The Red Sox invested $72 million in outfielder Rusney Castillo towards the end of last season, assuming that he would be an integral part of the team’s plans in the future. Yet, so far, it hasn’t panned out that way. He’s spent a significant time in AAA Pawtucket and struggled to get significant playing time with the big league Red Sox when he has been up.
I find it most curious that Rusney Castillo hasn’t nailed down a consistent spot, especially recently. He’s been slashing .385/.429/.577 in the last nine games he’s played, with a home run and 2 doubles. According to Over the Monster, the rationale behind the team’s decision might be that they want to respect the veteran guys on the roster, like Mike Napoli, but it could also have to do with showcasing guys like Nap with the waiver deadline coming up.
The latter is probably the case with Nap, and also with a guy like Alejandro De Aza. Both guys will be free agents at the end of the season, and it seems probable that they won’t be wearing Red Sox uniforms come the end of the 2015 season. This is speculation, but I’m guessing that the Red Sox would rather get something for those guys than just let them walk for nothing at the end of the year, which makes sense to me. I would think playing a guy they gave $72 million to would trump that.
This is just my opinion, but if it were me, I would play the $72 million guy as much as possible—at least in his first full season with the club—and give him a chance to let him show what the organization paid so much money for. I think he has the talent to justify the big contract, but he just needs a consistent opportunity to show it. And yes, I know we have other guys—Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr.—but of those guys, Hanley is the only other guy making big money. If Rusney Castillo doesn’t work out I’m all for having the 3 guys I just mentioned be our starting outfield (OK, probably minus Hanley if his defense doesn’t pick up), but for now I say give the guy a chance.