The Seattle Mariners have locked up another member of their core. The Mariners and right-hander Luis Castillo have agreed to a five-year contract extension covering 2023-27 with an option for 2028, the team announced Saturday afternoon. The deal is worth $108 million guaranteed and can max out at $133 million, reports ESPN.
"Luis has been one of the top pitchers in MLB over the past six seasons," Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. "He is a dynamic power pitcher in the prime of his career with a track record of consistency. Bringing him to Seattle represented a key moment in our ongoing efforts to build a championship roster. Similarly, this deal illustrates our continued commitment to both the present and future of this team."
It should be noted Castillo's contract includes what amounts to a Tommy John surgery clause, according to ESPN. If Castillo needs elbow reconstruction at some point between 2025-27, the Mariners will received a $5 million club option for the 2028 season. John Lackey had a similar clause in his contract with the Boston Red Sox and did eventually undergo Tommy John surgery.
"I feel great," Castillo said in a statement. "Every baseball player wants to have a dream like this become a reality. I'm happy I was able to accomplish this with the Mariners and I want to thank everybody in the organization for treating me so well."
Castillo, 29, was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds for four prospects at August's trade deadline. He was scheduled to become a free agent after 2023, so the five-year extension buys out his final year of arbitration plus four free-agent years, with a vesting option for a fifth. The $21.6 million average annual value would be 15th highest among active starting pitchers.
The Mariners now have their top four starters in place through 2025. Castillo joins Robbie Ray, who inked a five-year deal worth $115 million as a free agent last offseason, as well as young righties Logan Gilbert and George Kirby. Gilbert and Kirby and under team control through 2027 and 2028, respectively. Lefty Marco Gonzales is signed through 2024 as well.
A two-time All-Star, Castillo has a 2.85 ERA in 23 starts and 154 innings this year, including a 2.83 ERA in nine starts and 54 innings with Seattle. He has been one of the game's top starting pitchers the last few seasons and the Mariners locked him up to what looks to be a team-friendly contract through his prime years. And, of course, Castillo gets a life-changing payday.
Castillo is the fourth Mariners player to sign a long-term contract within the last 10 months. Reliever Andrés Muñoz signed a four-year, $7.5 million extension last December; shortstop JP Crawford signed a five-year, $51 million extension in January; and superstar center fielder Julio Rodríguez signed a 12-year, $210 million extension in August.
The Mariners enter play Saturday with an 82-68 record. They currently sit in the third wild-card spot, three games up on the Baltimore Orioles. Seattle has not been to the postseason since Ichiro's rookie year in 2001. It is the longest postseason drought in North American sports.