SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners quickly found a replacement for the back end of their bullpen, acquiring right-hander Diego Castillo from the Tampa Bay Rays for reliever JT Chargois and a minor league infielder on Thursday.
Castillo will likely jump into the closer role that was vacated when the Mariners traded Kendall Graveman to the Houston Astros earlier in the week. But unlike Graveman, who will be a free agent after the season, the Mariners gain a significant amount of control for the future with the acquisition of Castillo.
“I’ve said all along that we were focused on doing what we could to improve our team now and to continue to improve our team for 2022 and beyond. We feel like we’ve accomplished that,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “I can’t tell you that we will make another deal between now and the deadline but we’re not intentionally done. If we’re done it’s just because we weren’t able to get anything across, but we do have other things going.”
Castillo, 27, has 14 saves in 37 appearances and a 2.72 ERA this season for the Rays. He had a 1.66 ERA in 21 appearances during the shortened 2020 season for Tampa Bay. Castillo also appeared in 10 postseason games last year for Tampa Bay and allowed two earned runs in 11 innings.
More important for Seattle, Castillo will be under club control through 2024. It’s not a flashy move in the short term that will help Seattle compete with Oakland and the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card race. But it’s one that should make Seattle better in the future.
“We’re not going to empty the coffer to try to keep up with what others are doing on trade deadline day,” Dipoto said. “We’re one of the youngest teams in the league. The fact that we’re here has surprised many. We don’t want to forsake the fact that our players did a wonderful job in getting us here and deserve our help. Hopefully they view this as that.”
Chargois, 30, has been a solid addition to Seattle’s bullpen this season, making 31 appearances with a 3.00 ERA after not pitching in 2020. He’s primarily been a bridge option, pitching mostly in the sixth and seventh innings. Chargois had gone eight straight appearances without giving up an earned run before getting tagged for three runs by the Astros on Wednesday.
Also going to Tampa Bay is 23-year-old minor league infielder Austin Shenton. Shenton was a fifth-round pick by Seattle in 2019. He appeared in 67 games between High-A Everett and Double-A Arkansas this season, hitting .300 with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 61 RBIs.