Nov 14: Soriano has cleared waivers and been returned to the Angels, per Jack Harris of the L.A. Times.
Nov 7: The Pirates announced that right-hander Jose Soriano has been designated for assignment. The move opens up a 40-man roster spot for infielder Diego Castillo, whose contract has been selected to the 40-man.
Soriano threw only 3 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh’s A-ball affiliate in Bradenton this season, as the 23-year-old had to undergo his second Tommy John surgery in as many seasons. Soriano first went under the knife in February 2020 when he was still a member of the Angels organization, but the Pirates rolled the dice and selected Soriano in last December’s Rule 5 draft.
Soriano’s latest surgery took place in mid-June, so considering the usual 13-15 month timeline for TJ recoveries and the fact that this is already Soriano’s second operation in such a brief period, it certainly doesn’t seem like he’ll see any action during the 2022 season. It’s a brutal outcome for a youngster who showed such intriguing promise when pitching in the Angels’ farm system, as Soriano drew plenty of attention thanks to his big fastball and strikeout numbers. Soriano has mostly worked as a starting pitcher, but he was seen as a potential power reliever or even a closer candidate thanks to his one-two punch of a fastball and curve, even if walks continued to be an issue.
Not to be confused with the veteran reliever of the same name, the Pirates’ Diego Castillo is a 24-year-old infielder who joined the organization from the Yankees this past July as part of the Clay Holmes trade. Castillo hadn’t hit much over his first four minor league seasons, but after the canceled 2020 minor league campaign, his bat took a big step forward in his return to action. Castillo hit .278/.355/.487 with 19 home runs in 440 total plate appearances in 2021, with those PA split over the Yankees’ Double-A team and the Pirates’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates.
Between this development at the plate and his ability to play second base, third base, and shortstop, Castillo has put himself on the radar as a candidate to reach the majors next season. As noted by Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Castillo would’ve been eligible for minor league free agency if the Pirates hadn’t put him on the 40-man roster.