Seattle Mariners Acquire Welington Castro: Breaking Down the Trade

The Seattle Mariners made a move bolster their offense and production at the catcher position, bringing in veteran backstop Welington Castro from the Chicago Cubs. The M’s traded reliever Yoervis Medina to Chicago in return.

On the surface the move seems reasonable. The M’s could use reinforcements behind the plate thanks to the offensive struggles of Mike Zunino (.179 batting average) and Jesus Sucre (.067).

For his part, Castro will provide an upgrade over Sucre, and is at worst a time-share option with Zunino.

The now former Cub’s best seasons came in 2012 and 2013 when he hit .271 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI over 165 games. That’s all fine and well until you consider his stat line since: 134 games, 15 home runs, 51 RBI, 114 strikeouts and a .229 batting average (including a .163 mark this season). Castro had a WAR of 4.5 in 2013, but has been worth a -0.1 WAR this year.

Even if Castro doesn’t return to his 2012/2013 form, production somewhere between that and his struggles this season should provide the M’s with an upgrade at catcher. The price paid to bring in that potential upgrade was… interesting.

Yoervis Medina, owner of a sparkling 2.82 ERA over 137 innings pitched, was moved to the Windy City in the transaction. Granted the reliever hasn’t been himself this year with lower strikeout rates, an increasing walk rate and more hits allowed per nine innings. Additionally, his WHIP and FIP are both up from last season. Basically Medina’s numbers have gone up in all the places you’d like them to go down and down in all the places you’d like them to go up.

Still, Medina has a 3.00 ERA this season in the big leagues and a 1.59 number with Triple-A Tacoma. It would be a different story if the M’s bullpen was the well-oiled machine that it was in years past, but this year it simply hasn’t been as stellar.

Carson Smith and Charlie Furbush have both put up numbers reminiscent of past year’s bullpens, but after that there are question marks. Fernando Rodney remains the team’s closer, but is sporting an ugly 5.65 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched. He has nine saves. Danny Farquhar isn’t far behind with a 4.74 ERA. Other ERA eyesores include Tyler Olson and Dominic Leone (5.40 ERA each). Tom Wilhelmsen, Joe Beimel and Mark Lowe all have ERAs under three, but have collectively thrown 14 innings.

Despite Medina’s dip in certain statistical areas, he would still provide a better option than some of the M’s recent options, including four pitchers with ERAs over 4.70.

The addition of Castro is a solid one, one that will pay dividends for the Mariners, but you can’t deal a promising reliever, minor struggles and all, when the rest of the bullpen is performing… well, how they’re performing.

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All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Nigel Williams-Goss Transfer: Guard Picks Gonzaga

The big news, per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, is that highly-touted transfer Nigel Williams-Goss is transferring to Gonzaga to finish out his college eligibility. The guard will have two years of eligibility left, but will have to sit out next season under transfer rules.

The guard was considering transferring to a host of different schools, including proven winners Michigan State and Georgetown, as well as UNLV, Arkansas and Texas.

When eligible, Williams-Goss will give the Zags a dynamic backcourt with Josh Perkins, who can do stuff like this.

GU was facing the prospect of a future without Kyle Wiltjer and Przemek Karnowski, but with Williams-Goss, Perkins and Domantas Sabonis in Spokane, the Zags have a nucleus that can compete nationally for years to come.

If nothing else, Williams-Goss will spice up a rivalry that has gone cold as of late. Surely UW and the schools fans won’t be happy seeing their best player depart for arguably the Huskies’ biggest instate hardwood rival.

It will be interesting to see just how much Williams-Goss progresses in Spokane. Another former Husky, Dan Dickau, transferred to GU after two years at UW (where he was a complimentary player) and became an All-American, 20 point-per-game scorer and NBA first-round draft pick. The Zags’ latest transfer comes in with more experience and better stats than Dickau. He was a two-year starter and put up 15.6 points per game, 5.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds per contest.

Given the Zags ability to drastically improve players who redshirt a year (see Kyle Wiltjer and Kelly Olynyk), it will be exciting to see just how much Williams-Goss improves. Gonzaga has been called GU, not just Gonzaga University, but “Guard University”. Dating back to John Stockton and including recent greats like Kevin Pangos and Matt Bouldin, the Zags have always turned out great guards. Williams-Goss seems like the next one of those guards.

Three Reasons Why the Tukwila Arena is a Good Idea

1. Location, Location, Location

While an arena in SoDo would be amazing and add to an already sporting atmosphere with Safeco Field and CenturyLink field, it can be tricky getting to the stadiums. It shouldn’t be, but coming from the south, it can be a bit of a hassle to get to Safeco from the highway. In other words, it shouldn’t take long, but it does. It also makes games more accessible geographically for fans south of Seattle.

2. Privately Funded

The arena project, spearheaded by the “Russell Group” will be privately funded. This means the public won’t be paying. This has been an issue in the past, not just in Seattle, but in other locals.

3. Hockey First?

Seattle is no doubt interested in the NHL making the Pacific Northwest a permanent home, but the NBA is likely a bigger draw given the city’s history with and yearning for professional basketball.

The hockey first would also solve the city’s Catch-22 situation with the NBA were the city (specifically the Seattle Arena project) needs a team to break ground on an arena, but the league wants an arena in place before it can send a team our way.

Having an NHL team first would also give the area time to get behind hockey in the same way the team threw their lot in with the Sounders.