Red Sox Sign Rusney Castillo

After getting outbid for Jose Abreu, the Red Sox apparently weren’t going to let that happen when they had another shot at a young Cuban defector, and today, they’ve agreed to sign outfielder Rusney Castillo for a reported $72 million over six years. This beats Abreu’s total by $4 million, and is almost double the contract that Yasiel Puig got a couple of years ago. There’s little question that the massive success of those two players has forced teams to reevaluate their assessments, and as I pointed out on Wednesday, the international free agent market has been significantly underpriced of late.

Of course, the success of Abreu and Puig doesn’t mean that Castillo’s going to be a monster. Here’s what Ben Badler reports that scouts have told him about Castillo’s potential:

Some scouts who had followed Castillo with the Cuban national team felt he would be a steady, everyday center fielder in the big leagues, while others felt he would fit best as a fourth outfielder, with good speed and defense in center field, a line-drive stroke, an aggressive hitting approach and occasional power.

When Castillo showed up on Saturday at the University of Miami, scouts saw a different physique, which has translated to more power. At 5-foot-9, 205 pounds, Castillo is 20 pounds heavier than he was in Cuba, and it’s in a good way, with plenty of muscle packed on to his athletic frame.

The biggest difference was in Castillo’s power. Scouts get to watch Cuban players take batting practice at international tournaments, and Castillo showed more juice in his bat than he had before he left Cuba. Castillo always had good bat speed and could sting the ball with a line-drive approach in Cuba, but on Saturday he hit balls out to all fields, displaying plus raw power in BP. Several scouts felt Castillo took a home run derby mentality with him into his BP session instead of his standard game swing, but it worked to show some scouts they needed to adjust their grades on him.

“In BP he had some length in his swing, so there was pretty good loft power,” one scout said. “Then in games he shortened up his stroke and we saw the line-drive swing that we saw in the past. But he is a lot more physical than what we saw in his Cuban national days. They really did a hell of a job with the body.”

I’ve seen a lot of people focus on the “4th outfielder” label, but look at the description of the skillset: lots of really good MLB outfielders have had that exact same base of skills and have also been stuck with the “4th outfielder” label only to prove that scouts vastly undersold their overall abilities. Shane Victorino, for instance, fits this model to a tee.

The Sox were widely panned when they gave Victorino three year, $39 million deal because he didn’t have the defensive profile of a center fielder or the power of a corner-type, but these skill requirements for positions are outdated and mostly useless. If Castillo is a good enough defender to handle center field and has decent contact skills and power, that makes him an above average big leaguer, regardless of whether he fits into a specific mold. Badler notes that there’s another comparison that is maybe more along the lines of the 4th OF that people are talking about.

Before Castillo’s rapid strength increase, he was a similar player to Rajai Davis, a 5-foot-9, 195-pound righthanded-hitting outfielder, when they were the same age. Davis, now 33, was another similarly-built speedster who could play center field with an aggressive hitting approach, a solid bat and occasional power, with an underappreciated skill set for a player who was often thought of as a fourth outfielder himself.

While Davis has been a nice role player, you don’t want be paying $12 million a year for his sklillset, and if that’s what Castillo turns out to be, this will have been a mistake. But I might quibble with the idea that Davis has “occasional power”, unless we’re being overly inclusive; for his career, he’s averaged seven home runs per 600 plate appearances, and only 28% of his career hits have gone for extra bases. Davis is about as low-powered as Major League outfielders get, so this would seem more like a floor unless Castillo just can’t make enough contact to make his power play. And even with that lack of power, Davis has a career wRC+ of 89.

If he’s somewhere between Davis and Victorino (career ISO of .154, wRC+ of 106), and he can actually play center field, then he should project as something close to a +3 WAR player, depending on how good of a defender he is and whether he can add any value on the bases. The six years will likely cover his age-28 through age-33 seasons, so even with some drop-off in value at the end of the deal, projecting something like +15 WAR from Castillo over the next six years doesn’t seem unreasonable. That would put this price at around $5 million per win, and there’s no draft pick tax for signing Castillo like there would be for a similar Major League free agent.

Certainly, there’s plenty of risk here, as there is with basically any free agent signing. We won’t know if he can hit Major League pitching until we see him do it, but the description of his skillset makes him sound like the kind of guy that is often underrated, and the recent history of Cuban defectors is strongly positive. This might not work, but it seems like a good bet for a team with the Red Sox financial resources.

Perhaps more interesting is what this means for the Red Sox offseason. They already acquired Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig at the trade deadline, and should have Victorino back next spring. Add Castillo to the mix, and there seems to be no room for either Mookie Betts or Jackie Bradley Jr, giving the Red Sox some interesting young outfielders with which to make a big trade this winter.




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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


141 Responses to “Red Sox Sign Rusney Castillo”

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  1. AL Eastbound says:

    It’s only money.

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  2. TKDC says:

    Is there an opt out?

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  3. bp says:

    Perhaps Cole Hamels will get dealt to Boston this winter for Betts, Bradley + pitching prospects.

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  4. Dave says:

    The red sox have too many outfielders and a lot of potential trade pieces… but other GMs know this about them. I wonder how that affects their negotiating power this off season.

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    • Hank G. says:

      As long as more than one team needs outfielders, I can’t imagine that it would affect their negotiating power too much.

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    • OT says:

      it shouldn’t really matter, but I got the impression it did with the Cardinals in the past. Whether other teams asked for ridiculous packages (Texas-Andrus, Colorado-Tulo) because of the Cardinals’ perceived surplus or because the GM’s are just unreasonable is up for debate. More time in AAA isn’t the worst thing in the world for a 21-22 year old.

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    • Tom says:

      Betts doesn’t have to be an OF though. I seem to remember a lot of MLB teams were looking for 2B this year.

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      • tz says:

        I’d love to know how much Oakland would give for Betts. Like, maybe Samardzija and one of their back-end starters?

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    • Soxfan says:

      What amazes me is a team with so many mediocre outfielders just paid $72.5 M for another *at best* slightly above average outfielder. Per Davenport Traqnslations his *best* Cuban League year translates to .220/.247/.362. Oliver projects him to a line of .254/.286/.402. Cue the limited data Cuban League screaming crowd but check out Davenport’s performance with other players: http://t.co/jYobNEbOXq
      Pretty spot on. Also note Iglesias’ age 18 season translated better than Castillo’s best. Also notice the projections all seem to be slight *overprojections* not under projections. I just don’t understand this move at all. I didn’t *like* the Craig acquisition. I *hate* this acquisition. And this one costs Betts, a 21 year old player with legitimate All Star upside, his spot.

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      • tz says:

        The only way this makes any real sense is if Victorino is cooked. I don’t think money’s the real issue with the Red Sox, but I share your concern with the potential roster management issues.

        Not as egregious as signing Jeff Reardon when you already had Lee Smith as your closer, but still.

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      • pft says:

        They paid exactly what the going rate is for a league average OF’er. This allows them to trade some of their surplus OF’ers for talent, perhaps even cost controlled talent in the case of the younger players, or prospects or veteran pieces if they part with Cespedes

        We sometimes sneer at league average, but league average is pretty good (about 2 WAR) and if Castillos is a 3 WAR player, they will have done nicely. Worst case, he is a bust. Red Sox are rolling in money and have one of the lowest payrolls in terms of overall revenue in baseball. They will survive

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      • bmarkham says:

        Yea I’m a stats guy but this isn’t something you’re weighing the stats too heavily on. Davenport translations are great, but they’re a little too generic and not specialized enough to a guys skill set. The article also explained how he should be expected to be better than when he last played in Cuba.

        This is something that the scouting guys make the call on, or should be at least. Someone that can look at his tools, skills, mechanics, approach, baseball IQ and so on and be able to get a good idea of how he would fair in the majors
        today and if he can make the necessary adjustments needed in this league.

        The Red Sox are a smart org and the fact that they spent this much money after acquiring Cespedes and Craig means that they obviously see a lot of value in the guy. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Red Sox don’t believe they’re getting a slightly above average outfielder, and a 3 WAR player is definitely better than slightly above average.

        The Red Sox also have a large payroll, and can afford to risk (same with the Craig move). Not everything’s about maximizing WAR/$, it’s also about acquiring enough WAR to be a World Series contender.

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      • cs3 says:

        *well* *thanks* *for* *your* *input* *Soxfan*

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      • Jonathan says:

        “*at best* slightly above average outfielder”

        His reported ceiling is Brett Gardner with power. That’s a lot more than “slightly above average.” I’d take Brett Gardner without power at that rate.

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  5. LaLoosh says:

    JBJ and Craig probably aren’t long for the Sox. And Victorino just had surgery. Their OF will sort itself out quickly.

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  6. My Butt says:

    Diminishing returns, hopefully.

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  7. Phillies113 says:

    The Cole Hamels-to-Boston rumor’s I’d been hearing have had Bogaerts, JBJ, and Christian Vazquez as a potential return. Considering Carlos Ruiz’s declining skills and all that’s been written about Vazquez as a pitch-framer, how much of a boon could this be to Philly? I think Xander and JBJ are still young and salvageable at this point, so that’d be a great return for the Phils IMO.

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    • LaLoosh says:

      well, it’s ok except that w/o Hamels and an unhealthy CLee, the Phils rotation might be a mess…

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      • tz says:

        Rebuilding, LaLoosh, rebuilding.

        Seriously, this might be a viable win-win. The Red Sox have Swihart as another good C prospect, and the Phils would really be buying low on Xander and JBJ, in my opinion. But, Boston could put Betts at SS and use Holt at 3B until/if Cecchini is ready.

        Phillies fans just better hope RAJ doesn’t have a Will Middlebrooks fetish, if he manages to survive.

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        • LaLoosh says:

          there’s no reason for the Sox to trade low on Bogaerts.

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        • tz says:

          Agreed. I’d much rather they trade high on Holt.

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        • LaLoosh says:

          yeah I could see a sell high on Holt also. truthfully he’s a nice UT player for a good team. I don’t think he’s more than that.

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        • bmarkham says:

          @LaLoosh

          A guy that hits a little below average (95 career wRC+) and plays everywhere besides pitcher and catcher is pretty valuable. No superstar of course but he would provide needed depth at a lot of spots to a lot of teams. His positional flexibility also gives you an opportunity to be more liberal with roster spots, perhaps being able to carry an extra catcher or reliever or a bench bat that doesn’t contribute defensively.

          I hope the Cardinals look into signing Bonafacio this offseason for that very reason.

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        • tz says:

          @bmarkham I think you and LaLoosh are saying the same think. Holt is like Mark DeRosa at his peak.

          But Holt is one of the few Red Sox now where the team would NOT be trading low. And I’d peg Mookie for being able to fill the multi-positional, 95 wRC+ role next year. The difference is, Mookie’s upside is All-Star caliber, Holt’s is probably 2014 Brock Holt.

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      • Catoblepas says:

        What you mean to say is that without Cole Hamels in 2017, the Phillies will probably be worse. Worrying about the rotation next year is probably not a good idea, since that will only put off the blowing-up the Phillies desperately need.

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      • Sean C says:

        They aren’t competing next year anyways. This would be the Phillies ACTUALLY rebuilding.

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        • Alby says:

          You know what wannabe GMs never have to worry about? How much money is coming in through the turnstiles.

          The Phillies never went into a full rebuild even as they had 15 losing seasons in 16 years. They won’t now, either. You might not like it, but that’s how the team is run, and they aren’t going to change because some seamheads like blowing things up.

          It ain’t APBA, boys.

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        • BDF says:

          @Alby, +1 for APBA reference.

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        • Johnston says:

          Alby, you’re right. Most APBA players are much smarter than that.

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        • Ruben Amaro says:

          Oh yes we are. Howard, Rollins and Utley are gonna party like it’s 2006.

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    • Pinch says:

      Yeah, that is… way too much for Cole Hamels. Xander’s stock might’ve fallen some this year, but he’s still TWENTY-ONE, so describing him as “salvageable” seems pretty optimistic from a Phillies perspective. Plus, RAJ hates prospects. I can see a deal for Hamels to the Red Sox happening, but not that deal.

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      • tz says:

        As a Red Sox fan, I’d love to see RAJ offer them Hamels for a package of Cespedes, Holt, Middlebrooks, and Joe Kelly.

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        • LaLoosh says:

          won’t be Cespedes but Craig could certainly be part of the package. Craig, JBJ, Barnes & another arm…

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        • Buns Slugsworth says:

          Craig with his full contract has negative trade value. How do you think the Red Sox got Kelly for Lackey? It wasn’t just the Cardinals stretch run and Lackey’s neat vesting 2015 contract. The Sox needed to assume some negative value to get Kelly’s huge cheap upside.

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        • LaLoosh says:

          I assume “Kelly’s huge cheap upside” is said in jest.

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        • bmarkham says:

          As a Cardinals fan I can say Kelly’s “upside” is a set-up man/closer. Awesome person though.

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      • Garrett says:

        Xander still has plenty of upside but let’s not pretend that this year hasn’t hurt his trade value. He’s approaching a full season under his belt and has been absolutely horrible since the beginning of June. And I mean horrible. Since the 8th of June …

        146/188/211 … 182 wOBA … 4 wRC+. In 213 PA’s he’s walked 12 times and K’d another 60. He hasn’t stolen a base. You could make a strong argument that he has been the worst player in baseball over the past 2.5 months.

        SSS aside, Xander has looked completely over matched. He should be in the minors working things out. He’s got no business being on a major league roster right now. He’s young and I’d certainly bet that he turns things around eventually but he is also very far from a sure thing … or anything resembling a sure thing.

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        • Mike G says:

          At the same age, Tulo was in AA. So anyone dropping Xander’s stock is foolish.

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        • Tom says:

          Forget Tulo. The average age of a Sally league player is 21.

          Xander’s value hasn’t dropped so much as it hasn’t taken the giant leap forward that it could have.

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        • redsoxu571 says:

          The hope was that Bogaerts would immediately prove to be a very good MLB player. He’s shown flashes (in the playoffs last year and for a stretch this year), and as young players are known to do he’s hit an AWFUL stretch.

          But early in a career that we’re trying to analyze, there isn’t much point in just looking at the season as a whole…that’s how seasons work, but not skills. The good stretches show what Bogaerts is already capable of, and that’s what matters most. The other stuff was what we hoped wouldn’t be there, but will likely go away with experience.

          Fans react all too quickly, but I would venture that the view on Bogaerts hasn’t changed an ounce, in the baseball world.

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    • Spa City says:

      Goodness I hope not. Nothing against Hamels, but there is not that much excess value in his huge contract, and as a pitcher he is always one pitch from having zero value. I cannot imagine including Xander in any deal for an expensive pitcher.

      Boston might take advantage of Ruben Amaro Jr’s intellectual deficiencies to acquire Hamels for Allen Craig and Koji Uehara. That seems like a deal RAJ would love.

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      • tz says:

        Haha, they better move fast, because Koji will be a free agent at the end of the year.

        Can you imagine the uproar in Philly?

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      • Oliver says:

        It’s not so much that there’s excess value as there simply aren’t that many aces who hit free agency any more. Not only that but he’s only owed something like 110 million (with options). Bets on what Scherzer gets? It’ll be another 50 million over that for sure.

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        • tz says:

          This is why I, as a Red Sox fan, wouldn’t mind giving up a combo of a redundant player or two and a non-Mookie prospect or two for Hamels. You’re not stuck paying him $25M+ for seasons in his mid to late 30’s.

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    • midwesternnewenglander says:

      1. There is no way Cherington would do that.

      2. There is no way Ruben would do that.(Type Ruben Amaro Jr into Google, first two auto-completes: Ruben Amaro Jr Fired, Ruben Amaro Jr Worst GM)

      3. JBJ is like Revere with no bat but better defense, a little redundant.

      4. I think it’s more likely you see a package with Vasquez, Manuel Margot / Will Middlebrooks, and a Matt Barnes / Eduardo Escobar.

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      • tz says:

        Saying Revere with no bat is a little redundant, actually.

        (And JBJ had great numbers in the minors, so there’s always hope he could become a poor man’s Ellsbury at the plate. I mean, Carlos Gomez didn’t start to hit until his mid 20’s.)

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    • D says:

      you must be kidding, cole hamels at best can fetch one of JBJ , bogaerts.
      Look what david price fetched, .. not much. Cole hamels is worht less because of his huge contract.

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    • JimonNC says:

      The Red Sox would be more likely to trade the Bunker Hill Monument this winter than Xander Bogaerts.

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      • Jason B says:

        That monument has such poor range. Where would you even play him? He’s a freakin’ statue out there!

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  8. grant says:

    Between the health of Craig and Victorino, and the inherent risks with the youngsters, the too many outfielders issue will certainly sort itself out.

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    • bmarkham says:

      yup. A 162 game season always reveals that “too much depth” is an illusion. The Red Sox are collecting value where they can, and as someone who is not a Red Sox fan I think it’s a smart idea.

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  9. Spa City says:

    The Sox lost nothing in this but money, and they have plenty of that. $10M/year (AAV) for an excellent defensive CFer who should be able to hit at least moderately well is not a lot of money these days.

    I keep hearing that the Sox have “too many” outfielders, but with injuries, unexpected regression and offseason trades there is really no such thing as “too many” outfielders.

    Mookie Betts should get some time at 3B and Short for the rest of the year, and possibly in Arizona during the fall. He is an excellent athlete and everybody who has met him knows he is an intelligent, focused player who is committed to baseball. He should be able to handle any position other than pitcher or catcher.

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    • LaLoosh says:

      Despite the poor season, I have to believe Bogaerts is still the Sox SS of the future. I would expect the Sox 2015 OF to be some combo of Cespedes, Betts, Victorino & Rusney. Craig probably gets moved and JBJ either back in AAA or also dealt.

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      • Spa City says:

        I agree with you about Xander. He can hit, and the Sox should have plenty of patience with him. My thought is that if Betts can handle short, he can handle 3B too. So the Sox could make sure he gets time at short between now and spring training to maximize their options.

        I know the limitations of the “eye test” and I am no scout, but having seen Mookie play frequently I strongly believe he could handle 3B or SS if given enough time.

        I suspect we will see Cespedes, Castillo and Victorino as the starters next year, with Craig getting a lot of appearances as a corner OFer and primary backup at 1B and DH.

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        • Kawa Small says:

          Scouts say Mookie doesn’t have the arm for third. Short is pushing it too.

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        • tz says:

          Some don’t. I gotta agree with Spa City, Betts should be given a long look at one of the infield positions.

          I mean, if David Eckstein could handle short…

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        • Mike G says:

          Mookie started out as a SS…there’s a reason why they switched him to 2B.

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        • tz says:

          …and his name is Xander Bogaerts

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        • james wilson says:

          “Scouts say Mookie doesn’t have the arm for third.” Scouts are being foolish. 3B does not require a good arm, and even less so than at 2B. A stong arm will turn more plays at 2B to steal outs than a third baseman will ever do.

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  10. vivalajeter says:

    I’m very curious to see how he performs. In an article on Gammons’ website, he wrote: “He was really good,” says one general manager. “He showed everything—power, speed, defensive ability. He hasn’t been a big performer in Cuba, but he looks like he could be really interesting. My guess is a 20 homer, 30 steal center fielder who might be able to play second base. He’s a free swinger, but that can improve.”

    “He hasn’t been a big performer in Cuba….He’s a free swinger”. Those worry me. When the last few players defected, it was a matter of how much of a drop-off there’d be from their monster numbers in Cuba. If this guy hasn’t been a great performer there, is he really going to step it up in America? From Baseball America “Last season was a down year for Castillo, however, as he hit .274/.377/.399 in 68 games.”

    It seems like he has the tools from a scouting perspective, but most of the descriptions seem to be promising for a 21 year old, and much less so for a 27 year old.

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    • Ben says:

      A guy who can play a credible CF with a .340+ OBP is definitely a valuable MLB player, and his DOWN year in Cuba was .377. Might not be as good as Puig or Abreu, but he’ll be worth the money almost certainly.

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      • Preston says:

        Why do you think he’ll post a .340 OBP. Over their last three seasons in Cuba Abreu posted a .537 OBP in Cuba and has a .361 in MLB. Cespedes posted a .420 OBP, .314 MLB, and Alexei Ramirez posted a .419, .316 MLB. All of those players OBP adjusted down over .100 points in MLB. Castillo posted a .383 OBP over his final three years in Cuba. I think a .340 OBP is pretty optimistic for him. If his OBP adjusts down .100 points like other Cuban converts he’s not even an MLB bench player, let alone a quality starter.

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  11. Jim Lahey says:

    RF – Shane Victorino
    2B – Dustin Pedroia
    DH – David Ortiz
    LF – Yeonis Cespedes
    1B – Mike Napoli
    CF – Rusney Castillo
    SS – Xander Bogaerts
    3B – WMB / Cecchini / some FA / somebody via trade.
    C – Christian Vazquez

    Leaving 1B/LF/RF Allen Craig on the bench to rotate through and get ~350 PAs a la Mike Carp. That certainly looks good on paper both offensively/defensively… wish I knew more about Castillo’s upside (probably everyone else too…).. or their ability to acquire SP since those are lacking at the moment.

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    • LaLoosh says:

      I think you’re forgetting Betts in there, probably CF. And I expect Panda to be the next Sox 3Bman. No way do the Sox let a protected 1st rd pick go to waste.

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      • tz says:

        Which is why I’m almost ready to believe they have a shot of bringing back Lester, unless the bidding goes totally ridiculous on him.

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        • Atreyu Jones says:

          The pick situation is irrelevant with Lester, he can’t be offered the QO.

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        • LaLoosh says:

          more likely Shields. If they didn’t want to pay full price for Lester before, it’s more unlikely they will when there will be open bidding.

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        • tz says:

          With some of the FA pitching options I’m being reminded of here, I think the Sox could play hardball if the Phils ask too much for Hamels.

          And with the pick situation off the table for Lester, his price could go way higher than Boston would ever consider, like LaLoosh said.

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        • Mike G says:

          Lester is coming back. It’s pretty much a done deal. The FO knows they screwed up in the spring. They’re not letting it happen a 2nd time even if it costs them more money.

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        • LaLoosh says:

          ahhh okayyyy….

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  12. JW says:

    ESPN is reporting this as a seven-year, $72.5M deal. Drops that AAV from $12m to $10.25m.

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  13. Pumpsie Green says:

    Betts and Bradley Jr on their way out? Tough to play in a place where you’re not welcome. Thought the ball club was turning a corner, maybe starting to lead the way. I guess not. Got to give ’em what they want in Boston.

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    • Atreyu Jones says:

      Wise post – criticizing them for trades they haven’t made.

      Also, do you think Rusney Castillo is white?

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      • tz says:

        Pumpsie, I understand what you’re saying, which is why I’ve always given Jim Rice a high degree-of-difficulty factor over his Boston career.

        But, I just don’t see the current Red Sox management selling low on these guys, or their high-melanin Cuban players. Not after another high-melanin guy has become the face of the team over the past decade.

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      • Pumpsie Green says:

        As you’ll recognize from my screen name, I’ve long been critical of this organization for their failure to be inclusive through what appears to be a systemic approach that pervades almost every level. Ownership, management, coaching, players – it seems like I’m simply pointing out the obvious. And, I’m not the one who said Betts and Bradley Jr are being squeezed out – it’s right there in the last paragraph of the article. I do truly hope that heritage is not a factor in their baseball decisions whatsoever, and I’ll be the first to applaud if they do turn that corner. It just seems like they do everything they can to avoid it. The Cuban culture and background, of which Castillo was born, is a rich and distinct one, as is the African-American culture. My post was meant to specifically refer to the baseball club’s history in regards to the latter.

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        • Atreyu Jones says:

          So you think the Sox are inclusive of Cuban-born black people, Dominican people, Japansese people, indigenous people of America, Thai people, Canadians, and people from South America but remain opposed to including African-Americans? And hypothetical trades that they haven’t even made are further evidence of this?

          The organization has a shameful and disgusting history, but claiming that the signing of a dark-skinned Cuban man is evidence of its continuation is ridiculous grasping at straws and/or pure trolling.

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        • tz says:

          Nah. I just think a visceral reaction to the implications of Dave’s last paragraph.

          Squeezing out the only two African-American players on the roster would be very telling, given the track record up to roughly the Dan Duquette era. I think someone in the Red Sox brass would caution against sending a message by dumping Betts or Bradley for dimes on the dollar.

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        • Pumpsie Green says:

          What other conclusion are we to arrive at if, indeed, two African-American players are squeezed out with these moves? To be fair, though, they did draft Betts and Bradley Jr and their heritage was not a secret on draft day. So maybe these are purely baseball decisions. But until the pattern is broken, it remains a pattern.

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        • Atreyu Jones says:

          “What other conclusion are we to arrive at?”

          Any conclusion at all that has a shred of coherency.

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        • Mike G says:

          You’re right. It’s not like they’ve had a black dominican player as the face of the franchise for the last 11 years. Oh wait…..

          +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Jonathan says:

          What does this even mean, “until the pattern is broken?”

          Can they basically only trade away white guys until people forget their history?

          Mind you, I’m against trading either Bradley or Betts, but if either is moved it’s because Bradley’s stock has dropped like a rock and because Betts has enough value to potentially net an elite player in return.

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        • james wilson says:

          Yeah, well, they once had Pedro, Papi, and Manny sitting in the dugout together like three birds on a wire, cooking up reasons for why millionare Manny was being misunderstood and mistreated because etc, instead of telling Manny he needed to stop being a piece of shit. Maybe there weren’t enough Dominicans on the club to make him “comfortable”?

          The nice thing about stupid attitudes is that in an environment with thirty teams players will not be held down, they will go to places where they thrive. Everybody gets what they deserve. Not much shame there.

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      • tz says:

        No disagreement here. Though I do wonder if Dave was being a bit provocative in his speculation about who is being squeezed out.

        (And I will be royally pissed if either JBJ or Mookie is traded, unless there’s some crazy value coming back. That would be almost on par to non-tendering Burks while perpetually keeping “Gator” Greenwell.)

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        • Rick Lancellotti says:

          To be fair, Greenwell was the better player from 87-92 when both he and Burks were on the team. Burks also was hurt more often.

          Burks also didn’t get along with Joe Morgan (manager) and wanted to leave Boston. Of course, Greenwell was perpetually hurt from 91 onward and was non-tendered by the team in 96 when he was 32.

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    • Spit Ball says:

      C’mon dude that pig died with the Yawkey trust.

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  14. KCDaveInLA says:

    “these skill requirements for positions are outdated and mostly useless.”

    So does that mean we’re ready for a good-field/no-hit first baseman?

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  15. everdiso says:

    I don’t really get the hype here. I mean, sure, Cuban stats don’t translate in a linear way to MLB stats, but his stats really aren’t that good compared to the other guys who came over.

    OF R.Castillo: 26 – .770, 25 – .982, 24 – .922, 23 – .737, 22 – .882
    SS A.Ramirez: 25 – 1.046, 24 – .906, 23 – .904, 22 – .882 (MLB – 91wrc+)
    OF Y.Cespedes: 25 – 1.041, 24 – 1.043, 23 – 1.012, 22 – .894, 21 – 939, 20 – 1.039, 19 – .940, 18 – .853 (MLB – 116wrc+)
    1B J.Abreu: 26 – 1.083, 25 – 1.378, 24 – 1.544, 23 – 1.328, 22 – 1.068, 21 – .991, 20 – .831, 19 – .961, 18 – .676, 17 – .673 (MLB – 159wrc+)

    If he’s Alexei Ramirez without the elite defensive ability at a premium position…..then that contract turns ugly quick.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      I’m with you. It seems like they’re going based on tools and not performance, which is strange considering he’s 27 years old already. Plenty of people can show skills in a try-out without being able to crack the code at gametime.

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      • Preston says:

        When I hear that scouts like the power of a guy who got outslugged by Alexei Ramirez in the Cuban league I feel the same way I do when people tell me Ichiro could hit for power if he felt like it.

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  16. channelclemente says:

    So where did the 20 pounds of muscle come from, Wheaties.

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  17. everdiso says:

    The Red Sox aren’t bereft of talent at all, but man what a weird roster they have now. They’ve got a lot of work to do to sort things out by next year I think.

    Bradley’s now completely blocked, and Betts might be too unless his arm plays on the left side. They don’t really have a 3B, SS, or C at the moment. They’ve got 4 veteran OF with big question marks on guaranted decent money contracts. They don’t have a legit #1 or #2 SP at the moment, maybe not even a #3, and none of the kids can be confidently projected to be that kind of pitcher. Their one dominant ‘pen arm is over 40yrs old. They already have over $100m in guaranteed contracts just to 9 players for next year.

    Ben’s going to have to make some pretty impressive trades this offseason to sort this out I think. Not impossible, given that there’s still plenty of value in many of those assets, but it’s still a mess that needs sorting IMO.

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    • Tom says:

      They don’t have a SS or a C? Really? They have a guy who was the #2 prospect in baseball a few months ago at SS and a defensive dynamo at C.

      They need a 3B and one, maybe two SPs. Not exactly a big mess. And with the assets and money they have it won’t be that difficult.

      You’re also ignoring the fact that they were a very good team before they traded Lester and Lackey, they just didn’t play like it. I believe the projections still had them as the best team in the AL East (and we know projections are better to look at than YTD stats).

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      • everdiso says:

        I like Bogaerts as a prospect, and Vazquez looks like a good defensive backup, but are they really starting calibre players at the moment? probably not.

        And I don’t think they were a very good team before they traded Lester and Lackey. Their overachievement last year was more of a surprise than their underachievement this year, IMO.

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        • Eric M. Van says:

          Vazquez from day 1 has consistently framed pitches at a 4.0 WAR / 120 G rate, the best figures ever posted outside of Jose Molina, and entirely consistent with both scouting impressions and video analysis (which was done right here a couple of weeks ago). DRS has him at another 1.5 WAR / 120 (4 for 7 throwing out runners, plus a pickoff), also consistent with scouting reports that called him the best throwing catcher in pro ball. Scouts have always thought he’d be at least an average bat for a catcher, so 1.0 WAR offensively seems eminently doable. That sort of shapes up closer to stealth MVP contender than backup.

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        • bmarkham says:

          @Eric M. Van

          Doesn’t he train with the Molina’s in the offseason too? That alone should tell you how good he is.

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      • arc says:

        He’s a Blue Jays homer. His comments will tell you more about his issues than the Red Sox.

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    • Pollad says:

      I love the “4 veteran OF with big question marks.” comment. If Boston and Toronto swapped rosters everdiso would be here saying that Blue Jays have an embarrassment of riches in the outfield.

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      • everdiso says:

        embarassment of riches?

        CF Castillo (27, $10.5×7): ?
        RF Victorino (33, $13.0×1): 133pa, 87wrc+, -2.0df
        LF Cespedes (28, $10.5×1): 504pa, 108wrc+, -1.0df
        4OF Craig (30, $9.5×3): 405pa, 80wrc+, -5.4df
        XOF Bradley (24, ELC): 387pa, 60wrc+, +16.8df

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        • tz says:

          Homer or not, this Red Sox fan says “not so fast” on trashing everdiso.

          I do worry that the Sox are trolling around for talent, hoping to sort it out later. But, at the salaries these guys have, you’re not going to maximize the return trade value for any of them sitting on the bench. Same goes for JBJ or anyone else if they get stuck in AAA behind these guys.

          Two things that any fan should hate to see his team have:

          1. A top prospect buried like Nick Franklin was this year

          2. A highly-paid veteran pissed off that he’s been pushed to the bench by a logjam of players, like Matt Kemp this year.

          +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • bmarkham says:

          @ tz,

          I disagree completely. You think a fan would rather see replacement level production at a position than a logjam? Depth is an illusion and will be sorted out later due to baseball’s unpredictability. Franklin for instance was recently used to help the Mariners patch their outfield production problem.

          The Dodgers only have an outfield logjam when everyone’s healthy and performing, which isn’t enough of the year to consider it a problem.

          The Red Sox are trolling for talent because they can’t just pick and choose, they have to go with what’s available. Sure, if they were a mid market team they probably don’t sign Castillo, but they’re not so they did. Same with the Mariners and Cano. Second base wasn’t a hole for them so in that sense it didn’t seem like a smart move, but if they can exchange Franklin for value somewhere else then it’s all gravy.

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        • Pollad says:

          I’m not saying it is an embarrassment of riches. Read what I said again.

          And stop using YTD stats.

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        • Pollad says:

          So, one guy over 30 and he’s not going to be a starter. Man, they’re ancient!

          Victorino is still a 2ish WAR guy if healthy.
          Cespedes is 4ish, Craig is 2-3, Bradley is close to an average player himself just on defense alone. Again, using projections/true talent. And that’s not including Mookie, a top 15 prospect.

          Seems like a very deep position of strength, objectively.

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        • tz says:

          I like all these guys individually, and they’re each reasonably priced.

          But, the key here is whether or not someone will actually pay full value for one of the excess players. Jack Z deserves a lot of credit for getting full value on Franklin, but I can remember the Red Sox signing Jeff Reardon and then only being able to get Tom Brunansky for their existing closer, Lee Smith.

          If Victorino is toast, however, then this depth may actually come in handy. Boston should have the best handle on that situation.

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    • Jonathan says:

      Cherington is quite visibly (And vocally, he’s not been shy about it) working the anticipated market.

      This year’s free agent market is barren when it comes to offense and he’s spent the last month shoring up the offense.

      There is an absolute ton of pitching available, though. Lester, Scherzer, Shields, McCarthy, Hamels (Trade) and that’s just some of what’s going to be out there.

      With a protected pick, these kind of moves are the most sensible he can make right now to prepare for next year.

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  18. Mike13 says:

    Is Castillo playing this season?

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    • pft says:

      Depends on how quickly he can get a visa and if he can squeeze in some minor league games, and how he does in those games. Probably less than 50/50 although the Red Sox could give fans a taste with a few show case games. Another factor is if they have room on the 40 man, and that may be the biggest obstacle. I would say probably not

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      • Jonathan says:

        They DFA’d Corey Brown to make room. The bigger obstacle is the offseason, bunch of guys need to be added.

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  19. james wilson says:

    Strange year for Cherington. I wonder how well he is reacting to this. If there is a master plan coming out of this concoction of moves it will be revealed over the winter. If not, he’s just in panic mode. This is a really badly put together team. All teams overestimate their talent, but the Sox Red are slow to face up to the reality of some of their young talent.

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    • Jonathan says:

      He’s visibly focusing on offense in a depressed offensive environment with a coming free agent class almost entirely bereft of offense and very heavy with pitching.

      The rotation is a complete mess, given, but he’s done a lot to shore up the offense in the last few weeks and will have a very strong FA class to work with when it comes to reconciling the pitching situation.

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  20. Wayne says:

    In Cherington I trust…

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  21. fuster says:

    20 extra pounds of muscle and ” Castillo showed more juice in his bat than he had before he left Cuba.”……

    hinting at something????

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