Left-hander Daniel Castano went unclaimed on waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Jacksonville, the team announced Thursday. Castano, who was designated for assignment to open a roster spot for Johnny Cueto, will be in spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Acquired alongside Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen and Magneuris Sierra in the lopsided trade that sent Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis, the now-28-year-old Castano has appeared with the Marlins in each of the past three seasons, pitching to a combined 3.89 ERA over 85 2/3 innings of big league work. However, that ERA has been accompanied by a 12% strikeout rate that ranks as the lowest in MLB dating back to his debut (min. 80 innings pitched).
Castano has strong command, evidenced by a 7.5% walk rate, and he’s avoided hard contact nicely, yielding just an 87.6 mph average exit velocity, a 7% barrel rate and a 35.9% hard-hit rate, per Statcast. Paired with a solid 44.7% ground-ball rate, he’s managed to find some success even in spite of his lack of punchouts — although fielding-independent metrics like FIP (4.86) and SIERA (5.28) feel he’s had his share of good fortune to arrive at that much stronger earned run average.
The addition of Cueto bolstered the Marlins’ rotation depth, although their subsequent trade of Pablo Lopez to the Twins thinned it back out. As such, the Marlins are surely happy to keep Castano in the organization. If he doesn’t earn a spot on the big league roster this spring, he’ll head to Jacksonville and give the club some experienced depth to call on in the event of an injury. While in Triple-A, he can continue to hone the new cutter that he debuted in 2022 — a pitch that emerged as his primary offering this past season. Castano found good success with the pitch in the minors (26.4% strikeout rate), but those new missed bats didn’t carry over to the MLB level for him this past season (12.8% strikeout rate).