Latest Reds injury proves why trading prospects (for Luis Castillo) is always worth it

The Mariners got a stellar pitching ace out of the deal but Cincinnati's end of the bargain hasn't been quite as rewarding from the Luis Castillo trade

Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners
Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

In July of 2022, the Mariners made a big splash before the trade deadline by acquiring Luis Castillo in exchange for a handful of prospects from the Reds. Over the 262 ⅓ innings he's pitched for Seattle thus far, he's posted a 3.29 ERA with 296 strikeouts and even placed fifth in AL Cy Young voting in 2023. He signed a five-year, $108 million extension in September of 2022 and will be around for quite a while. On the other side of the deal, Cincinnati received four prospects: Andrew Moore, Levi Stoudt, Noelvi Marte, and Edwin Arroyo. How have they fared thus far?

Andrew Moore pitched to a 4.34 ERA over a total of 18 ⅔ innings in 2023, splitting time between rookie ball and High A. He's only 23 years old but he's definitely got a bit to go before making his call-up.

The injury to Michael Arroyo proves why trading prospects for a proven commodity is a risky move... for the team receiving the prospects

Levi Stoudt actually made his major league debut last year but it didn't go very well, posting a 9.58 ERA over 10 ⅓ innings. The majority of his year was spent in Triple-A but with a 6.23 ERA over 19 starts and 82 ⅓ total innings, he probably didn't pan out the way that Cincinnati would have hoped, which is why they designated him for assignment and allowed him to be picked up by Seattle.

After 123 plate appearances in the majors, Noelvi Marte hit for a .822 OPS and 120 OPS+ and looked fully deserving of the top spot in the Reds' farm system. Unfortunately, he tested positive for a banned substance in March 2024 and received an 80-game suspension.

The team's final hope, Edwin Arroyo, became the Reds' #3 ranked prospect, and received season-ending shoulder surgery on March 21st to repair a torn labrum. This injury was sustained during spring training after trying to avoid a pickoff attempt.

All in all, the Reds got a relief pitcher with lots of work to do, a pitcher that ended up back with Seattle, a PED user, and one less season of a top shortstop prospect. While Luis Castillo is leading one of the best rotations in baseball, Cincinnati is more or less in the same place they were before trading him. This illustrates the age-old saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Castillo was a proven starter that had delivered past results. Four well-respected prospects is a hefty price but with every prospect comes risk.

A great example of this is Jarred Kelenic who was ranked the #4 MLB prospect as recently as 2021, one spot ahead of Julio Rodriguez. Any team would've considered them lucky to have someone like Kelenic but after three seasons in the major leagues, they likely would've been left disappointed. That being said, the return package is also an important thing to consider when discussing trades.

Was Seattle lucky to receive an excellent starting pitcher that has (at least thus far) been as advertised? 100%, and there have been cases where trading prospects to acquire a proven major-leaguer have also backfired. Ultimately, the chaos of baseball reared its ugly head and just so happened to pick on the poor Cincinnati Reds this time around.