It appears that the Boston Red Sox are still trying to find some outfield depth on the roster, as Tzu-Wei Lin, a shortstop by trade, is getting reps in the outfield this spring training. That may seem puzzling since the team traded away Bryce Brentz, but despite having plenty of talent across the position, there still needs to be guys that can step in should (God forbid) injury strike.
So if the Sox are willing to give Lin a shot in the outfield — not to mention other non-roster invitees like Jeremy Barfield, Steve Selsky, and Aneury Tavarez, who actually play outfield already — it brings us to this question: What exactly is the plan with Rusney Castillo?
Castillo will make more than $11 million this season and while just having a large investment in a player doesn’t mean you should play him over others who have produced better, it would seem logical that he would be getting another chance. Obviously he has not been great, especially in his MLB work. With a career OPS+ of 82 in 99 career games, he has clearly been far from the next Yasiel Puig, but he has managed to at least be almost exactly a league average player thanks to his fielding. His career fWAR of 1.4 is buoyed almost entirely by his work in the field, as he has 18 career defensive runs saved and a UZR of 13.0.
He still has a lot to improve on and at 30-years-old, its not like he has tons of time, but he did progress in the minors during 2017, posting a triple slash of .314/.350/.507 with 15 home runs, 14 stolen bases and a wRC+ of 138. That production has to at least have the ears perked up in the front office, especially if outfield depth is something at top of mind.
It must have to a degree since Castillo is with the Sox at spring training. That means the next month or so will be critical for his career, because right now he is in sink-or-swim territory.
The Red Sox and their starting pitch depth are going to be tested right away since Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright aren’t going to be available to start the season. (Jen McCaffrey; MassLive)
There are tons of story lines to watch during the baseball season, some we don’t even know about. Here are some we do know about. (Boston.com)
J.D. Martinez’s signing took a little while (Christopher Smith; MassLive) but it looks like it will become official later today. (R.J. Anderson; CBS Sports)
With Martinez in the fold, the Red Sox and Yankees are set to instill more fire into the rivalry. (Matthew Kory; BP Boston)
With both teams having better offenses, it will be critical that the Red Sox are able to maintain a rested rotation. (Peter Abraham; Boston Globe)