The Diamondbacks have signed left-hander José Castillo to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league Spring Training, reports Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors. The lefty is repped by the OL Baseball Group.
Castillo, 28 in January, has spent most of his career with the Padres. He had an encouraging debut season for that club back in 2018, making 37 relief appearances as a 22-year-old with a 3.29 earned run average. He struck out 34.7% of batters he faced while giving out walks at just an 8% clip.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to build off that, having been injured for most of the past five years. He was limited to just one big league appearance in 2019 due to a torn ligament in his hand. He missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign due to a lat strain and then Tommy John surgery kept him out of action for all of 2021 and most of 2022.
He started 2023 on the IL due to a shoulder strain and eventually spent most of the season in the minors, making just one big league appearance. He was struggling badly in Triple-A as well, with an ERA of 9.82 in 22 appearances at that level when he was designated for assignment in July. He was then flipped to the Marlins for cash and made 14 more Triple-A appearances with a 5.59 ERA. He was passed through waivers in August and didn’t get his roster spot back by season’s end, leading to him hitting the open market.
For the Diamondbacks, there’s no harm in taking a flier on Castillo to see if he can finally get healthy and in a good groove. Despite their World Series run, pitching was a relative weakness for them in 2023, with a collective 4.48 ERA for the staff. Castillo is now out of options but he has just over four years of service time, meaning he could be retained beyond 2024 via arbitration if he is able to get back to that 2018 form.