Just before Opening Day was set to take place, the Yankees made a couple of trades to shake up their roster. One netted them their All-Star starting catcher for the year, while the other brought in a veteran reliever by the name of Miguel Castro. Castro was the bigger name at that time, and it was a bit of a surprise that the Mets opted to swap relievers with their cross-town neighbors, but by the end of the year Castro’s impact on the 2022 season would be a minimal one.
2022 Statistics: 34 games, 29 IP, 4.03 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 4.22 xFIP, 9.62 K/9, 4.66 BB/9, 0.1 fWAR
2023 Contract Status: Free Agent
Castro entered the Yankees bullpen as a one-for-one swap for Joely Rodríguez, who had been brought in less than a year ago as a throw-in part of the Joey Gallo deal that ended up working out pretty decently. The Yankees re-signed Rodríguez after opting out of his deal initially, but velocity concerns in spring training prompted the team to move him for the younger but less controllable Castro, who was set to be a free agent at the end of the year.
Castro started off on the right foot, earning a 2.16 ERA through April, but he came back down to earth fairly quickly. The right-hander was hit hard in May and June, giving up a .366 and .326 wOBA against respectively, and he allowed more than a hit per inning over that stretch. The main issue that Castro faced throughout his career has been walking batters, and ironically, that wasn’t the biggest factor into his struggles. The majority of his walks came in that opening month where he worked around them, but his accuracy was never pinpoint and it’s possible that he found too much of the zone attempting to compensate there.
All in all, Castro wasn’t making much of a splash to this point, but it wasn’t like he was bringing the team down whenever he was out on the mound. He was effective enough, and he filled a decent role right in the middle of the ‘pen outside of the upper echelon but not in mop up duty. Then he landed on the injured list in early July for shoulder inflammation, and from there his season got derailed significantly. Initial reports had him out for a few weeks, but at the start of August he was moved to the 60-day IL and from there most of his year was out of reach.
The Yankees did manage to get Castro back in uniform right before the end of the regular season. He made two appearances against the Rangers, neither of which provided much confidence, but due to injuries to other key relievers by the end of the year the team was basically forced to entrust a rusty Castro with a postseason roster spot. He made a couple of appearances and managed to post clean innings both times in low-pressure situations, but the Yankees could manage to push beyond their ALDS victory and promptly got swept in the ALCS before he could truly make an impact on the series.
In the end, the Yankees didn’t get much out of this swap. Castro only managed to give them just under 30 innings of work and was so-so throughout it, and now he’s on the open market. There’s probably not going to be a bidding war for his services so the Yankees could feasibly bring him back, but they may simply opt to rely on one of their homegrown arms instead going forward. They’ll almost certainly be doing this already in the case of former mainstays like Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton, and they have the depth to promote one more young flamethrower on top of that.
Castro’s spot on the roster is far from the biggest priority the Yankees are facing this offseason, so it’ll be a bit of a wait to see if he returns. If this was all for his pinstriped career it likely won’t be remembered as a failure, but most would probably wonder what could have been had he stayed healthy.