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Marlins designate Daniel Castano for assignment

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Marlins left-hander Daniel Brown For commissioning, Daniel Alvarez Montes of El Extra Base tweets (Twitter link). Castano’s place in the list will go to the right Johnny Cueto, who was previously reported to have a one-year, $8.5 million contract and has now gone official. Cueto was officially introduced this morning on loan at Miami Depot Park.

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Castano, 28, was one of four players the Marlins got on the steals they fielded Marcel Ozuna to St. Louis, coming to the Miami side Sandy AlcantaraAnd Zach Gallen (Since traded for Jazz Chisholm Jr.) And Majoris Sierra. The left-hander has appeared in each of the past three seasons with the Marlins, posting a combined 3.89 ERA in 85 2/3 innings of work.

However, this solid ERA has been accompanied by a strikeout rate of 12% which ranks as the lowest of any pitcher in baseball dating back to 2020 (minimum 80 innings pitched). Castano made up for this lack of missed bats with a better-than-average 7.5% walk rate, a 44.7% solid ground ball rate and a frequent knack for avoiding difficult contact; He has a career out speed of 87.6 mph, a keg rate of 7%, and a strikeout rate of 35.9% (all as measured by Statcast), each better than the average MLB pitcher’s speed. However, independent metrics such as FIP (4.86) and SIERA (5.28) are more left-side downs of his more primitive era.

Castano’s 12.8% strikeout average in the major leagues this past season was right in line with his career mark, but that’s a little strange, given that he’s also overhauled his pitching mix and has seen his strikeouts skyrocket at Triple-A. Castano moved away from his quadruple seam and sinker in favor of the cutter, who delivered a massive 41% clip. At Triple-A, the shift in his ammunition may have contributed to his 26.4% strikeout rate. It wasn’t necessarily in a small sample, either; Castano’s 34 3-inch innings were almost exactly the same as his 35 2/3 innings in the major league. It stands to reason, then, that even if Castano doesn’t see his MLB strike rate rise to exactly those same heights, there’s probably reason to believe there’s more at-bat ability missing in the tank than he’s shown in the Majors thus far.

Unfortunately for Castano, injuries denied him the chance to display more of this incisive new form down the stretch. Castano landed on the rack with a concussion in late July after being hit in the head from 104 mph, and while working on his back from that scary scene, the Marlins Discover a small tear in his shoulder. He did not need surgery but did not play again in 2022.

The Marlins will now have a week to trade Castano or try to pass him through outright concessions. He’s out of minor league options, so any team that acquires him will need to carry him on the roster or try to pass Castano through waivers themselves. However, he’s a left-hander with a rookie pedigree and some success in senior competition, solid control and poor contact rates in the big leagues, and a somewhat interesting new tone that he started building on last season. It can also be controlled for five more seasons. It is certainly possible for a club in need to make a claim or make a small deal to acquire Castano.

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