Seattle Mariners, RHP Luis Castillo agree to 5-year contract

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners have locked up another ace for their pitching staff, agreeing to a five-year contract with right-hander Luis Castillo on Saturday.

Castillo was the big trade deadline acquisition for the Mariners when they acquired him from Cincinnati. The hope was Castillo would be the difference in Seattle’s push to end the longest playoff drought in baseball and that the Mariners could convince him to stick around longer.

They’ve succeeded in locking up Castillo. And Seattle entered Saturday with a three-game lead over Baltimore for the final AL wild card.

Castillo’s contract is reportedly worth $108 million and will begin with the 2023 season, his final season of arbitration eligibility. It runs through 2027 and includes a mutual option for 2028.

The 29-year-old Castillo is 7-6 with a 2.85 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 23 starts between Seattle and Cincinnati. Since joining the Mariners, he is 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA and 64 strikeouts in nine starts.

Castillo was named to the National League All-Star team in July for his second All-Star selection.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.