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Mets trade for Miguel Castro, an arm the bullpen could use

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 14: Miguel Castro #50 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 14, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. The game was a continuation of a suspended game from August 9, 2020. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 14: Miguel Castro #50 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 14, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. The game was a continuation of a suspended game from August 9, 2020. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
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A last-second deadline move brings in a reliever the New York Mets desperately needed, Miguel Castro.

Just before the 4:00 trade deadline, the New York Mets made some trades. The biggest one they made was with the Orioles. The Mets acquired Miguel Castro in exchange for Kevin Smith and a player to be named later or cash.

This season, the biggest issue for the Mets has been their pitching. Outside of Jacob deGrom and Seth Lugo, the Mets haven’t had anyone be a consistent performer, and it’s alarming. For a team that once had World Series aspirations, they currently are 15-20, fourth place in the National League East. However, due to the new playoff format, the Mets are only two games out of a playoff spot and are very much in the race.

Because of this, some moves had to be made. I think this was a pretty good trade for the Mets. Castro is only 25 years old and is under team control through the 2022 season. He will be in the Mets bullpen now, and for those additional two years. While he isn’t a dominant closer, he’s pitched in the back end of the Orioles bullpen the last couple of years and has been pretty solid in that role.

While the hope is he does not have to be in that role for the Mets, he’s certainly a serviceable middle reliever. Castro is a big guy standing at 6-foot-7.  He’s got three pitches, including a 98 mile per hour sinker which is his best pitch.

So far this season, Castro is 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA. That ERA number is high due to the .378 BABIP, which translates to a lot of bad luck. He’s struck out 24 batters in 15.1 innings pitched, resulting in 13.8 strikeouts per nine. His walk numbers have been down this year as well as he has walked only 2.9 batters per nine, way down from his career 4.6 walks per nine. Castro has great stuff and if he can control it, he can be a very useful arm in a major league bullpen.

After witnessing the mess this bullpen has become this weekend against the Yankees, it’s clear that the ‘pen needs some more depth. This move addresses that for this year and next.

Following the season, the Mets could lose guys like Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances, Chasen Shreve, Brad Brach, Jared Hughes, and others to free agency. By getting Castro they have another arm they know they can pencil into the 2021 bullpen with Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia among others. While he may not be the closer the Mets fans want, he can be a solid arm in the Mets ‘pen.

Now for what they gave up. Kevin Smith was the Minor League Pitcher of the Year in the Mets system last year. While pitching in A+ Port St. Lucie and AA Binghamton, Smith went 8-7 with a 3.15 ERA overall, striking out 130 in 117 innings pitched. The 23-year-old had a great year and earned his way onto the Mets 60-man pool for this season.

While the Mets pitching staff has been decimated by injuries and underwhelming performances, they still didn’t think Smith was good enough to be inserted into the rotation or even the bullpen. He clearly was not ready yet, and the Mets felt like they should get someone who was ready to help now.

Smith was the 12th ranked prospect in a bad Mets system according to MLB.com, and was seen by most as a back end of the rotation arm at best. Overall, this seems like they didn’t give up too much and filled a need.

Going into the deadline, all I wanted was for Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen to not trade any more highly touted prospects. He did not do that. I believe it was a good idea to go after a controllable reliever without giving up much, and I give props to Brodie for finding Castro.

The lone negative to this trade is the Mets traded more of their pitching depth. Due to the injuries and the trades Brodie has already made, the pitching depth is razor-thin. They have had to use guys like Corey Oswalt and Walker Lockett this year and that should never have to happen.

Mets must re-sign Marcus Stroman. Next

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Trading someone who might be a fifth starter for a guy with electric stuff that will at worst be an average bullpen arm seems like a good deal to me. The Mets might find in Castro what they have yet to find with Edwin Diaz. While that is wishful thinking, with his stuff, you can’t completely rule it out. This is a low-risk high reward move that helps the Mets now and in the future. I like it.

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