he just couldn’t locate either with Pittsburgb, but I never thought that he’d be that good.
Another team improving a Pirates pitcher, seen that plenty of times.
Castillo should bring back a prospect. He hits lhp and could be a decent utility guy. I’d rather have him than Park and 2 teams wanted Park.
Castillo DFA.. Aside from not hitting righthanders, he also is not good on defense. I think the Pirates need to focus on improving their defense. They’ve already started that. Bae and Triolo should help. At some point, maybe Swaggerty (but he has to hit at least decent).
Biggest defensive upgrade is having actual 1b. Diego isn’t good but much better than Vanmeter Park. Absolute trash.
Guess we lost that trade with the Yankees 🙁
Unfortunately when you trade for prospects teams are only going to give you guys that they are not high on. If they have had them in their system for a few years they are pretty sure who will work out and who will not.
Player development took the loss. Hard to loss a trade when you get 2 prospects for a 5 era reliever. In 3 years you develop a 5 era reliever. In 3 days the Yankees make him one of the best relievers in baseball.
Roster makeup is becoming clearer by the day. Of course, this all gets settled in spring training, but here’s what we have so far: Locks – Hedges, Heineman, Santana, Choi, Castro, Cruz, Hayes, Andujar, Reynolds. Near locks – Suwinski, Joe, Bae, Marcano. That’s 13 position players. If they carry 14, add Mitchell. Now for the pitchers. Locks – Brubaker, Keller, Contreras, Oviedo, Velasquez, Bednar, De Los Santos, Holderman, Stephenson, Garcia. Near Locks – Ortiz, Crowe. That’s 12 pitchers. If they carry 13, we’ve got Wilson, Thompson, De Jong, Underwood, Ramirez, Moreta, and Jose Hernandez (Rule 5 guy) all fighting for that last spot, unless they make some other moves.
Won’t be 14 position players. Service time rules. I expect Ortiz to start season in minors. Won’t be surprised to see Bae join him. Guys with no options even if lesser player will make team over guys who can be optioned to minors. You can’t think about playing the best players. You have to think like the pirates.
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BB- They will carry Wilson and Hernandez if they look good in ST.Stephenson will go down as he has options.Ortiz will pitch in AAA for at least three months.
I think that they will option any pitchers who have options left.I also think that these pitchers have the potential to be fairly good as Oscar Marin seems to at least have a decent idea as to what he is doing.
I do not have confidence in Joe.
Crowe will make it too.
They really have a lot of pitchers but remember that they get hurt a lot too.
Once spring training starts they can put Kranick on the 60 day IL and add Heinaman.
They will carry a 6th starter and I was thinking Ortiz has a good shot at that, although not a lock, but since Wilson has 0 options remaining, and Ortiz has 3 remaining, I will concede that you and Dream may well be correct on that one. Let’s hope spring training sorts it out. Also, I see now that Holderman has 3 options left, so he could lose out to Rule 5-Hernandez. Again, spring training. If versatility is important, Bae and Marcano can play middle infield and outfield, and Andujar and Joe can play corner infield and outfield. Mitchell may beat out one of those guys, if versatility is not a must.
Ortiz will start at AAA. If there’s injuries, they will jerk him around like roansy last year for service time.
Mendoza – after reading an article by Rob Biertempfel in “The Athletic”, we can go ahead and move Joe into the “locks” category. That brings us to 10 locks on the position player side of things. It looks like Suwinski, Bae, Marcano, and Mitchell are fighting it out for the final 3 spots. BC indicated that there may be another trade or signing of a starting pitcher and a position player, but not for sure. BC said he’s got 13 guys that he likes right now, and Rob Biertempfel speculated that maybe one of the surplus outfielders could be involved on a trade in the near future.
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BB-I do not doubt that but when Joe fails BC will look bad if the traded guy becomes a good ML player.
It is getting too complicated for me.He can make all of the minor league signings he wants but I do not think that he has enough information on these players yet.Even Castillo was somewhat of a stretch as he did have decent power and I do not think that he even had any AAA experience before the short time last year.
I think that he is beginning to overthink as no one expects the Pirates to compete this year.I would be more than happy with 75 wins.
It is getting tougher to make the DFA decisions, and Ben admitted that. His comments were also in the Tribune Review. 75 wins would be nice. He wants to bring in a left-handed starter. A good one would cost us either Reynolds, or multiple high-level prospects. I’d hate to have to make that decision.
This is a bad move by the Bucs.
It’s a nothing move.
If the PIrates owner cared, the owner would have fired the entire FO and made the FO revamp talent evaluation and talent development. Embarassing how bad the PIrates lose in trades and can’t develop their own talent. Sucks for Pirates fans who will never see a competitive team.
He did also have a weirdly low BABIP… and it’s not exactly like he’s some lumbering 1B/DH type… He also had a solid EV and hard hit rate which usually indicate decent BABIPs. In fact if his BABIP were around .300 he would have hit .250 — still doesn’t set the world on fire. And one season isn’t enough to see if maybe low BABIP’s would be his norm. But he might be worth a change of scenery UT spot somewhere. At the very least an invite to Spring Traininf.
The trade was lost because the pirates got nothing out of Holmes when they had him and could only turn him into 2 bummy prospects. If he was any good in Pittsburgh, they could have gotten more out of the trade. Castillo hit lefties good though. He was awful against RHP. Wouldn’t be surprised if someone else does something with him actually. My favorite memories will be when Shelton used him to pinch hit against a righty against the marlins and that they tried to make him a RF and he was awful.
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Buc-They did that with Park and I genuinely felt sorry for the guy.He wandered around like our rightfielder in Little League would do.If that was Shelton’s idea he should have been fired on the spot.Just because these guys could catch pop ups does not mean that they are outfielders.It was not right to put a young player in a position of failure and expect him to do something that he has not had sufficient training to do.
Pirates are so bad at management.
I don’t think he will ever be an above average player but some of the peripherals still look decent.
K rate was too high but his swinging strike rate was at 11% which points to about a 23% K rate usually.
His chase rate was a bit too high at 33% but again nothing outrageous.
And his max EV (109), launch angle and barrel rate (9.9%) point to a guy who could hit 25 homers.
So really it is everything just a tad short, an organization with a good hitting development still could turn him into an average player or at least a good backup.
But of course Pittsburgh has more exiting guys coming up and needs to make room for them, time for learning on the job is over soon.
@Domingo – “Pittsburgh has more exciting guys coming up and needs to make room for them”. That’s it, in a nutshell. We can’t keep them all. Tough decisions have to be made.
I actually take this with a grain of salt. On one hand, this first wave of guys didn’t give us a great deal of hope of competing in the near future
On the other, a quick look at FanTrax or Baseball America leads you to believe they almost need a traffic cop. Problem is, with so many guys on the cusp, you’d better make the right decision
Shortstop is a prime example
Cruz is here. Peguero apparently is the better fielder. And Termarr Johnson is already getting reps at 2nd, where guys like Bae and Gonzalez are
It’s sure going to be interesting
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Sad day for Pittsburgh sports fans.