The Red Sox finally have Rusney Castillo's paperwork all settled, but according to Scott Lauber, that doesn't necessarily mean it's time for his major league debut. In fact, pretty much everything about Castillo's transition to Major League Baseball is up in the air.
Unlike the Tigers and Giants--the two other "finalists" for Castillo's services--the Red Sox are not in a position where they have to rush the decision in order to get Castillo involved in the playoff push. They can take their time and choose their spot for Castillo's debut and everything that leads up to it, and seem to be doing just that. According to Lauber, the team is even content to keep Castillo working out for a few more days before being assigned to a team.
Whether that means a stint in Pawtucket, or Portland, or even with the Gulf Coast team playing down in Fort Myers, where Castillo is currently stationed, is anyone's guess. The minor league season will soon come to an end, but almost every team in Boston's farm system is headed to the postseason, giving the Red Sox plenty of options with how quickly to ramp up in-game activity for Castillo, who has not actually played baseball since 2012.
What's not in question is that Castillo is very much a starting outfielder on the 2015 Boston Red Sox. Chances are, he'll even spend some time in that role in 2014. Whether the Red Sox choose to start him at the bottom and have him work his way up to the top level-by-level as they do with some rehab assignments or just dump him in Pawtucket and then call him up for the last couple weeks of the regular season remains to be seen, but eventually Boston will be the only place left going, and the Sox won't let him sit idle.
After that? Lauber indicates that winter ball is very much a possibility for Castillo, to keep him from coming into spring training still feeling the full two-year gap.
It may still be a few weeks before we get to see Rusney Castillo playing in a Red Sox uniform, but at least now it's just a matter of when.