The trading deadline passes at 4 p.m. Thursday, at which time 27-year old Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo will become the focus of the baseball—and twitter—world.
Castillo held a workout in Miami last Saturday attended by nearly 100 scouts representing 28 teams. “He was really good,” says one general manager. “He showed everything—power, speed, defensive ability. He hasn’t been a big performer in Cuba, but he looks like he could be really interesting. My guess is a 20 homer, 30 steal center fielder who might be able to play second base. He’s a free swinger, but that can improve.”
The Phillies Tuesday had the first private workout, the Red Sox have one in Ft. Myers Friday, and more will follow. The Astros only sent a young scout with less than a year’s experience, but they are trying to get a private workout and could jump in as well, especially after their draft fiasco.
Castillo has a Jim Wynn build, one that some baseball people think could produce up to 30 homers. “He’s got a lot of energy, like Yasiel Puig, and he has a lot of fun,” says one club representative. “This could be an interesting bidding war.”
The Phillies and Red Sox are expected to be big early players, and don’t discount Houston. The Yankees want in, but one GM cautions, “with Alex Rodriguez going back on their books next year, signing Castillo could cost them an extra $15-20M in luxury tax penalties.”
“Don’t be surprised if the bidding goes north of $40M,” says one club official. “The talent is there. And look at how Jay-Z marketed Robinson Cano.”