Red Sox History: Looking back at the Rusney Castillo signing

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox are still in a win-one/lose-one mode, so let's take a few moments to check out foreign baseball. Today, it's the Mexican League (ML).

There are familiar names, with 41-year-old Robinson Canó trashing ML pitching to the tune of a .432 batting average. Yasiel Puig has found a home, as has Greg Bird and old friend Sam Travis. A few years back, Travis was what Bobby Dalbec is today, and Travis is batting .358 against ML pitching. That should give one a slight nod that this is a hitters league.

But where is Rusney Castillo? Last season, Castillo turned in 13 games for Guadalajara, hitting .279. The Mendoza Line in the ML should be .300. Is it finally over for a well-noted free-agent bust? One of the most noted of the flurry of Cuban deflector players?

Travel writer Rick Steves has competition with Castillo, at least in Cuba. Castillo has circled the baseball globe and the ML may close it out for his career at the age of 36. Castillo even played a bit for the Long Island Ducks in Indy League ball.

Castillo had a seven-year and $75.5 million contract tossed at him and there were high hopes among Red Sox Nation that he'd be a solid player for the duration of that contract. He was, but it was for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Rusney Castillo never became the star the Red Sox hoped he would be

Were the Red Sox guilty of a bad signing based on losing out on Jose Abreu? That certainly had a world of traction, and apparently, Boston sought out the next best option, Castillo. Was it a reflection of panic over losing Abreu? Likely not, since Castillo had some legitimate baseball bonafide.

Castillo was a great talent and a legitimate five-tool player whose tools translated to AAA, not MLB. Castillo never got out of the sand pit with Boston, hitting .262 in 99 games over three seasons. He was eventually outrighted and stuck with the PawSox as no MLB team was willing to take on his contract. Baseball Reference called Castillo one of the most lucrative busts in Cuban Deflector history.

By all reports, Castillo was a solid baseball citizen, diligent about his profession, fan-cooperative, respectful of staff, and a solid teammate. But the talent shown in Cuba and international competition never translated to Boston or anywhere else.

Neither Travis nor Dalbec had the $75.5M contract, but they have provided the same level of frustration for themselves, fans, and management that hindered Castillo. Buyer beware with high-profile prospects and international signings.

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