The Boston Red Sox may be in last place, but Sox fans got a dose of encouraging dose of good news about the team’s future Friday when WEEI reported that the team had agreed to a 7-year deal with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. WEEI Reported That the Deal is for 7 Years & $72.5 Million
WEEI’s Alex Speier reported that the deal is for seven years and $72.5 million. The deal is expected to start immediately, meaning Castillo will be able to join the Sox for the remainder of the season.
As Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes, the $72.5 million is the highest total value even in a contract for a Cuban player. The White Sox’s deal with star outfielder Jose Abreu is for the highest annual value.
Castillo 7-year, $72.5M will be highest total value for Cuban free agent. Abreu still highest average annual value with 6-year, $68M deal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 22, 2014
2. Castillo Has Excellent Speed & Is a Good Line Drive Hitter
The 5-foot-9 Castillo is considered an elite base stealer and a good line-drive hitter.
Here’s what his baseball-reference.com bio says about him:
Castillo debuted in 2008-2009 at age 22; he went 15 for 43 with 3 doubles, a triple and four walks. He fielded .911, backing up Mario Vega at second base and Adonis García at third. As a utility man in 2009-2010, he hit .303/.333/.404. He became the starting right fielder in 2010-2011 and responded with a .324/.373/.555 line. He hit 22 doubles and 18 homers, scored 75 runs and drove in 79 in 88 games. He was 10th in the Cuban Serie Nacional in RBI, tied Urmaris Guerra for 9th in total bases (202) and led with 29 steals, 6 more than runner-up Yoelvis Leyva. He was caught only six times. Surprisingly, he had only stolen successfully twice in eight tries over his first two campaigns.
3. Several Teams Had Been Interested in Castillo
Several other big-market teams, including the Yankees and Tigers, had been interested in Castillo, with the Red Sox and Tigers emerging as the finalists.
4. The Sox Are in Desperate Need of Offense
After one of the best offenses in baseball led the Sox to their third World Series championship in 10 years last year, the offense has plummeted to one of the worst in baseball this year — the main reason the team is in last place heading into a weekend series against the Seattle Mariners.
5. Castillo Will be the 2nd Cuban Outfielder on the Sox
Castillo will join Yoenis Cespedes as Cuban player on the Boston roster. The Sox acquired Cespedes at the trade deadline in the deal that sent Jon Lester to Oakland. Jonny Gomes also went to the A’s in the trade.