Rusney Castillo Rumors: Monday

Here’s the latest on Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo, who has drawn plenty of attention from teams looking to add a bat this year and into the future …

  • Several competitors believe that the Phillies are the favorites to land Castillo, George A. King III of the New York Post reports, though that is not a universally shared belief. While Castillo is actively considering offers, there is presently no known timetable for him to choose a team and finalize a contract, King adds. Sources tell King that the contractual guarantee will likely fall in the $40MM to $55MM range.

Earlier Updates

  • Castillo is “moving quickly” toward choosing a club, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports on Twitter. As Lauber notes, the Red Sox are one club that appears to be strongly pursuing the 27-year-old outfielder/infielder. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reported early this morning that Boston was intrigued by Castillo’s skillset and was continuing to pursue him despite the recent additions of Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig.
  • The Phillies appear to be a “longshot” to add Castillo, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, who also notes that a decision seems to be close. Though Philadelphia GM Ruben Amero Jr. is in contact with Castillo’s representatives, Salisbury cites sources who question just how interested the club is in beating the market for Castillo.
  • Responding to a poll this morning, MLBTR readers say that the Yankees and Red Sox are the leading candidates to land Castillo, with “mystery team” and the Tigers the next most likely destinations.


103 Responses to Rusney Castillo Rumors: Monday Leave a Reply

  1. Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

    Castillo would be an upgrade over anybody Boston already has in the outfield right?

    • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

      There is absolutely no way to know that since he has zero ML experience.

      • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

        How many Cuban free agents have been signed of Castillo’s caliber who have not worked out? Lets see, Chapman, Abreu, Puig, Cespedes? All have done fine so far. I’m not saying Castillo is going to be as good as Abreu or Puig, but right now I’d much rather take a risk with him then getting nothing from Bradley and Nava.

        • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

          Bradley is in AAA and Nava has hit .294 against RHP this year. And not every Cuban player works out. It wasn’t so long ago they considered this guy a fourth outfielder.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            WHAT? Since when did Bradley get demoted?

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            Sorry earlier today. I figured you didn’t know. Betts is up.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Oh well I’m not complaining!

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            Watch Betts play defense for a little while. I’ll start complaining then. Although if we sign Castillo the point is moot. Then what happens with Craig next year? And we become too right handed. Not sure why there is a need to stock pile outfielders like cord wood. Unless both Betts and JBJ aren’t going to be with the team next year. Or unless they’re planning to trade Craig or Cespedes.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            If they’re expecting Craig to start every day next season they may want to reconsider that. The guy can’t hit any more. The only player I see them trading Betts for is Stanton, but I doubt Miami will want to get rid of him.

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            If they trade Stanton I doubt it will be this offseason. Craig still has talent, I just don’t think the foot issue is completely healed. i think he’s earmarked as a future first baseman after Napoli’s walk year. And he’s a defensive liability in the outfield. I could see Betts moving in a, perish the thought, Cole Hamels deal. But since the Phillies would also want Owens, Swihart, and Bogearts in that deal, I would think it wouldn’t happen.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            If they trade for Hamels I should just become a Cubs fan. It’d be a clear sign of Cherington completely losing his mind.

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            If ownership gives them permission to legit negotiate an approximate market value deal with Lester it won’t be a problem. If they don’t there isn’t that much else out there save Shields, and I wouldn’t mind him as a number two, but not as a number one.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            I’m hoping they’ll trade with Miami for Henderson Alvarez actually. If they can resign Lester a rotation of Lester, Alvarez, Buchholz, Rubby, Ranaudo wouldn’t be too bad.

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            I think it would be a bit too young. Need another veteran. If only because you don’t know what you’re getting from Buchholz day to day.

          • cjr45 12 months ago

            Why would Miami trade Alvarez?

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Why would they trade Stanton?

          • cjr45 12 months ago

            My question was about Alvarez not Stanton.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Everybody seems to think Miami will trade Stanton so why not Alvarez is what I say. Miami isn’t in a position to contend until a few more years despite what their record shows.

          • cjr45 12 months ago

            I knew what you meant I just do not like having a question answered with a question.

          • Austinmac 12 months ago

            I don’t think anyone has told management that. They will have Fernandez back.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            What’s wrong with Hamels?

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Because they can get Lester (who is better) for a better price and not have to forfeit prospects.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            True, but Lester could cost 6 years and will definitely cost at least 5. Hamels has only 4 years left. I don’t know about you, but I definitely value not having to pony up for that extra year (or 2), especially since Lester will be 36 when he starts that 5th year and 37 when he starts that 6th year. I also don’t think they’ll get Lester for much less than Hamels’ $23.5MM. That sounds almost exactly like what Lester will cost.

            I think trading for Hamels and signing James Shields is the best course of action.

            Edit: I must have missed this when reading your response before but how is Lester better than Hamels? Sure, Lester has been great but he’s typically been a mid-3.00s ERA pitcher with mid-3.00s SIERAs (or FIPs, whichever you prefer). Hamels has had an ERA over 3.06 just ONCE in the last 5 years and reliably post SIERAs around 3.25, which is typically better than Lester’s. Lester may not be any worse than Hamels, but he’s certainly not better.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Yeah but I’d rather give 5/120 to Lester than 4/90 + Tons of top prospects for Hamels. Makes no sense.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            Obviously you need the right package of prospects — I wouldn’t give everyone but if they sign Castillo then they’ll have Castillo, Cespedes, Craig (whom I guess I like more than you) in the OF, hopefully for the next few seasons. I wouldn’t center a trade for Hamels around both Owens and Betts, but I’d give one of them. I’d also love to get Lester for 5/120 but I’m thinking that 6th year might be sort of crucial.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Craig is expensive Mike Carp

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            I would be very interested to hear your reasoning for this comparison.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Check out their numbers this year and last. Only difference is Carp walks more and has less power.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            You need to have a wider field of vision. Carp has never had more than 313 PA in a single season and has batted over .276 just once. He’s also batting .193 with 0 HR and 12 RBI this year. That’s a level of putridity that Craig hasn’t even touched in his only bad season.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            You don’t understand that Craig has also been horrible this year. He’s had almost 300 more PA than Carp this season and has been 0.5 wins WORSE. He has been absolutely AWFUL this season, and has been declining every year. And he doesn’t bring anything with the glove or on the bases that Carp doesn’t.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            Haha how is he declining every year? Yes, this has been a terrible season for him. But it’s his first bad one! He’s been remarkably consistent over the three prior seasons. Plug Craig in LF, which requires no arm and no range, and you’re set.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            In non-accumulative stats he has gotten worse each season, namely his ISO, wRC+, SLG, and wOBA. Also note before this season he had played in more games each season from ’11-’13, leading me to believe his success was even more of an aberration.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            Haha c’mon man. 154 wRC+ in 2011 in part-time play — did you really expect him to do that every season? He was 137 and 134 in 2012 and 2013, which is to say he was nearly the same. I’ll definitely give you the power as I don’t think Craig is a 22 HR guy every season, but 15-20 seems about right.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Then how do you explain his 86 wRC+ this season? That’s a REALLY big drop off.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            I think I’ve already stated that I’m calling it a bad season and looking at his larger body of work and overall talent as a hitter and expecting him to come back and be better next year. Players don’t always do the same thing every season. He’s still in his hitting prime with 2.5 great years and one very bad year.

            His true talent probably lies somewhere in the middle, but to say “Because he was bad over the last 5 months means he will be bad from here on out” seems like extremely short-sighted logic that selectively chooses stats to fit your argument.

          • stl_cards16 12 months ago

            Look at my reply to you earlier with his ISO by season. Very alarming. Plenty of Cardinal fans were worried about Craig BEFORE this season. The only reason he was still a good hitter last year was his crazy average with RISP. If you believe that’s a repeatable skill, Craig is your man.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            I don’t believe performance with RISP is a skill, nor do I evaluate players based on R/RBI, and don’t forget that people were worried about him because of the foot injury, too. I replied above (sorry, didn’t see it until a minute ago). Summary: I agree with all of your points but I believe Craig is a good enough hitter, especially given his contract, to warrant slotting him in to LF (or better yet 1B if that situation resolves itself) and sort of hoping for the best. I think there’s a better chance we see 2013 Craig next year rather than 2014 Craig, but admittedly there’s no way to know.

          • jjs91 12 months ago

            Whether or not he’s declining or having a bad year, doesn’t mean he’s nothing more than a more expensive Carp.

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            Take a look at Hamels numbers against the AL, and tell me he’s better than Lester now. And then take a look at Lester’s numbers in the playoffs. Lester has a proven ability to thrive in Boston. Ask Carl Crawford how easy that is.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            Philadelphia is a pretty tough market, too. Also, Hamels has a 3.09 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in his playoff career — pretty good, too. I’ll definitely buy the “you know Lester can pitch in the AL East” argument, but Hamels is a legitimately great pitcher. He’s not Jason Hammel.

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            Nothing is a tough as Boston and New York. Hamels is a very good pitcher, and his numbers and Lester’s are fairly similar, but I’ll take the devil I know over the devil I don’t every single time. And Lester can be had without emptying the farm.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            I agree with everything here. I would take Lester at 5/120 over Hamels but I wouldn’t take Lester at 6 years over Hamels at a reasonable price. Of course this latter scenario requires the Phillies to part with Hamels for a reasonable price, which means in the end I probably would rather Lester.

            I’m a Red Sox fan but I’m just a little surprised how enamored people are with Lester after his first legitimately ace-like season. Postseason hero? Absolutely. But it’s not like he pitches this well every season.

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            This is clearly the best he has ever pitched, but that doesn’t mean there has to be a huge drop off between this year and next. He’s still a top 15 or 20 pitcher in the game, and those aren’t easy to come by. Admittedly there are pitchers like Kershaw, King Felix, I’d take over him, but they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            I think we’re sort of on the same page. I only take exception to the “Lester is better than Hamels” comment from above because I don’t see any argument that backs that up. Lester and Hamels are probably dead even.

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            I look at it more from a don’t mess with what is working. NL pitchers stats should be adjusted for the AL. And pitching in Fenway isn’t easy.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            For your well-reasoned and coherent argument, you deserve an up vote!

          • 108 stitches 12 months ago

            I’m not sure Mr. Amaro is asking for a haul like that for Hamels 31-34 seasons but if he is he can kick stones. Perhaps if the 23 years service time of Bogaerts, Betts, Owens, Swihart are not enough we could throw in Big Papi and eat Ryan Howard’s contract as well. :p

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            I wouldn’t say Craig can’t hit anymore after one down season. By that logic Bryce Harper can’t hit anymore. I wouldn’t bet on a full season from Craig but he batted over .300 in the 1,300 AB prior to this season so it’s not like he only had one good year.

          • stl_cards16 12 months ago

            Allen Craig, 30 years old, 81 WRC+
            Bryce Harper, 21 years old, 102 WRC+

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            You’re forgetting this for Craig:

            2011: 154 wRC+
            2012: 137 wRC+
            2013: 134 wRC+

            30 years old isn’t the beginning of the end. It’s still right within a hitter’s prime. Harper probably not the best comparison but my point is you can’t just say a guy with one down year all of a sudden “can’t hit anymore” — that’s way too narrow a field of vision.

          • stl_cards16 12 months ago

            You don’t notice a trend there? Look, I think (hope) Allen Craig can bounce back. But he is far from a sure thing. Here’s his ISO trend
            2011: .240
            2012: .215
            2013: .142
            2014: .111

            It’s not just bad luck or one injury. Allen Craig has declined 3 straight seasons. I hope Fenway can help him and he can get back to a middle of the order bat, he’s a long ways from that guy right now.

          • Bryan 12 months ago

            “I hope Fenway can help him and he can get back to a middle of the order bat, he’s a long ways from that guy right now.”

            I agree. Also, recall that 2011 was a half-season, which means it’s a smaller sample size and more susceptible to wildly good (or bad) numbers. I see those numbers as a guy who was unreasonably great in 2011/2012, declined to a more sustainable rate of play in 2013, and then has had a down season.

            Like you said, they’re buying low on a guy with potential, but I think Craig is a good hitter whose offense will outweight his poor defense in LF at Fenway. Is that a certainty? No, but even if he hits like 2013’s .142 ISO then he’s good enough (especially given his contract).

          • stl_cards16 12 months ago

            Trade Napoli , Craig to 1B. OF of Cespedes, Castillo, Betts, Bradley, Victorino. If all of them prove worthy of starting(very unlikely) that’s a good problem to have.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Why would Boston trade their best hitter in Napoli, a guy with only one year left on an affordable contract? Makes no sense to me.

          • stl_cards16 12 months ago

            “Only one year left on an affordable contract”

            There’s the answer to your question. He’s not a long-term solution and could fetch a solid return. Craig getting right is more important to the Sox future than Napoli hitting. Craig cannot play the OF.

          • Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

            Craig is a 30 year old with a negative WAR….

          • stl_cards16 12 months ago

            Yes, but they traded for him in hopes of him regaining his form as a very good hitter. If they’re not going to give him a chance to do that, the trade was very strange at best.

          • Karkat 12 months ago

            Reason #75234 why it was a miserable trade…….

          • stl_cards16 12 months ago

            I’m not defending the trade, just trying to make sense of it. And I really do hope Craig bounces back and Boston puts Kelly in the pen so he has a chance to stick around.

          • Victoria Roberts 12 months ago

            I would never trade Napoli before Craig can reestablish his ability to hit the ball. You have forgotten Nava and Holt in this equation. Unless they intend to trade them too? Although they are the only two other guys on the team who can play first base, so I would advise against that. And it’s only a good problem to have if Castillo lives up to the hype. If not he becomes a very expensive fourth outfielder, whereas before your extra outfielders were making league minimum.

          • stl_cards16 12 months ago

            I agree with you, but that makes the trade with the Cardinals even more puzzling. To me, by that trade, the Red Sox basically said they believe Allen Craig will be a valuable player again. The dude can’t play OF at all, so in order for it to work he needs regular AB’s at 1B or DH. Both are full now and Big Papi isn’t going anywhere.

          • 108 stitches 12 months ago

            Betts is not as smooth nor does he have the reps or the arm. That being said his arm is wayyyyy better than Damon/Ells squirt gun tosses. He has the chance to play a scratch to above average centerfield with his speed and more reps. Plus legitimate leadoff hitters only come around now and then and I at least want to see him have a chance to grow into the role as all his minor league numbers suggest he is a dynamic leadoff hitter. He’s only 21. He’s gotta play somewhere. Second base looks kind of occupied and they apparently did not like his future at shortstop although I think he may be better there than “they” think.

          • Jeff Hill 12 months ago

            earlier today

        • Karkat 12 months ago

          I feel like it’d been repeated multiple times that Castillo is not considered to be on the same level as the Abreu/Cespedes players?

        • Lloyd III 12 months ago

          I am glad it’s your $45 million dollars that it would take to get the deal done and not the Red Sox.

    • Bob Bunker 12 months ago

      Most likely worse then Cespedes who is on pace for a 4 WAR season. Then there’s Holt, Nava, Craig, and Vic who all have injury, lack of track record, or platoon issues.

      I’d take JBJ on upside over Castillo though because his defense is phenomenal, he was a great hitter in college + minors, and he is 3 years younger. If he can get to a .320 OBP he could be a 3-4 WAR player.

      So right now Castillo would be the number 2 OF but long term I’d take Betts and JBJ over him. If his deal is under 10 million AAV I say sign him but anything more takes valuable dollars from SP funds.

  2. ACX 12 months ago

    Advantage ‘mystery team’…..

  3. bobbleheadguru 12 months ago

    Castillo makes sense for the Tigers whether he can help this year or not. Their farm system is poor. They cannot give up draft picks to sign free agents. They are under the luxury tax enough to not have to pay (especially with no Scherzer contract). Their long time centerfielder is gone.

    Just don’t expect him to do much other than pinch run and be a decent defensive replacement as a #4 Outfielder this year.

  4. GD 12 months ago

    Come on Seattle!!! Pull the trigger. Added offense platooning in RF with Saunders WITHOUT giving up any prospects.

    Get er Dun!!!

  5. I’ve missed the mystery team this past year. I hope it can sign the creation that Dr. James Andrews is making with all the spare Tommy John ligaments.

  6. MB923 12 months ago

    George A King just said the Phillies are the favorites. Doesn’t mean much but not often you hear rumors of a team going from longshots to favorites.

    • NotCanon 12 months ago

      Cliff Lee comes to mind.

      • MB923 12 months ago

        Cliff Lee was never a longshot with the Phillies. He stated himself he never wanted to leave Philly and he signed with them the day they offered him a contract

        • NotCanon 12 months ago

          He was a plenty longshot with the media, who claimed for days (pretty much weeks, actually) that he’d narrowed it down to the Yankees and Rangers.

          Since we’re not getting updates from Castillo’s agent, but are getting it from the media, it seemed pretty apropos. Especially since the Phillies had the first private workout with him of any team.

          • MB923 12 months ago

            Fair enough

          • NotCanon 12 months ago

            To be fair, the Phillies were never really reported as a favorite on him until the 11th hour (and even then it seemed likely they wouldn’t get him), so this would be far earlier, unless we get word today or tomorrow.

  7. sflomenb 12 months ago

    Please sign him Ruben

  8. Phillyfan425 12 months ago

    This morning, we were long shots. Now, we’re favorites. Who knows. Either way, 83% of Phillies fans will be upset with whichever outcome occurs (whether we sign him or don’t sign him).

    • Dylan 12 months ago

      It would make Revere expendable this offseason, and after the years he’s had, he may draw interest. I am for the signing, even if it’s north of $50MM.

      • Phillyfan425 12 months ago

        I think Byrd is going in the offseason (San Fran is a sensible landing spot). Personally, I think if you put Rev in LF, he’d be a real good OFer (don’t have to worry about his arm as much).
        I, too, am for the signing. I’d also like to see us take a run at Yasmani Tomas (if he become “eligible” this offseason).
        I’m just saying, that no matter what he does, the large majority of Phillies fans will hate it because RAJ did it. If they sign him, the comments will be “we overpaid for someone no one wanted.” If we don’t sign him, they’ll be “we could have had a stud Cuban import for cheap – and the FO whiffed.”

        • NotCanon 12 months ago

          Revere’s defense in RF (in Minnesota) was crazy, crazy good. Over 761 innings he managed a 27.9 UZR/150.

          • Phillyfan425 12 months ago

            It’s more moving Rev to a corner spot – than it is LF specific. I just think that, with his arm strength, he’s better suited for LF.

          • Dylan 12 months ago

            Yeah. He doesn’t have the arm for RF…and CF

          • NotCanon 12 months ago

            For whatever reason it really didn’t hurt him when he played there.

            Now, that could be due to the size of RF at Target Field, which requires much more ground to be covered, and even a good arm wouldn’t get many assists… But he was seriously good there.

          • NotCanon 12 months ago

            I would think so too, except for how good he was in RF. He doesn’t have the power necessary to be a prototypical corner outfielder (especially LF), but if we get good power out of CF you can accept his high BA in a corner outfield spot… Just that LF is probably more valuable left to a worse fielder with an even better bat.

        • northsfbay 12 months ago

          The Giants don’t to trade very many of their top prospects. The Giants business model is to build with the farm system.

          • Phillyfan425 12 months ago

            In my theoretical trade (in my head), we send Byrd and Bastardo to San Fran for Lincecum, Blach/Blackburn (ideally, though unlikely, both), and Gary Brown. It let’s the Giants get out from under Tim’s contract – while being able to “replace” Morse and Romo for a similar cost, compared to their salaries this season (I know Bastardo doesn’t replace Romo – but he could replace Casilla, who would replace Romo).

      • NotCanon 12 months ago

        I would think the plan is to deal Byrd, actually… And there’s some definite questions about Castillo’s ability to play CF. You could put him in RF, however, or shift Brown there and platoon him with Sizemore.

  9. frogbogg 12 months ago

    You can make a Phillies/Age remark on any sign or trade rumor for them….. and it’s a homerun.

  10. Caught Looking 12 months ago

    So the Phillies are a favorite and a long shot?

  11. bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

    Mystery Team – Japan Swallows !

    • Ralph Esposito 12 months ago

      Syracuse Spitz? Not a tough call between Spitz or Swallows.

  12. S710b 12 months ago

    I hope my Phillies land him, but I don’t see why he would come here. The team is in shambles, and beyond that, I doubt he’d choose our gritty city (the charms of which he probably knows very little) over the glitz of NYC and the Yankees. Hopefully the Yankees luxury tax issues will keep them at bay, but we’ll see. And it would be surprising to see the Red Sox pay this guy when they have clearly refused to pay their own proven stars.

    • NotCanon 12 months ago

      Both cities have sizable Cuban populations (though nowhere near Miami, of course), middling-to-high tax rates, a fairly baseball-friendly populace, have stadiums whose LF fences range from short to average…

      If the Phillies pay him more money, I imagine that’s all the reason he’d need.

  13. Ralph Esposito 12 months ago

    $40-$55 million for a fourth outfielder. That’s insane!

    • stl_cards16 12 months ago

      Care to share your scouting report that leads you to believe Castillo is a 4th outfielder?

      • bobbleheadguru 12 months ago

        I suppose Ralph is looking at his “floor” not his “ceiling”.

      • Ralph Esposito 12 months ago

        Just reading many scouting reports on him. Ceiling is probably right handed Alejandro De Aza. 4th outfielder or maybe a third outfield platoon. Decent defense. Lead off man with speed. Not much power if any. Not worth over 5-$25 IMO. If you like him, I really hope your team spends a good $55,000,000 on him. As long as its not the White Sox, I’m good with it.

      • Sky14 12 months ago

        “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.. ”

        This was from BA, so the sentiment is out there. His showcase may have brought more aboard in the opinion that he can be a regular.

  14. Elsalvaje 12 months ago

    Very good player but NOT even close to Puig, Cespedes or Abreu, just saying

  15. Eric Droegemeier 12 months ago

    Is he? I honestly don’t know. I’m personally happy with Cespedes performance this year for us, but I’d be much happier going into 2015 if our outfield was Cespedes, Castillo, Victorino. Two of those guys would be entering walk years though.

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