Red Sox put Rusney Castillo on waivers


Rusney Castillo has been put on outright waivers by the Boston Red Sox. What does this mean for his future with the franchise?

Have we seen the last of Rusney Castillo with the Boston Red Sox?

Not necessarily, but being placed on outright waivers by the team is certainly the low point of a disappointing tenure with the franchise for Castillo. In case there was any question of how the current regime views the 29-year old outfielder, this action makes it abundantly clear.

Castillo entered spring training expecting to be the favorite to be named the starting left fielder for the Red Sox. It was essentially his job to lose, and lose it he did. By the time Opening Day rolled around, Boston had moved on to Brock Holt as their primary left fielder, with Chris Young serving as the right-handed half of a platoon.

That left Castillo to be relegated to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he spent most of the season providing the Red Sox with little reason to bring him back up. When he did get another shot in the big leagues it was only because Boston’s injury riddled bench had no other options to turn to. Castillo has appeared in 9 games this season, mostly as a late game substitute, collecting only 2 hits in 8 at-bats.

So what does putting Castillo on waivers mean for the Red Sox?

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It’s unlikely that any team is going to claim him, given that Castillo is still owed over $50 million of the 7-year, $72.5 million deal that the Red Sox regrettably gave him in 2014. The front office may simply be dangling Castillo to see if there is any interest. Perhaps a team that isn’t willing to pick up his full contract may still be willing to work out a trade, with the Red Sox paying the majority of his remaining deal.

The more likely outcome is that Castillo will pass through waivers unclaimed, which will allow the Red Sox to return him to Pawtucket. The benefit to this is it would allow the team to remove him from the 40-man roster.

What could the Red Sox do with an open roster spot? They need to improve their bench, preferably with a left-handed bat that can fill in as part of a left field platoon. Clearing space on the 40-man roster could be in preparation for a trade to acquire such a bat.

If a trade opportunity doesn’t present itself, at least it the short-term, the Red Sox could look internally. There are a couple of appealing options in Pawtucket that the team may find more worthy of getting a shot than Castillo was.

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Center fielder Ryan LaMarre is hitting .313/.383/.475 with 6 home runs in 160 at-bats for the PawSox this season. The 27-year old has hit safely in 8 of his last 10 games, going 12-for-34 (.352) over that span. He had a cup of coffee with the Cincinnati Reds last year, where he went 2-for-25 in his only big league experience, but may be coming into his own this year.

Another option could be Chris Marrero, who is hitting .289/.342/.506 with 12 homers in 235 at-bats. He would provide a bit more pop off the bench, but the issue with him is that he does most of his damage against lefties, so he’s not the ideal option to split time with Young. LaMarre is also right-handed, but hits left and right-handed pitching about equally well, with most of his power coming against right-handers (.895 OPS).

We could also see Bryce Brentz get a call-up at some point. He’s having a solid season in Pawtucket and is already on the 40-man roster. Even if another outfielder, such as LaMarre or Marrero, were to be put on the roster, Brentz could beat them to the majors given that he has been in the organization longer and had some modest success in a brief 9 game stint in Boston last year.

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If none of those options pan out, there’s always Allen Craig. Just kidding, we aren’t going to see Craig in Boston, although at this point his chances may have moved ahead of Castillo’s.

It may be premature to say that Castillo will never be back in Boston, but his stock is clearly sinking as he moves down the organizational depth chart.