The moment the Yankees and Mets agreed to the Joely Rodriguez-Miguel Castro trade, the main reaction was “huh??”. For one, it was a crosstown swap, which never happens. The Steve Cohen era is hopefully going to change that, because there’s no reason these teams can’t do business.
But the other “huh” reaction was because … it seems Castro is definitely better than Rodriguez? The right-hander’s arsenal is way nastier and he’s three years younger than the veteran.
Then, you dive a little bit deeper. Rodriguez, a lefty, wasn’t as good as getting out lefties as Castro last season, which is notable because Rodriguez had the best 21-game stretch of his career in 2021 while Castro had his best campaign of his seven years in MLB.
Now, after Opening Day, we have tangible evidence that life as a Yankees fan might just be that much better with Castro instead of Rodriguez.
Castro made his Yankees debut on Friday and was tasked with getting out of a jam created by fellow reliever Clay Holmes, who allowed three hits and an earned run in 2/3 of an inning.
It wasn’t anything overly spectacular, but Castro, after walking the first batter he saw, whiffed Christian Vazquez with the bases loaded to get out of the bases-loaded sixth-inning scare for that glorious 1/3 of an inning.
Did the Yankees already win the Miguel Castro trade with the Mets?
That slider is … better than anything Joely Rodriguez brought to the table. And that’s not even an insult — it’s just how good that Castro offering is. The right-hander came in again the next day and tossed a scoreless frame, walking just one batter on 17 total pitches.
Additionally, he’s been trending upward — albeit slowly — for years now. The Mets quite literally got the best of him in 2021, too, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 70.1 innings of work — nearly career-best numbers across the board. And then they traded him for Rodriguez, who’s only appeared in 26 or more games twice since debuting in 2016, has a weak 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings, and has walked 47 batters in 95.2 innings.
Rodriguez has his 3.87 career FIP going for him … but the eye test is vastly different with these two when you’re talking about arsenal and potential.
Rodriguez averages 94 MPH on his fastball and pretty much only throws two pitches (he hardly uses his slider anymore at 3.2% the last two seasons). On the other hand, Castro averages nearly 97 MPH on his fastball and regularly throws filth with his slider and changeup.
The Mets had to part with a legitimate asset because they didn’t have enough lefties in the bullpen. It might be too early to declare this a “win,” but it sure feels like one … especially since Rodriguez has already allowed two earned runs in his first two innings on the other side of town.
Did you watch the Phillies’ epic comeback from down 4-0 in the eighth to oust the very familiar Mets? Yeah. Rodriguez’s doing. We’re not taking a full victory lap, but we’re at least putting our shorts on.