Red Sox Outflank Yankees In Battle For Cuban Outfielder Castillo
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The remaking of the Red Sox continues — and this time at the Yankees’ expense.
Fresh off acquiring fellow Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes prior to the trade deadline, the Red Sox won the Rusney Castillo lottery on Friday, agreeing to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the versatile 27-year-old outfielder who recently defected to the U.S., according to CBSSports.com and WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman.
The Yankees were believed to be a finalist for Castillo’s services, and considering their ongoing problems on offense and holes they’ll have next season, they likely would have attempted to convert the 5-foot-9, 185-pound talent into a middle infielder. He played some infield during his time in Cuba Serie Nacional league.
According to Heyman, Castillo’s deal with the Red Sox officially begins this season, which would lessen the average annual value of the deal and, hence, the short-term luxury tax burden. If he can get a visa, Castillo could join the Red Sox this season, the NY Post reported.
Represented by Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, Castillo had an impressive workout in front of representatives of 28 teams in late July, including four from the Yankees.
Castillo, who has an above-average arm and plenty of speed, last played competitively in 2012, but during his time in the Cuban league hit .315 with a .501 slugging percentage and an .881 OPS.
The Yankees will likely be looking near and far during the offseason to replace shortstop Derek Jeter, who is retiring after this season. They might have their second baseman in Martin Prado, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Yankees will also consider Stephen Drew at either position.
New York’s starting outfield next season figures to be Brett Gardner in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center and Carlos Beltran in right, as all three are locked up long term.
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