The Boston Red Sox won the sweepstakes for Rusney Castillo’s signature. He is expected to sign a $72 million, seven-year deal with the Red Sox. Earlier reports conflicted about the length, but the 26-year-old Cuban star is headed for Boston. The new addition gives Boston arguably the most promising outfield in baseball with Castillo, Giancarlo Stanton and Yoenis Cespedes, who was acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics earlier this season.
Many teams were said to be interested in signing him, including the Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.
Castillo defected from Cuba in 2013, and — after acquiring Haitian residency papers — he was declared an MLB free agent in June. Via Si.com, he is exempt from the MLB’s international spending cap, as he played five years in Cuba’s top professional league. He has not played organized baseball in over a year but has been training in the norther region of the Dominican Republic.
After admitting Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington admitted working out Castillo, he was mum about Castillo.
“He’s a player we’ve seen and we’ve talked to, but we’re just one of several teams that have done that,” Cherington said Tuesday, via Weei.com. ‘There’s nothing more I can say.’”
Castillo is represented by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports Agency. It appears as if they’ve done well in signing the free agent to a mega-deal. Yasiel Puig — Castillo’s closest comparison — was signed for $42 million. The signing indicates a shift in expectations for Cuban players. With Puig and Jose Abreu setting a precedent for immediate success, teams like the Red Sox are willing to dole out a bigger deal for a player like Castillo, who is expected to assimilate quickly to the MLB game. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for him to make his MLB debut in one of the last 34 games of the Red Sox’s season.