The Boston Red Sox announced that they had reached a contract agreement with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo on Friday. The club made the signing official on Saturday, welcoming Castillo into the organization following their loss to the Mariners. The center-fielder will look to join the club for game action in September before taking over full time duty in 2015.
Castillo got the grand tour of Fenway Park, which he’ll call home for the next seven years, prior to Boston’s afternoon tilt with Seattle. He met with manager John Farrell and even stopped to sign autographs for some fans who were on hand. He was presented with his very own jersey later in the day.
It wasn’t all gloom after the Sox dropped their seventh game in a row. General manager Ben Cherington formally introduced Castillo to the media and fans afterwards, alleviating the damper and providing great hope for the future.
“We’re certainly really excited about this signing,” said Cherington.
After some in-depth scouting of Castillo, Cherington and the Sox were blown away by his abilities. His $72.5 million contract is certainly a refection of that. The organization feels Castillo will be a key part of the team’s future success.
“This is an exciting player. He’s got a great combination of skills, offensive ability, speed, solid power. He’s got a really strong track record in Cuba. We’re excited to add him to the organization,” said Cherington. “We feel like he can be a big part of wining Red Sox teams here for a long time.”
Every team across the Majors had their eye on Castillo though, it came down to just a couple teams battling it to acquire the international stud. Cherington admitted he wasn’t assured if Castillo was going to pick the Sox until they began discussing flight arrangements.
“I can only speak for the Red Sox, but I felt like we were given every opportunity to make the offers that we felt like we needed to make and had a good sense for what we needed to do to sign him. I didn’t feel like we were going to be able to sign him until we were getting a flight for him,” said Cherington.
The 27-year-old outfielder hit .319 with 51 homers, 256 runs and 76 steals in five seasons in Cuba’s major league.
Boston will be sending Castillo to Fort Myers, Florida, for some training. They hope to have him join the team in September. He’ll likely slide in and play out in center. Castillo will have an opportunity to prove his worth sooner rather than later and that’s something he’s excited about doing.
“It really means a lot for me to be a part of such an historic organization and I’m just ecstatic to be here,” said Castillo through his translator.