Can Rusney Castillo Make It Back To Boston?

Judging by the look on his face in the locker room down in Pawtucket, it’s easy to assume that Rusney Castillo isn’t really happy there. While a seven-year, $72.5 million contract would likely make most people not care about where they work, staying at the AAA level indefinitely isn’t ideal for any professional ballplayer. Despite hitting above .300 in Pawtucket this season, some still wonder if fans will see Castillo make it back to Boston.

Castillo’s high salary is one of many the Red Sox have given players who haven’t pannedcastillo make out in recent years. In addition to Castillo, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez have cost the Red Sox tens of millions of dollars. The latter two’s value plummeted from a low point when they came to Boston. One would think the Red Sox would want to bring Castillo back ASAP to see if there’s anything else he can contribute.

Part of the problem is that Castillo plays center field. The Boston Red Sox already have an outstanding outfield made up of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Gold Glove Winner Mookie Betts. They also have J.D. Martinez and Blake Swihart that could replace any of those three if they needed to. So there’s no room for Castillo in Boston as an outfielder.

Can Castillo Make It As A DH?

Castillo has filled in as a designated hitter in the past, but again, the Boston Red Sox have this covered. J.D. Martinez is the team’s primary DH this season, and they have Mitch Moreland as a backup if needed.

The Future Looks Bleak For Castillo

Castillo is already in his thirties. This age makes it much more difficult for Castillo to not only come back to Boston but stay there. According to sonsofsamhorn.com, since 1950 only 1,267 players played their first game in the majors at age 27 or older. While Castillo has already made his debut in the majors, the fact that it’s so hard for players 27 and older to break into the majors shows how the odds are stacked against Castillo.

Castillo has no reason to give up, especially given the amount of money he’s being paid. But if he’s feeling isolated in Pawtucket it’s difficult to blame him.

Rusney Castillo is Now a Problem for the Red Sox

When the Red Sox signed Rusney Castillo to a 7-year, $72.5 million contract last August, many fans were excited. After all, teams typically reserve contracts of such length and value to cornerstone players who will be key building blocks moving forward.

However, almost a year into his exorbitant deal, Castillo has played just 36 big league Rusney Castillogames, and, at present, is suiting up in Pawtucket, as one of the most expensive Triple-A players of all-time. Accordingly, the Red Sox find themselves in a messy situation with Rusney, who, so far, looks to have been totally overpriced.

I was immediately suspicious when Ben Cherington signed the Cuban outfielder last year. At 26, Castillo hadn’t played baseball for almost two years, so the Red Sox’ decision to make such an enormous commitment was surprising. Typically, Boston has shied away from large contracts since Theo Epstein left town, even to the point of losing homegrown stars such as Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury. In this regard, it was quite disconcerting to see the team invest heavily in a totally unproven product, rather than experienced big leaguers with a strong track record.

However, once Rusney Castillo became a Red Sock, I was intrigued to see him play. To earn a seven year contract, he must be a special talent, I assumed. And, to a certain extent, that was correct. Castillo has some impressive raw tools, with the ability to hit for power and change the game with above-average speed. Yet, the more I’ve watched him play this season, the more obvious it has become that, beneath the promising tools, Rusney lacks a true feel for the game; a true understanding of what is required to excel at the Major League level. In scouting parlance, his baseball instincts leave a lot to be desired.

For instance, Castillo regularly takes unorthodox and inefficient routes to fly balls in the outfield, while, at the plate, he frequently looks oblivious as to how pitchers are trying to get him out. Earlier in the season, David Ortiz even had to lecture Castillo about giving sliding instructions to baserunners while on deck. Essentially, Rusney plays a very raw brand of baseball, more akin to the reckless sandlot version played with friends than the polished craft of the big leagues, where every minutiae is scrutinized and debated.

Now, I don’t mean to bash the guy, because he clearly possesses more athletic talent than the mortal masses could ever dream of. Just by journeying from Cuba to the U.S., he’s shown ample courage and maturity. But, quite frankly, his production so far simply hasn’t been worth $11 million per year. That’s an irrefutable fact. Of course, this isn’t necessarily the fault of Rusney Castillo, but, more seriously, it does raise questions about ownership’s overall plan, and Ben Cherington’s ability to carry it out.

Rusney CastilloSurely criticism must arise when such a costly player is performing so inadequately as to be routinely shipped between Boston and Pawtucket. Surely there must be some accountability from the executives and coaches involved. Surely there must be an answer to the same recurrent question: does anybody here know what they’re doing anymore?

Moving forward, Rusney Castillo may become a competent big league star. In which case, great, that helps the Red Sox immensely. But, right here and right now, ten games under .500 in another awful season, Boston cannot have a $72 million player, fast approaching the age of 28, lurking down in Pawtucket. It just cannot happen. Either Castillo must improve considerably and begin producing, or the Sox must admit their mistake and cut him loose from the present state of calamity and confusion.

What Will The Boston Red Sox Outfield Look Like in 2015?

Red Sox outfield

A few days ago the Boston Red Sox signed Rusney Castillo who is considered the top Cuban defector this year. He is set to earn $72 million over the course of six years. Based off this recent signing, Boston has arguably the most outfield depth in all of baseball. Now though, the hard part begins for Boston; now they need to decide which ones they want to keep and which ones will go.
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Possible Red Sox outfield for 2015:

CF Rusney Castillo
LF Yoenis Cespedes
CF Mookie Betts
RF Allen Craig
LF Daniel Nava
OF Brock Holt
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
OF Kelly Johnson (FA)
OF Shane Victorino
LF Garin Cecchini
RF Bryce Brentz
LF Alex Hassan
CF Corey Brown

As far as outfielders go, Boston has plenty of viable options, but unfortunately they can only use up to five of them at most. Certainly Castillo seems like a lock based off the huge contract Boston offered up. Expect him to man center field for the club next season.

Since Boston is looking to really compete next year, a couple weaker options can be eliminated. The odds of Boston re-signing Kelly Johnson are slim and with Corey Brown being designated for assignment after one plate appearance in the Major Leagues this season, his chances for a starting job are low as well.
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Of course with that being said, Boston may not need some of their younger players such as Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Bryce Brentz to name a few.

Alex Hassan is a platoon player who kills lefties so his services may be applicable and Garin Cecchini is a third baseman by trade strengthening his case for a spot on the Boston Red Sox.

Even though his OBP is dismal, Yoenis Cespedes seems like the favorite to win the right field job next year. Granted his 30 homerun power, Boston may take the good with the bad because his bat is tailor-made for Fenway Park. Not to mention he has a cannon of an arm.

As far as the veterans go, Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino and Allen Craig all may be out of luck. Despite being great options, Boston could go for a more appealing option and trade for Giancarlo Stanton. Now, Boston is in a great position to trade for the Marlins outfielder this offseason using the plenty of top prospects they have stock load of minor league talent in the upper levels. With this in mind, the three could be dealt this off season for more prospects.
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Right now, the Boston Red Sox are in a great position as far as outfielders go. An outfield of Castillo, Cespedes and Stanton would be the outfield of a lifetime — that is of course unless the 1970’s ring a bell.