Red Sox: Rusney Castillo is finally free to return to Majors

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 11: Xander Bogaerts (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 11: Xander Bogaerts (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox went over the final luxury-tax penalty due to the Ian Kinsler trade. This means there’s nothing holding back a Rusney Castillo return.

The trade that brought Ian Kinsler to the Boston Red Sox also brought more money on the payroll. That money pushed Boston over the final-tax penalty, which is a higher fine and their draft pick being pushed back 10 spots.

While that hurts, it now means the Red Sox can spend more money without any risk of further penalty.

For me at least, this means one thing is clear. It’s Rusney Castillo time.

Now, if anyone watched RAW on Monday, they’ll know Brock Lesnar is no longer a “Paul Heyman guy”. If anyone reads my articles, they’ll know that Rusney Castillo will always be a “Hunter Noll guy”.

I’ve always been on the side of “Castillo didn’t get much of a chance”. The outfielder was brought to Boston on a pretty hefty deal as an international free agent. Despite that, it seemed like the Red Sox were never ready to go all-in on him.

More from Red Sox Prospects

Castillo got some time in Boston down the stretch of the year he signed (2014), but not much. This was excusable however because the Cuban needed to work his way up to the Majors.

In 2015, Castillo was given a much larger role, but still only appeared in 80 games. Then in 2016, he appeared in nine games (eight at-bats). In fact, it was 2016 that he was dubbed “the most expensive pinch-runner of all-time”.

Castillo hasn’t appeared in a Major League game since June 16 of that 2016 season.

All-in-all, Castillo has 317 career at-bats in the Majors. Just to put that into perspective, five players more-than-doubled that number of at-bats last season. So Castillo has effectively gotten half a season to prove himself.

While his numbers aren’t great, they aren’t deserving of the burial he’s gotten. A .262/.301/.379 slash line has potential, especially when coupled with his plus-defense.

In the minors, Castillo’s only gotten better. After a decent 2016 in Triple-A, he slashed .314/.350/.507 in 2017. That included 15 home runs and 14 steals in 87 games.

This season, the 31-year-old is looking even better. His slash line sits at .323/.367/.430 with 26 doubles and five home runs going into Friday. The run production is there as well, as he has 50 runs scored and 48 RBI, to go along with 11 steals in 95 games.

Basically, over the last two seasons, all Castillo has done is prove he deserves another shot in the Majors. The Boston Red Sox simply didn’t have the luxury (pun intended) to bring him up. That’s not a problem anymore.

Now, Jackie Bradley Jr. is looking great at the plate lately. His average is climbing, and while it’s still low, he’s been quite unlucky. He’s also arguably the best defensive outfielder in the game. Of course, Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi aren’t going anywhere either.

Castillo could have a role as a fourth outfielder though. He could also be brought up if an injury were to happen to one of the main three. Worst case scenario, a September call-up should be in his future.

Next. Red Sox 2018 trade deadline recap. dark

The Red Sox are looking to head into the playoffs with the best record in baseball. To do that, you simply need to win games. If they’re looking to win, the organizations best players should be available to them. Rusney Castillo is part of that group. There’s no longer any reason he shouldn’t be wearing a Boston uniform sometime before the end of the season.