The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal on Friday, making a statement about the 2015 season.
While the $72.5 million is a record amount of money for any player that has defected from Cuba, the 27-year old seems like he could be just what the Sox need in their outfield. He will join fellow Cuban Yoenis Cespedes to help make Boston a lot more versatile both at the plate and in the field.
So why is Castillo a good fit in the Red Sox lineup?
Unlike Cespedes, this Cuban outfielder is known for his speed and all-around game and not the power he has with his bat. He has drawn comparisons to Andrew McCutchen and Yasiel Puig, which are probably far cries from what he will do with the club next year, but you could be compared with worse players.
The Red Sox have missed an x-factor type player at the top of their lineup since Jacoby Ellsbury left last offseason. Brock Holt certainly knows how to hit and get on base, but he lacks the dangerous speed that creates that game-changing proponent at the top of any lineup. Castillo can bring that to the 2015 club, whether it’s out of the lead-off spot of the two-hole.
Boston now has shored up a big part of its issues on offense for the next year with Castillo and Cespedes entrenched in the lineup. Ben Cherington can now focus on starting pitching needs, in addition to plugging in some veterans for depth that could help Boston get back to October in 2015.