Mariners bring back Luis Castillo trade piece after Reds DFA

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The Seattle Mariners did something they do dozens of times per year, make a waiver claim on a pitcher. The reason that this one pitcher stands out in particular for the Mariners is because not so long ago this pitcher was a top ten prospect for them. The pitcher is Levi Stoudt and he was part of the Mariners blockbuster trade in the summer of 2022 that sent ace Luis Castillo to Seattle. After just 19 months the righty is back in Seattle after a disappointing MLB debut.

In 2022 when Stoudt was dealt midseason from the Mariners Double-A Affiliate the Arkansas Travelers, he made just one more start at Double-A for the Reds before being promoted to Triple-A. In his six starts there he pitched 19 innings and had a 3.32 ERA. In 2023 things did not go well for the right-hander. He had an ERA of over six in Triple-A in 82.1 innings.

Stoudt actually made his Major League debut in April last season and gave up seven runs in four innings and was sent back down after that. His four appearances were scattered across different stints with the Reds and was sent down to the minors in between them. His numbers with the Reds were not particularly good either. He had an ERA of nearly ten in just ten innings pitched in two short starts and two long relief appearances.

So since Stoudt has struggled so much since the Mariners traded him, why should they want him back and is there any reason to be excited? There is reason for optimism here because they are the organization that drafted him in the third round back in 2019 and knows him the best of any team in baseball. They know his personality and how his stuff was before trading him and could have a plan to make an adjustment to get him back to his top prospect form.

Since Stoudt has been switching back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation it is more likely that he contributes to the big league team as a reliever. He may start the season in Triple-A Tacoma and be a starter so that they have someone stretched out, but he likely fills a role similar to Darren McCaughan.

I am excited to get Stoudt back in the Mariners organization. He has certainly lost some of the shine that was on him when he was traded in a package for Luis Castillo, but he still has potential and I trust the Mariners pitching development and believe that if Stoudt can be a middle reliever who is solid in the big leagues that the Mariners can get that out of him.

On the flip side of this transaction is Canaan Smith-Njigba who was waived to clear a 40 man roster spot for Stoudt. He is the brother of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. He has not had success at the big league level in 32 career at bats for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he has had some success in the minors and had a .280/.366/.473 slash line in 445 plate appearances last year in Triple-A.

During his short time as a member of the Mariners 40 man roster, there was a clip of Smith-Njigba hitting at Driveline that made the rounds on social media that got M's fans buzzing.

He seems like he has some promise, so hopefully he clears waivers and can stick around with the organization to see if he turns into a contributor. It would be fun to have him in the organization with his brother being on the Seahawks.