The Orioles acquired left-hander Matt Krook from the Yankees today in exchange for cash considerations, according to an announcement from both clubs. Baltimore designated infielder Diego Castillo for assignment in order to make room for Krook on the club’s 40-man roster.
Krook, 29, had been designated for assignment by the Yankees earlier this week in order to make room for infielder Jordan Groshans on the club’s 40-man roster. Krook made his big league debut last year and struggled badly in four innings of work, walking six batters and allowing 11 runs during his brief cameo in the majors. Brutal as that start to Krook’s big league career was, the southpaw was dominant at the Triple-A level for the Yankees last year, pitching to a 1.32 ERA in 27 appearances while striking out a whopping 39% of batters faced.
The 2023 campaign was Krook’s first as a reliever. He had worked primarily out of the rotation in previous seasons and garnered solid results in previous years, including a 3.76 ERA in 215 1/3 innings of work at the Triple-A level from 2021-22. Unfortunately, he also walked a hefty 13% of batters faced over that same time frame, likely prompting his move to the bullpen last season. While Krook has evidently struggled with control throughout his career, there’s no question that the southpaw sports power stuff capable of succeeding in the majors if he can command it successfully.
Krook figures to join the bullpen mix in Baltimore, where Danny Coulombe, Cionel Perez, and Keegan Akin are the club’s southpaws projected to make the Opening Day bullpen as things stand. That leaves Krook likely to join the likes of right-hander Bryan Baker and lefty Nick Vespi as optionable relief depth, though they also figure to receive competition from non-roster invitees this spring such as Andrew Suarez and Nathan Webb.
As for Castillo, the infielder’s time on Baltimore’s 40-man roster comes to an end just two days after he was initially claimed off waivers from the Phillies. The 26-year-old has spent the past two months riding the transactional carousel, having been part of the Diamondbacks, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, and Orioles organizations at various points during that time. Castillo has notched 97 games at the big league level throughout his career and in that time has slashed just .205/.250/.380 across 284 trips to the plate. Despite that weak offensive performance to this point in his career, Castillo has performed well in the minors, with a strong .296/.410/.407 line across three seasons at the Triple-A level.
That sort of on-base and contact ability would make him an attractive bench piece for any club if he can translate it into big league production, particularly given his defensive versatility. Castillo has primarily played second base and shortstop throughout his career, though he’s also seen time at first, third, and both outfield corners. Now that he’s been designated for assignment once again, the Orioles will have seven days to either work out a trade or attempt to pass him through waivers. Castillo has not yet been outrighted in his career and, if passed through waivers successfully, can be retained in the minors as non-roster depth entering the 2024 season.