ARLINGTON, Texas – After sending closer Kendall Graveman to the Astros, in a largely unpopular trade among the team and most of the fan base, the Mariners, specifically general manager Jerry Dipoto, turned to a familiar dance partner, the Tampa Bay Rays, to acquire a new closer, Diego Castillo.
In yet another trade with Tampa, Dipoto found a suitable replacement for Graveman this season, acquiring hard-throwing right-hander Castillo in exchange for right-handed reliever J.T. Chargois and third base prospect Austin Shenton.
“Diego has been among the league’s better relievers since coming on the scene in 2018,” Dipoto said in a statement. “We believe this move adds impact to our pen, both now and in the years ahead.”
Castillo, 27, has converted 14 saves in 16 opportunities this year as Tampa Bay’s primary closer. Beginning June 23, he has tallied 10 consecutive scoreless outings, spanning nine innings pitched, while issuing one walk, striking out 11 and holding opponents to a .069 batting average. The last run he allowed came against the Mariners on June 20 at T-Mobile Park.
So why would the Rays trade Castillo?
While he does have three more years of club control, they are all arbitration years, meaning his salary will increase over the next three seasons.
MLB sources said the Rays had grown frustrated with Castillo’s conditioning and offseason work habits. They think weight gain over the past two seasons have made him less effective and less reliable, believing he has trouble bouncing back after outings.
Chargois, 30, has made 31 relief appearances for the Mariners this season. He went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA (10 ER, 30.0 IP) with 23 hits allowed, six walks and 29 strikeouts. Chargois recorded a 0.967 WHIP and held opponents to a .217 batting average. He was signed as a free agent this offseason on a minor league contract and will be a free agent after this season. He didn’t make the Mariners opening day roster coming out of spring training but has been excellent since being called up.
Shenton, 23, is a Bellingham native whom the Mariners took in the fifth round of the 2019 draft out of Florida International. He has appeared in 67 games between High-A Everett (57 G) and Double-A Arkansas (10 G) this season, batting .300 with 61 runs, 29 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs, 61 RBI, 45 walks and 72 strikeouts.