Castillo was the lone Reds representative at this year’s All-Star game and should be in the prime of his career at 29. He’s spent his entire six-season MLB career in Cincinnati. Seattle didn’t have pitching problems before bringing Castillo into the fold. The Mariners’ starting rotation has a 3.68 ERA, the seventh-best in the MLB. Castillo’s addition does give a win-now attitude from a franchise that’s never made a World Series since debuting in 1977.
The AL West is Houston’s to lose. Second-place Seattle is a dozen games back. The Rangers, Athletics, and Angels clearly aren’t going to be a factor this season. That puts the Mariners squarely into one of the three Wild Card spots. That’s a dangerous game to play with one of the five postseason teams in each league handing in their jerseys after game No. 163. Yet, that’s better than the Mariners have done for most of the millennium.
Having longed to be back in the playoffs since fall 2001, the Mariners have the fourth-longest postseason drought of all time in North American sports. The longest streaks in the NBA and NHL are also active, but the Sacramento Kings and Buffalo Sabres 16 and 12 seasons respectively don’t touch Seattle. The longest MLB streak of all time is when the St. Louis Browns, now the Baltimore Orioles, didn’t make any postseason from 1903-44. The NFL record is shared by the now-Washington Commanders and Arizona Cardinals at a quarter-century apiece.
The move for Castillo appears to be a new-age aggressive approach to end the miserable streak. There are five teams within four games of Seattle for the second Wild Card spot. A few bad series in a row and the Mariners would be far from controlling their own destiny. That’s why Seattle was aggressive. Better to have tried and lost, than not been active and fallen just short.