With the World Series set to begin tonight in Texas, the Arizona Diamondbacks will carrying three former Mets on their roster on baseball’s biggest stage: Paul Sewald, Miguel Castro, and Tommy Pham. The paths that those three players took to get there were unique.
Pham’s presence on Arizona’s roster was deliberate. The Mets signed the outfielder in mid-January to serve as their fourth outfielder, he stepped up and had one of his best seasons in the big leagues as Starling Marte and—to a lesser extent—Mark Canha struggled, and the Mets traded him to Arizona at the deadline as part of their fire sale.
The relievers, though, took indirect routes. If you had guessed that Paul Sewald would someday be closing games for a pennant-winning team back when he was with the Mets, nobody would have believed you. Having made his major league debut in 2017, his age-27 season, Sewald threw 147.1 innings for the Mets over the course of four major league seasons. He had a 5.50 ERA and a 4.04 FIP over that time, and the Mets let him hit free agency following the 2020 season.
The Mariners scooped up Sewald before the 2021 season, and he broke out in a big way in his age-31 season. You can decide whether that was a particularly keen acquisition by the Mariners, a total failure of the Mets’ ability to get the most of their own players, or a combination of both. But Sewald threw 64.2 innings with Seattle in 2021 and finished with a 3.06 ERA, a 3.08 FIP, and struck out a staggering 39.4 percent of opposing hitters—having never topped 27.5 percent in a single season with the Mets.
Sewald was still in his arbitration-eligible years after that season—and still is heading into 2024—making it a very easy decision for the Mariners to retain him for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. And he maintained essentially the same level of production over those seasons right up to the trade deadline this year. Curiously, the Mariners didn’t do all that much at the deadline but decided to trade Sewald—with a year-plus of team control remaining—to Arizona for Dominic Canzone, Josh Rojas, and Ryan Bliss.
The Mariners came up just short of making the playoffs themselves, finishing one game back of the final Wild Card spot and two games back of the Astros and Rangers, who finished with identical records atop the American League West. But the Diamondbacks got in, clinching the final spot in the National League just one game ahead of the Cubs.
As for Castro, things were a bit more conventional. The Mets got him in a trade with the Orioles during the shortened 2020 season, and he put up a respectable 3.52 ERA in 79.1 innings with them between that season and the 2021 season. In early April of 2022, the Mets sent him to the Yankees in a trade that brought back left-handed reliever Joely Rodríguez.
Castro went on to put up a 4.03 ERA for the Yankees, while Rodríguez had a 4.47 ERA for the Mets. Both pitchers hit free agency following that season, and Castro signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with Arizona in December.
This season, Castro threw 64.2 innings out of Arizona’s bullpen and had a 4.31 ERA and an identical 4.31 FIP. Whereas Sewald took a major step forward immediately after leaving the Mets, Castro has pretty much continued to be himself.