Though the Boston Red Sox possess one of the best and most talented Minor league systems in baseball there has been one area they have lacked. That area is in signing Cuban players that have defected from their homelands.
We have seen players such as Yasiel Puig (LA Dodgers $42m), Yoenis Cespedes (Oakland $32m), Jose Abreu (Chicago WS $68m) among others enter the country and be snatched up by teams yet none signed by the Red Sox.
Some of the excuses I’ve read suggest a lack of being able to scout the players properly as a reason to not shell out the money. I believe this to be an excuse, as other teams don’t seem to have issue with getting information they need before handing out contracts that by today’s standards are not considered exorbitant. Whatever the reason, Ben Cherington and the Red Sox must act now and secure not one but two of the available Cuban outfielders.
Available now is:
Rusney Castillo: A 26-year-old Center fielder who had been one of the top players in Cuba. Castillo was the Cuba national team’s Center fielder at the World Cup in October 2011. He hit .512/.524/.854 in 10 games, going 21-for-41, with 2 HR’s, 2 Triples, 4 Doubles, 1 Walk and 2 Strikeouts.
In 2011-12, Castillo hit .332/.395/.545 in 420 plate appearances, hitting 16 HR’s with 32 Walks, 42 Strikeouts and 22 Stolen Bases (29 attempts). He led the league with 28 Doubles, and tied for 3rd (in the league) in steals.
Rusney is best known for his speed. Said to be represented by; Rap artist Jay Z (Roc Nation).
Available after establishing Residency:
Yasmani Tomas: A 23 tear old Power hitting (70-grade raw power) corner Outfielder. Tomas batted .375/.412/.813, with 2 HR’s, 1 Double and 5 RBI during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He also hit (the stats vary depending where you look) between .275 and .286 for Cuba’s “Industriales” team last season with 10-15 HR’s and 60 RBIs in a 90-game Regular season, including 7 Playoff games. His power numbers had dipped recently but that is believed to be due to a shoulder injury incurred while running into a wall during a catch.
Power is lacking from this years team and it isn’t likely to improve going forward and the Red Sox minor league system is short on power to say the least. So the time is now (and going forward) for the Sox to be proactive. They need to act swiftly and aggressively in acquiring said talent, regardless of money. Continuing to pass up on the next Puig… would be to the further detriment of this organization.
The Red Sox cannot afford to continue to let talent like this slip past their grasp. Go Sox!