While the trade deadline has stolen the spotlight of late, there's a storm brewing in Miami, where Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo has been working out for interested teams. And while that's included nearly every organization in Major League Baseball, the Red Sox have sent more bodies and eyes than anyone else, and will have a private workout with him on Friday according to Jesse Sanchez:
Source: Cuban prospect Rusney Castillo worked out for Phillies today. Red Sox workout is Friday & MARINERS on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/X41EBOYyEH— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) July 29, 2014
The line that seems to have stuck with Rusney Castillo is "Brett Garnder with power" which, well, wow. That's one of the more impressive descriptions a player can merit given Gardner's combination of speed, patience, and defense. That the 5'8" Castillo is able to add power to the mix is as exciting as it is surprising.
Castillo is not some far-off prospect. 27 years old, Castillo would be expected to play in the majors in a hurry, very likely as soon as he's signed depending on the philosophy and current state of the club involved. That also means he's going to cost quite a bit. With the success of players like Yasiel Puig, Jose Dariel Abreu, and Boston's own (as of a few hours ago) Yoenis Cespedes, contracts for Cuban players without MLB experience are going to be larger than ever.
That being said, if the Red Sox are gun-shy on giving six or seven-year, nine-digit deals to 30-year-olds, players like Castillo represent the perfect opportunity for them to find star talent at more reasonable prices. The risk of a complete bust are higher, yes, but the fallout from such a bust would still not be crippling. Given that they came up just shy on Abreu at the same time fan favorite Mike Napoli was hitting game-winning homers in the 2013 ALCS, it's not hard to see them willing to play in this market.
While the presence of Cespedes along with so many other outfielders does leave the Red Sox a bit gummed up at the moment, simply having him around might even help them in their pursuit of Castillo given Cespedes' prominence in Cuban baseball.
We won't know for sure where Castillo is going to land for a while yet, but there's a lot f reason to hope it's in Boston.