Pirates Designate Diego Castillo For Assignment

The Pirates have designated infielder Diego Castillo for assignment, per their transactions tracker at MLB.com. The move opens a roster spot for catcher Austin Hedgeswhose signing became official today.

Castillo, 25, was one of two players traded from the Yankees to the Pirates as part of the July 2021 trade that sent Clay Holmes to the Bronx. The other, Hoy Park, was designated for assignment in November, going to the Red Sox and then Braves in subsequent trades. That means today’s transaction could potentially wipe the Holmes return from Pittsburgh’s roster just a year and a half later, while Holmes has gone on to establish himself a key part of the Yankee bullpen.

Castillo was a contact-over-power guy for the beginnings of his professional career, striking out around 10% of the time in the lower levels of the minors but rarely putting the ball over the fence. 2021 seemed to be a breakout for him, as he hit 19 home runs between the systems of the Yankees and Pirates, finishing the year with a combined slash line of .278/.355/.487 and a wRC+ of 128.

He was selected to Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster in November of last year but could not carry his positive developments forward. He got into 96 games at the big league level in 2022 and hit 11 home runs, but he also struck out in 26.5% of his plate appearances while walking just 4.9% of the time. He finished the season with a batting line of .206/.251/.382, production that was 27% below average, as evidenced by his 73 wRC+. He also got into 35 Triple-A games but the results were only marginally better. It seems the Bucs saw enough to feel it was time to move on.

They will now have one week to trade him or pass him through waivers. It’s possible that Castillo could garner some interest from other clubs, despite his disappointing season. He’s still young and has a couple of option years remaining. He’s also played all four infield positions and a bit of right field, meaning he could provide clubs with a versatile depth piece even if his bat doesn’t turn around.

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