Report: Tigers miss out as Red Sox land Cuban defector
Updated On: Aug 22 2014 12:20:18 PM EDT
Rusney Castillo has reportedly signed with the Boston Red Sox, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. Sanchez reports that the deal is for $72.5 million over six years (seven, counting the rest of the 2014 season).
As of Friday morning, the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox, were the two finalists to land the Cuban defector, who saw his market pick up rapidly over the past week.
Boston got some help from its recent trade for fellow Cuban Yoenis Cespedes, who played with the latest defector in Cuba. Cespedes said that Castillo is "at least a four-tool player."
Castillo is a 27-year-old outfielder with a speed-power combination that scouts claimed was worth the $50 million or more bidding price. The right-hander can play center field and would have provided a much-need offensive weapon for the Tigers, who have scuffled since trading away Austin Jackson.
Castillo dominated the Cuba Serie Nacional league, hitting .315 while playing both center field and middle infield. He hit with average and power, posting a .501 slugging percentage and .881 OPS.
One of the problems with signing Castillo was that he reportedly hasn't played competitively since early in 2013. Many scouts say he looks ready to make a Major League roster right now, but the long layoff was certainly a concern for franchises that were considering paying upwards of $50 million to sign Castillo.
Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports represents Castillo, who has a realistic chance of playing this season. But the Red Sox are in last place in the AL East and are clearly interested in Castillo as a future option, rather than an upgrade in 2014.
The Tigers certainly needed another dangerous bat, and the outfield is thin considering the struggles of call-up Ezequiel Carrera. The Tigers would have had to sign Castillo before August 31 for him to be eligible for the playoffs.
Castillo is reportedly hoping for about 60 minor league at-bats before joining the majors.
Castillo is just the latest of many Cuban defectors to join the big leagues. Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu, both of which are among potential MVP candidates this season, are two of the recent notable Cubans playing in the U.S.