Kevin Aherne (@KAherne17)
Cuban defector Rusney Castillo has reportedly agreed to a six-year, $72.5 million dollar deal to join the Boston Red Sox according to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes.
Castillo, a natural center fielder, projects to be a more effective right fielder in Major League Baseball, and is the likely heir-apparent to Sox veteran Shane Victorino. Victorino, 33, is currently sitting out the remainder of 2014, recovering from back surgery, and is under contract through 2015.
"[Castillo's] best tool is his speed," accoding to Baseball America. "He’s an above-average runner and one of the better base stealers in Cuba. More of a doubles hitter than a big home run threat, Castillo puts a charge into the ball with a line-drive righthanded swing."
The signing of the 27-year old Castillo to a long-term, multi-million dollar deal comes amid a surge of Cuban defectors who have made immediate impacts at the Major League level. Among that group is current Red Sox left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, whom Boston acquired via trade with Oakland at July's trade deadline.
Currently, there are 23 active Cuban defectors in Major League Baseball, five of whom were All-Stars in 2014.
In five seasons with the Ciego de Avila Tigres of Cuba's La Serie Nacional, Castillo hit for .315 batting average, 42 home runs, 192 RBI, and 68 stolen bases. He will likely report to Boston's Rookie Level team in Fort Myers for workouts and training.
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