The Marlins have acquired left-handed reliever Jose Castillo from the Padres in exchange for cash, per a team announcement. Castillo, whom the Padres designated for assignment last week, has been optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville. Miami had an opening on its 40-man roster, so a corresponding transaction isn’t necessary.
The 27-year-old Castillo had a strong debut with the Padres back in 2018 but has been clobbered with injuries since that time. His 2019 season ended after just two-thirds of an inning due to a torn ligament in his hand. He missed the shortened 2020 season due to a lat strain and had the bulk of his 2021-22 campaigns wiped out following Tommy John surgery.
Castillo logged a sharp 3.23 ERA in his first 39 big league innings, fanning 35.1% of his opponents against an 8.4% walk rate. However, he’s pitched just two big league innings since the start of the 2019 campaign due to that litany of injuries.
Castillo did return to the mound in the minors last season, notching a tidy 2.59 ERA in 48 1/3 innings between Class-A and Triple-A. However, he’s been rocked for a 9.82 ERA in 18 1/3 Triple-A frames so far in 2023 and surrendered four runs in just one-third of an inning in his lone MLB appearance this year.
This is Castillo’s final minor league option season, so he’ll need to establish himself as a viable big league bullpen option before season’s end or else be at risk of being subtracted from the 40-man roster this offseason. He’s already over three years of Major League service time — most of it spent on the injured list — so he’ll be arbitration-eligible this winter and would be a clear non-tender candidate if he can’t take a step forward in his new organization. And, because he has more than three years of service, he’d become a free agent at season’s end if he’s outrighted before that time.