According to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Red Sox, along with the Giants and Tigers, are one of the three finalists for the services of Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo.
Castillo is expected to pick a team very soon, possibly by the end of the week, with the intent of playing in the Major Leagues in 2014. The Red Sox have developed an excellent farm system in recent seasons; however, they have had a limited presence on the international market as they have been unable to ink top players such as Masahiro Tanaka, Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes (although they have acquired him a few years after he signed with Oakland), and Yasiel Puig. However, they could change that history of inaction by acquiring Castillo.
And while Castillo may not be of the caliber of any of those players, he still projects as a valuable Major League starter. Reports on him have varied wildly, ranging from a comparison of Rajai Davis (.289/.328/.414, 31 stolen bases this season) as a floor to a player near the caliber of former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (.274/.340/.400, 32 stolen bases) as a ceiling. Scouts generally see him as a speedy outfielder who will certainly be able to stick in center field for the coming seasons. At the plate is where the reports have varied, but he is expected to hit at least enough to be an MLB regular and his developing power could make him a well above-average performer offensively.
Castillo’s contract is eventually expected to fall in the range of $55M after previous reports pegged it around Puig’s 7 year/$42M deal with the Dodgers. At just 27 years old and in the midst of his prime, though, a longterm deal isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world. He would give the Red Sox a solid outfielder for several years, which is an attractive option other than the roadblock it causes with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. If the Red Sox do sign Castillo then they’ll likely be in for a busy offseason, but first things first: they must sign him.