The Marlins have outrighted left-hander José Castillo to Triple-A Jacksonville, per Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. There had been no previous indication that the club had designated him for assignment, but they evidently passed him through waivers in recent days. The club’s 40-man roster count drops to 39.
Castillo, 27, has only been a member of the organization for a short time, having been acquired from the Padres in a cash deal just over two weeks ago. He had a solid major league debut with the Friars back in 2018, tossing 38 1/3 innings while allowing 3.29 earned runs per nine frames. He struck out 34.7% of the batters that came to the plate while walking 8% of them.
Unfortunately, injuries have prevented him from building off that strong first impression. A torn ligament in his hand limited him to just two thirds of an inning in 2019, then a lat strain wiped out his 2020. He then required Tommy John surgery in March of 2021, which kept him on the shelf until last summer, with the Padres mostly keeping him in the minors for the final months of the year. He finished 2022 with a strong 2.91 ERA in 43 Triple-A appearances.
But here in 2023, a left shoulder strain put him on the IL to start the year and he made just one major league appearance in early July, allowing four earned runs in a third of an inning. His work in Triple-A hasn’t been pretty this year either, with a 12.27 ERA in 22 frames at that level between the two organizations.
Those injuries and poor recent results likely helped him slip through waivers unclaimed. He’s also in his final option year, meaning he’ll be out of options for 2024. He has the right to reject this assignment since he has over three years of major league service time. However, he lacks the five years of service necessary to reject it and also retain his salary.
He and the Padres avoided arbitration in the winter by agreeing to a $730K salary for 2023, with about $240K left to be paid out. He would have to leave that money on the table for the right to pursue other opportunities, so perhaps he will stick with the Marlins to provide them with some depth but without using a spot on the 40-man roster. He’ll qualify for minor league free agency at season’s end if he still doesn’t have a roster spot at that time.