The Mets have traded Miguel Castro to the Yankees for Joely Rodriguez, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. As noted by MLBTR’s Steve Adams, Rodriguez was signed as a free agent this offseason and thus ineligible to be traded prior to June 15th without his consent. He and his agent gave that consent in exchange for a $500K assignment bonus, which will be paid by the Mets as part of this deal. (Twitter links) Rodriguez is represented by Daniel Szew of LA Sports Management.
For the Mets, they have had an extremely busy offseason, upgrading their lineup with the likes of Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar. They also added Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt to their rotation and Adam Ottavino to their bullpen. However, the one area of the roster they hadn’t really addressed was left-handed relief. With Aaron Loup joining the Angels, the only southpaws on the roster were candidates for the starting rotation. The club gave minor league deals to veterans like Chasen Shreve and Alex Claudio, but they clearly view Rodriguez as a meaningful upgrade, based on the fact that they were willing to give up Castro to get him.
After a couple of seasons with the Phillies in 2016 and 2017, Rodriguez headed overseas for a stint with the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball. After two solid seasons in Japan, Rodriguez was able to come back to North American via a two-year deal from the Rangers. In the shortened 2020 season, he put up an ERA of 2.13 over 12 2/3 innings. Things seemed to be going in the wrong direction last year, as his ERA shot up to 5.93 in July. However, the Yankees seemed to believe that was a small sample blip, as they acquired him as part of the Joey Gallo trade. He fared much better after the swap, with a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings in pinstripes. At the end of the season, the club declined their $3MM option in favor of a $500K buyout, but then quickly re-signed him to a $2MM salary, saving themselves $500K. With this trade and the assignment bonus, Rodriguez has made back that difference.
The Yanks evidently felt they had enough lefties to part with Rodriguez, given the presence Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge, along with closer Aroldis Chapman. For their part, they are receiving Miguel Castro, a right-handed reliever. Despite being just 27 years old, he has appeared in part of seven MLB seasons thus far in his career, spending time with the Blue Jays, Rockies, Orioles and Mets. Those first couple of seasons were a bit shaky, which is not surprising given that Castro was just 20 and 21 years old during that time. However, over the past five seasons, he’s established himself as a quality big league reliever. Since the start of the 2017 season, he’s thrown 321 innings with an ERA of 3.93. His strikeout rate was just 14.6% over 2017-2018, but has jumped up to 25.2% over the past three campaigns. Walks have been a concern, with his annual rate coming in between 10 and 15% in each of the past five seasons. He and the Mets agreed to a $2.62MM salary for this season, his final arbitration year before hitting free agency at the end of this year. He will slot into a bullpen that will be headlined by Chapman, Jonathan Loaisiga, Chad Green and Clay Holmes.