Friday evening, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers were viewed as the ‘major players’ for Cuban outfielding prospect Rusney Castillo. Sherman didn’t rule out the Phillies, but the fact that that he didn’t mention the Phillies name, pissed me off, and led me to perhaps overreact. Perhaps.
Yesterday night on Baseball Night in America, Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi discussed potential suitors for Castillo, and he did say that Phillies are a team that he continues to hear are interested. He also threw in the Cubs, Yankees, Tigers and Red Sox, all of whom seem to have much brighter futures than the Phillies.
Still, the Phillies, fresh off a six billion dollar television deal, do have the fact that reports have indicated that Castillo will go to the highest bidder in their back pocket. The Tigers are cash strapped as they have to resign Victor Martinez this offseason, will likely try to do the same with David Price next offseason (Max Scherzer is as good as gone), and they seem destined to have to make a move for a closer at some point. The Yankees and Red Sox interest makes sense, but they seem more likely to spend big on a starter. The Cubs make sense, and have the financial flexibility.
In the end, where Castillo lands may have the most to do with if he wants to jump straight into a pennant race this year. According to Morosi, Castillo may ultimately get a deal bigger than Yasiel Puig‘s $42 million deal, something like a six-year/$50 million deal. Two of the non-contending teams in the picture, the Phillies and Cubs, appear best suited to give out that type of deal, and probably should have the most motivation to do so.
Some reports have also indicated that Castillo still needs to get a Visa for the United States to play here, which he would have to get before July 31st to be eligible to play on a team in October.
If the right-handed hitter with pop does sign in the next week to ten days, it will more than likely be to play on the Tigers or Yankees, who would need to add him onto their roster before September first for him to be able to join them if they make the playoffs. If things extend past then, that puts the Phillies in a much better position to sign Castillo.
I think if the original signings of Aroldis Chapman and Yoenis Cespedes, both of whom signed with teams who weren’t yet playoff contenders, showed us anything, it’s that international free-agents tend to go to the spot where they are going to get paid. Given the Phillies current state, that should be them if Castillo is as good as we’ve heard. Given there history with international prospects, I’m not sure what to expect.