The Red Sox announced after tonight’s game that outfielder Rusney Castillo has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. No corresponding move has been made at this time, though manager John Farrell told reporters, including the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato (Twitter link), that the club is happy with its outfield depth and won’t necessarily feel the need to replace Castillo with another outfield option.
Players being optioned to Triple-A don’t typically get this type of mention at MLBTR, but it’s also not every day that a player who is owed more than $56MM over the next five seasons is sent to the minor leagues. The move, though, isn’t necessarily a surprise when looking at the manner in which Castillo has been deployed thus far. Boston awarded Brock Holt the everyday nod in left field for the team this season, and with Chris Young serving as a platoon option for Holt, Castillo has essentially been relegated to an extremely well-compensated fifth outfielder. He’s appeared in just one game all season, collecting a mere four plate appearances.
The Sox undoubtedly would prefer that Castillo receive some regular at-bats, and clearly the feeling is that the best place for him to do so at this time is not at the Major League level. The 28-year-old Castillo struggled in limited exposure to big league pitching last season, batting .253/.288/.359 in 289 plate appearances, and a .183/.246/.200 showing in 22 Spring Training games didn’t do him any favors in terms of showing the club that he was ready for a major role in 2016. Castillo did post solid, if unspectacular numbers with Pawtucket last season, batting .282/.337/.385 in 172 PAs. The hope for the Sox will be that he can tap into some of the potential that prompted the former regime to sign him to a seven-year, $72.5MM contract in the first place.
While the entire scenario figures to be privately frustrating for Castillo, he appears to be taking an optimistic approach to the demotion, telling the Herald’s Evan Drellich: “I look at it as an opportunity to play every day and get better. I’m excited at the opportunity to start every day, which is what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Castillo’s option marks today’s second notable move involving a player on a largely disappointing contract with the Red Sox. Earlier this afternoon, Boston announced that Pablo Sandoval has been placed on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. No timetable was given for Sandoval’s return.