Former Mariners top prospect’s suspension makes Luis Castillo trade even bigger win

The MLB Commissioner's office has announced that the centerpiece in the Luis Castillo trade has been suspended 80 games for testing positive for a banned substance.
Noelvi Marte, Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
Noelvi Marte, Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

Perhaps Jerry Dipoto had a crystal ball when he pulled the trigger to acquire ace, Luis Castillo, as the main prospect in the deal, Noelvi Marte, has been suspended 80 games for PED's. Marte was slated to start at third this year, with new Reds free agent signing Jeimer Candelario slated to play first.

The Reds have a plethora of infielders, so they are the big league club that could best absorb a loss in the infield, but it's a loss regardless. Candelario likely goes back to his natural position at the hot corner, while Christian Encarnacion-Strand stands to benefit from this news by locking in more at-bats and playing time than he was projected for with Candelario handling first base.

It makes the trade that the Mariners made back in 2022 and even bigger win for them, back when they got Luis Castillo. Already viewed as a win by many a Mariners fan, it pushed the Mariners contention window open earlier by sending off multiple talented pieces, but getting Castillo in return to anchor the rotation. Remember, that saw immediate returns with his dominant performance in the playoffs against the Toronto Blue Jays.

We don't know how this will play out going forward for Marte, obviously, but it pushes the needle further in the Mariners direction. If Marte doesn't come back the same level of player, tons of questions are going to be put forward about how he got where he did in the first place.

In my previous article, I wrote about the substantial talent the Mariners have in their middle infield. While this is undoubtedly true, their system is be even more stacked in the infield, if they had not traded for Luis and they held onto Edwin Arroyo and Marte. Though Marte slid down the defensive spectrum a bit in the past few years, Marte hit .316 last year in 35 MLB games and looked like an above-average MLB hitter. Currently slated as the #1 Reds' prospect on MLB Pipeline, Marte's suspension is a huge step back for his career, and the punishment will rightfully slow his trajectory as an MLB player.