Red Sox: Time is running out for Rusney Castillo
By Tyler Mason
In 2014, the Boston Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a 7-year contract worth $72.5 million. Now 3 years later, it will be a miracle if he makes the Opening Day roster.
The Boston Red Sox are underway in Fort Myers as full-team workouts have officially begun. As we watch players like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Hanley Ramirez get their swings in before Opening Day, the Sox have a number of players invited to Spring Training in hopes to make the team. One of those players is former Cuban standout Rusney Castillo.
The 29-year-old outfielder was once looked as the next Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, or Jose Abreu coming out of Cuba. As the Sox finished second in acquiring Jose Abreu and watched him sign with the Chicago White Sox, they weren’t going to let any team get in their way with signing Castillo.
With that being said, Rusney Castillo signed the highest paid contract for an amateur international player, agreeing to a 7-year contract worth $72.5 million.
Ever since Castillo signed with Boston, we are all still waiting for this superstar to emerge. In the first 3 seasons playing in the Major Leagues, Castillo has yet to play in 100 games. In 99 career games, he has a slash of .262/.301/.379 with 7 home runs and 35 RBI’s. This was not what Red Sox Nation was expecting from a guy who is making a little over $11 million a year.
So what can we expect from Castillo in 2017? During the 2016 season where he played mostly in AAA, Castillo had a disappointing slash of .263/.309/.354 in 103 games played with Pawtucket. So if you think that Castillo will be on the Opening Day roster for 2017, you may want to erase that thought from your head.
But what if the Sox traded Castillo? Although his Major League career has been a disappointment, there could be a team willing to think that the 29-year-old could revive his career, right? You never know. But if the Sox decided to trade Castillo, the chances of them having to eat some of the $46 million remaining on his contract is pretty high.
ESPN staff writer Scott Lauber was with Castillo in Fort Myers as he talked about how he is going to continue to work hard and show people that he can really play with the best.
"“You know there are some things that you can’t control, and at the end of the day, your hard work is what speaks for you,” Castillo said Sunday through a team interpreter. “I’m just looking forward to putting the past behind me and working hard now so that people can see exactly who I am.”"
Although Castillo had a strong winter ball performance in Puerto Rico where he hit .392 in 51 at-bats, it seems unlikely that he will make the Opening Day roster knowing that Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Chris Young, Blake Swihart, and Brock Holt are ahead of him on the outfield depth chart.
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I wish nothing but the best for Castillo during his quest to be an everyday player in the Major Leagues, but Boston doesn’t seem to be the home for him.