Tuesday update: The Tigers seem like they're in the race to acquire the services of Rusney Castillo after a few teams have dropped off the pace. The latest salary figure being mentioned, though? $55 million.
Hearing bidding for Rusney Castillo is wild, above $55M. Cubs don't appear to see value in that. May be battle between Detroit & Boston.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 19, 2014
The Detroit Tigers need an outfielder after trading Austin Jackson. Cuban defector Rusney Castillo is an outfielder. Good match? Maybe.
The Tigers were listed among four "major players" for Castillo's services, Joel Sherman of the N.Y. Post reported. The Red Sox and Yankees were also listed. Additional teams thought to be involved are the Cubs and Phillies, who are either long shots or favorites, depending who you ask. Of course there could also be mystery teams. Twenty-eight clubs watched Castillo work out in late July. And hey, the Dodgers aren't actually linked, but why not them?
I wrote about Castillo for SB Nation today, so for a full primer read that post. But for the condensed version, with Baseball America earning credit for the bulk of the sketch: The 27-year-old Castillo is a 5'9, 205-pound right-handed batting center fielder. He's said to have some pretty nice power possibility and scouts like his bat, though his swing, like the swing of other Cuban defectors, could be cause for a bit of concern. More than power, Castillo also has speed. Scouts have given him near top grades in that aspect. His arm is about average, and that's considered his worst tool. He mostly played center field and right field in Cuba though he had a bit of infield experience earlier in his career. Ben Badler of BA essentially called him a younger Rajai Davis with power.
The problem is that Castillo hasn't played in a game since late 2012. That's a long layoff. Scouts watched him perform, but game situations are obviously different. Some scouts believe he can join a major league roster quickly -- possibly right now. But it seems a stretch to think he can go from practice to a postseason race -- or even playing in the postseason. But then again, we haven't seen him and we're not scouts. So who knows.
He's thought to cost about $50 million across six seasons, according to Jon Paul Morosi. That's probably a better investment than signing Max Scherzer to a lengthy, costly extension. But Scherzer has proven himself at the highest level and continues to do so, and Castillo would be a lottery ticket. To be eligible for the postseason, Castillo would have to be on the Tigers' roster by the end of August. He still has to acquire a work visa, however, adding difficultly to the timeline.
He's intriguing. He's definitely intriguing. But is he the answer? Who knows? Who really knows?
But we'll likely find out where he's headed soon. By all accounts, a decision is imminent.