The Marlins have designated the lefty Daniel Brown for assignment, tweet Daniel Álvarez Montes of El Extra Base (Twitter link). Castaño’s place on the list will go to the right-handed johnny cueto, whose previously reported $8.5MM, one-year contract has now been made official. Cueto was formally presented this morning at LoanDepot Park in Miami.
Castaño, 28, was one of four players the Marlins acquired in the heist he sent Marcel Ozuna to St. Louis, coming to Miami along with alcantara sand, zac gallen (since changed to Jazz Chisholm Jr.) Y Magneuris Sierra. The lefty has appeared in each of the past three seasons with the Marlins, posting a combined 3.89 ERA in 85 2/3 innings of work.
However, that strong ERA has been accompanied by a 12% strikeout rate that ranks as the lowest of any pitcher in baseball since 2020 (min. 80 innings). Castaño has partially made up for that lack of lost bats with a better-than-average 7.5% walk rate, a solid 44.7% ground ball rate and a repeated ability to avoid hard contact; his career exit velocity of 87.6 mph, barrel rate of 7%, hard hit rate of 35.9% (all measured by Statcast) are better than the average MLB pitcher. Still, independent field metrics like FIP (4.86) and SIERA (5.28) are more pessimistic for the lefty than his more rudimentary ERA.
Castaño’s 12.8% major league strikeout rate last season was in line with his career high, but that’s a bit strange to see, given that he also overhauled his pitching mix and experienced a sharp increase in strikeouts. strikeouts at Triple-A. Castaño moved away from his four-seamer and sinker in favor of a clipper that he threw at a strong 41% clip. At Triple-A, the change in his game perhaps contributed to a career-best 26.4% strikeout rate. That wasn’t necessarily in a small sample, either; Castaño’s 34 Triple-A innings were almost an exact match to his 35 2/3 innings in the majors. It stands to reason, then, that even if Castaño doesn’t see his MLB strikeout rate rise to those same heights, perhaps there’s reason to believe there’s more bat-dropping ability in the tank than he’s displayed in the big leagues. for now.
Unfortunately for Castaño, injuries robbed him of the chance to show more of that new-looking cutter down the stretch. Castaño landed on the shelf with a concussion in late July after being hit in the head by a 104-mph line drive, and while working on the back of that terrifying scene, the Marlins discovered a small tear on his shoulder. He didn’t require surgery but he also didn’t pitch again in 2022.
The Marlins will now have a week to trade Castaño or try to trade him off via outright waivers. He’s out of the minor league options, so any team that acquires him will either have to roster him or try to trade Castaño via waivers. That said, he’s a lefty with a starting pedigree and some success in the upper minor leagues, solid command and weak contact rates in the big leagues, and a somewhat intriguing new pitch that he began to lean on last season. . He too can be controlled for five more seasons. It’s certainly feasible that a club in need of pitching could file a claim or make a small trade to acquire Castaño.