Should the Boston Red Sox call up outfielder Rusney Castillo?
What is a bad contract? Quite possibly the top of the list is the one the Boston Red Sox did for Rusney Castillo when the Cuban was the focus of a bidding war among MLB suitors. The Red Sox “won” with an offer of seven-years at $72.5 million. Another dent in the baseball fender for Ben Cherrington.
Castillo broke onto the Boston scene in 2014 in ten games with a .333 average and two home runs. The compact built right-handed hitter looked like a promising acquisition as a borderline five-tool player. From that point, it was downhill for Castillo and by 2016 he was placed on waivers and cleared to play in Pawtucket as he went unclaimed.
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The reasoning is simple as a claim means the Red Sox would be off the hook and Castillo’s contract would be a problem for another organization. The only redeeming feature is Castillo was now off the luxury tax rolls unless Boston placed him back on the 40-man and recalled him. Castillo was wealthy and trapped in the minors.
Castillo has been very good at Pawtucket (AAA) and occasionally great. A two time MVP for Pawtucket and one of the best players in the International League. And also the most financially rewarded player in the minors.
This is the last season that Boston will endure the ponderous financial obligation to Castillo. Castillo is part of the 60-man Player Pool and is doing whatever they do at Pawtucket – the alternate training site for the Red Sox. Castillo’s salary is not adjusted and sits at over $14 million, but if added to the roster the tax hit would be substantially less since adjustments are made for the 37% season and just a lone month would be applied.
Adding Castillo is certainly doable and may just be worth examining or the Red Sox can just let him stay in Pawtucket and bid him farewell. Castillo in a baseball world of the past would not be hemmed in nor would the Red Sox as he would be on the roster and may or may not be taking a regular turn in the outfield. Castillo’s minor league record is justification for being in Boston or elsewhere since he has hit and defended enough to earn that level of reward, but, again – he is trapped.
Castillo will be available in 2021 and just what the market will be for a 33-year-old once-promising player has yet to be determined. He has an apartment in Boston and routinely travels to Pawtucket and has for five years. Reportedly he likes the city and the organization, but does the organization have the same regarding Castillo?
Boston will have availability with Jackie Bradley Jr. testing the market and the departure of Kevin Pillar. Just what happens to Andrew Benintendi will be answered in the offseason, but if the Red Sox can bring Castillo back on short money it may be worth the venture despite the bad taste that contract has left.