BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox made a splash at the trade deadline by adding electric Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. It appears it may have been the start of a trend.
According to ESPN’s Gordon Edes, the Red Sox are “front-runners” to sign Rusney Castillo. The Detroit Tigers are the other team believed to still be in the running to sign the Cuban free agent.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday that the Red Sox are “heavily involved” in the pursuit of Castillo, and other teams’ executives “suggest the Red Sox are the favorite to win Castillo’s services.”
Castillo will reportedly make a decision within the next few days.
Castillo, 27, defected from Cuba last winter. The 5-foot-9 outfielder played five seasons for Ciego de Avila in Cuba.
According to Baseball America, “His best tool is his speed, as 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.”
BA also noted that Castillo hit .512 with two homers, two triples and four doubles in 10 games in the 2011 World Cup for Cuba. Despite that performance, Castillo was left off Cuba’s 2013 World Baseball Classic roster.
With Cespedes, Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu all succeeding in the big leagues, the Red Sox are hoping Castillo can follow suit.
One potential snag in the Red Sox’ pursuit of Castillo is the fact that the Tigers are currently hanging on to the second wild card spot in the AL, so the possibility of participating in the postseason is a draw that Detroit can offer but Boston can’t in 2014.
Check out some of Castillo’s highlights below. (Castillo’s speed — or lack thereof — on his home run trot at the 2:30 mark would even impress David Ortiz.)
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