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Boston signs Rusney Castillo to $72 million deal

Boston spends $72 million on Cuban defector Rusney Castillo

The only picture of Rusney Castillo in the photo database
The only picture of Rusney Castillo in the photo database
Dennis Grombkowski

The Boston Red Sox have signed Cuban defector Rusney Castillo to a $72 million deal that has been reported at both six years and at seven years.  I suspect the confusion on the length is because it starts this season, though he apparently will be paid a nominal amount for 2014, with Castillo getting around $12 million per year from 2015-20.

Dave Cameron writes about the signing at FanGraphs, and references the familiar comps of Shane Victorino and Rajai Davis that have been used in reference to the 27 year old Castillo.  The Red Sox obviously think that Castillo is closer to Victorino -- who they inked to a 3 year, $39 million deal prior to the 2013 season -- than Davis, who is basically a solid 4th outfielder.

Boston would seem to now be in a position where their 2015 outfield will consist of Yoenis Cespedes in left field, Castillo in center field, and Victorino in right field.  Jackie Bradley, Jr., was supposed to be the team's center fielder of the future, but Bradley now has a career .210/.286/.300 line in the majors in 494 plate appearances, and was recently sent back to AAA...he appears to be in a situation where he will be fighting for a bench job or representing minor league depth for 2015.  And then there is Mookie Betts, the 21 year old who has rocketed up the Boston system, and who is currently playing in the outfield for the Red Sox after starting the season in AA.

The Castillo deal also has a player being projected as probably an average regular getting $12 million per season for 6 years, which could inform the market regarding Alex Rios.  Rios, of course, has had an off year this season, but if you think Rios is going to be an average major league right fielder (or left fielder) in 2015, it would seem to put the $12.5 million the Rangers would have to pay him if they pick up his option for 2015 (a $13.5 million option with a $1 million buyout) at around market value.

Which doesn't mean that the Rangers will, or should, pick up the option on Rios, of course...just that, if you peg Rios as an average outfielder for 2015, a one year deal at $12.5 million is about market value.

UPDATE -- Also, read Grant Brisbee talking about how this is yet the latest example of how most amateurs get screwed by MLB.