Interesting stuff from Shi Davidi in his latest from Sportsnet, as he looks at the “interesting opportunity” that Cuban defector Rusney Castillo might present for the Blue Jays, as the “close to big-league-ready” 27-year-old gets ready for a showcase in Miami for interested clubs at the end of this month.

Shi explains why Castillo — who Ben Badler of Baseball America says is viewed by some scouts as an everyday centre fielder, while others see him as a fourth OF — could fit into the Jays’ long-term outfield situation:

The Blue Jays are sure to attend the event, even if only for information purposes, and they’re going to need outfielders next season.

Centre-fielder Colby Rasmus and left-fielder Melky Cabrera are both eligible for free agency, leaving Jose Bautista as the only starting outfielder under club control for 2015.

New addition Nolan Reimold has a year of arbitration remaining before free agency while farmhands Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar are the only real alternatives in the system.

Prospect Dalton Pompey has made significant gains this season but his arrival isn’t expected before late 2015, at the earliest.

That’s about the size of it. And though I advised not blowing it out of proportion, Jeff Blair did write at Sportsnet on Monday that “given the state of the market and everything we’re led to believe from the Blue Jays brass, neither Melky Cabrera nor Colby Rasmus will be back.” In other words, as should be totally obvious and not mind-bending, with $96.2-million already committed for next season — before arbitration raises and dollars needing to be committed to re-sign, replace, or pick up options on Rasmus, Cabrera, Lind, Happ, Janssen, Santos, McGowan, Thole, and maybe even Morrow — it’s going to be awfully hard for a team that needed to ask for players to make deferrals in order to free enough budget to sign Ervin Santana to compete on the open market for the services of their two outfielders. Shit, as we mentioned on this week’s podcast, at this point it’s not entirely unreasonable to think it could even be tough for the Jays to make qualifying offers to them, out of fear that they might take them!

Enter a guy like Castillo, who in a previous piece at Baseball America, Badler said isn’t expected to be the kind of impact guy we’ve seen out of Cuba in Jose Abreu or Yoenis Cespedes, but is well regarded by many — and regarded enough to be represented by Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency.

He explains:

At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Castillo has good strength for his relatively short stature and is an athletic player whose best tool is his plus-plus speed. He was one of the better base stealers in Cuba, going 22-for-29 in steals in 2011-12 to rank third in the league in stolen bases, one year after leading the league with 29 bags in 35 attempts.

Castillo can sting the ball from the right side of the plate, projecting as a line-drive bat who hits a lot of doubles and triples rather than home runs. He’s an aggressive hitter with good bat speed, though his swing can get long at times and he will expand his strike zone.

. . .

In his final season in Cuba playing for Ciego De Avila in 2012-13, Castillo hit just .250/.352/.342 in 43 games. It was an uncharacteristically poor season for Castillo, who in 2011-12 hit .332/.395/.545 in 420 plate appearances with 16 home runs, 32 walks, 42 strikeouts and a league-leading 28 doubles.

Obviously Cuban stats need to be taken with a grain of salt, but that sounds pretty OK. Y’know, as long as the price is right — and presumably it will at least be better than what Cabrera and Rasmus will command, for a player I’d certainly be more willing to bet on than an Anthony Gose (who, I might remind you, has slashed .233/.316/.302 between Triple-A and the Majors this year, with better numbers at the big league level!) or Kevin Pillar.

I mean… I don’t think we need to get ourselves worked up about this — according to MLBTR, months ago, when Castillo’s paperwork was being signed, the Orioles and Dodgers were rumoured to be interested, plus we all know that the Jays budget is pretty tight as it is — but it’s certainly an option, and one of the kind it looks like the Jays will have to explore for next season. And give the fact that Castillo “is expected to sign fairly soon after his showcase, making him a potential impact player down the stretch if he signs with a contending club,” there’s all the more reason for them to be interested.



Image via @rusneycastillo.

Comments (96)

  1. Kinda sounds like Bonifacio

  2. Just as a matter of interest did management ask the players to defer their salaries or did they offer?

  3. I wonder how much he’ll sign for though. anyone have an idea of what kind of figures we might be dealing with?

  4. Shit, as we mentioned on this week’s podcast, at this point it’s not entirely unreasonable to think it could even be tough for the Jays to make qualifying offers to them, out of fear that they might take them

    I’m tired of Rogers not giving AA more budget room. This is why sports teams needs to be owned by one person/group not a media conglomerate

    • Well, they’re in the top ten in MLB. Problem right now really isn’t so much the amount but how it’s being spent.

      $47M (34%) to Dickey, Buehrle and Reyes and $15.5 (11%) to Morrow and Romero, for example.

      But yes, that goes back to Rogers, because they needed to have more breathing room than this — as was obvious at the time they made those big, backloaded acquisitions — and the fact that they don’t is fucked.

      • do romero and morrow both come off the books next year?

        • Nope. Another $7.5M for Romero, and a $1M buyout for Morrow, if that’s the route they choose.

          • what would you recommend with Morrow?

            • The option is for $10M, so not that. Since you’re in him for a million anyway, I’d be fine with trying to re-sign him for something less in a vacuum, but given expected budget constraints, unless it was really friendly, I’d probably let him walk. Happ has an option at $6M and change, I think. Pick your poison — at this point, probably has to be Happ, no?

              • I think it depends on what the Jays think they are next year… if they think they are a contender then you almost have to go with Morrow the upside difference between Happ and Morrow is easily worth the difference in contract cost. If they give up the ghost on contending then all you need is someone to eat innings and Happ can do that just as well as Morrow.

  5. Fucking Rogers.

    Imagine what this team could have been this year if they’d had money to get a second baseman, a quality 4th OF, and another starter.

    Shit, even if this team had just kept Rajai and added Ervin, you’d have to think things would look a little better.

    • I would bet that AA knew this was risk when he made those trades, like if they didn’t at least contend the first year and make the playoffs the second year that he would unlikely mean a tightening of the purse strings. We have to remember that Rogers increased the budget significantly to get where we are. I would be curious to know what their profits look like 2013 and 2014 as compared to the previous 2 or 3 years… that’s what they’ll be judging this by.

      • I get that they’re spending $130M or so this year, and the payroll has gone up dramatically. But you can make a good case that it makes much more sense to invest that extra $20M based on where they were on the win curve (if you believed they were an 84-85 win true talent).

        I don’t know what the finances are like, but they could have torn it all down after this year if it doesn’t work out. They may still do that if they peter off here.

        • True, but it’s also true that AA shouldn’t escape blame because we just assume that it’s big bad Rogers doing something stupid here. He may have gone into 2013 with his eyes open about what failure would have done to the budget — he should have, given how long he’s been around this ownership — and decided to make that gamble anyway. That was probably still the right call (best to go for it while you have a middle of the order Manny/Ortiz-like combo at their peak than to waste their best years while building for an unknown-but-promising future, though he might have chosen a better way to do so), but I have a hard time believing he did it thinking that even more money would be there if they needed to keep adding after a 2013 that didn’t nearly hit the revenue targets they expected. It’s possible promises were straight up broken, but we shouldn’t just assume that and give AA and Beeston a pass.

          • it would be cool if you could talk to free agents first, sign somebody, and then decide to pick up options or not.

          • @Stoeten.

            I think you are right about this. Rogers probably told AA that he could get the money for the trade but after that he was on its own.

            The devastating injuries & underperformance of Josh Johnson, Morrow & Ricky may have sealed AA’s fate.

            Still, its shocking that Rogers doesn’t realize how close the jays are to a playoff spot this year.

          • Wrong. Go all in was wrong by building with an NL East knuckleballer, an often injured and vastly diminished SS, and a failing SP who had a couple good years in Miami, but has sucked and been injured since?

          • Yes. Exactly. AA is done at season’s end if things don’t turn around.

  6. The Dodgers are overloaded in the outfield as it is, so signing another OF doesn’t fit barring a trade or LA simply wanting to get as much talent as possible in the organization (especially since Rusney may be end up as only a bench guy, plus the Dodgers have money to burn).

    The O’s are quietly a very shrewd team when it comes to international signings, besides Tsuyoshi Wada. I’d bet on Castillo signing with Baltimore, then we’ll all complain whenever he gets a hit against the Jays.

  7. AA: “I know Melky and Colby enjoy playing in Toronto. I have every confidence that we will have the resources to re-sign them”.

    I guess whether or not they want to might be a different story.

    • Or, y’know, what they say publicly means nothing.

      • Or y’know, what they say publicly could actually have some weight to it. As you like to tell half the people on here, don’t be completely brain dead.

  8. Anyone here ever watch Cuban baseball? It’s an awesome bizarro-world version of MLB. Salsa bands playing from first pitch to last out, lots of energy, arguments between manager and umpire every six plays or so.

    My favourite is Victor Mesa, manager for Matanzas. Imagine a latin Earl Weaver, only even more fun.

    • The Cuban National Series even has its own Yankees – Industriales.

      • I guess you have to be there in person?

        • Once. But I’ve been lucky enough to be in Latin America while the National Series playoffs have been on. The way my schedule has worked out I’ve been able to catch games on TV multiple nights. Loved it.

    • My buddy Beau happened to be in Cuba at the time of the most recent Cuban National Series, and actually went to the deciding game. Says it was fantastic — 18,000 people making more noise than you’d hear in a North American stadium of 60,000.

  9. this has nothing to do with your post but I think it bears mentioning – have not seen this posted here yet

    Tom Robson is getting Tommy John – he is not a real exciting prospect but he is one nonetheless

  10. Isn’t Rusney Castillo a Boras client?


  11. If the Jays can get in the post season this year, perhaps there is an appetite to bolster the roster next year. Looking grim right now.

  12. Morrow and Romero.. the # 1and 2 in 2011. hahahahahahaha

  13. With Rasmus and Melky about to become free agents, I should say the Jays should be interested in this guy. One or both of Rasmus and Melky are going to walk at year end without a doubt so the Jays would be good to sign a Cuban star player like this.

    • is it my imagination, or does it seem like there are way less impact bats in the game than there used to be?

      • There was more impact bats in the older days because of steroids. Nowadays the picture and model of an “impact bat” has changed greatly. I think there’s more athleticism in the game today and a higher average of skill on a more even spectrum.

        That’s my opinion anyways.

  14. Hasnt Beeston always said the money has always been there when they’ve asked? Ha

  15. He looks like a fucking douchebag

  16. Andrew, are you saying that things look fine. They have a team stacked with minor leaguers right now.

    • Go read it again. Dipshit

    • I read that as “they have a team with a stacked minor league right now.”

    • Yes, I’m saying that things in 2014 look fine. Almost like, y’know, guys are going to get healthy and they won’t always have a bunch of AAA guys on the roster. Pretty simple stuff.

      • Yes they will get healthy until the next round of injuries at which point stoeten will say everything will be fine when they get healthy. repeat again next year

        • Go fuck yourself face

        • Love crybabies like “face” so very, very much.

          • At least they speak the truth and don’t see everything through rose coloured glasses like rogers employees

            • This is my favourite thing about you morons. You get called out for refusing to see things as they are and only seeing them the way your negative suckhole brains want, then in a sad attempt to combat these face-poundings of truth you go and demonstrate pre-fucking-cisely that you’re incapable of seeing things as they are, and that you only see whatever your negative suckhole brains want.

              I see everything through rose coloured glasses? OK smart guy. Excellent reading comprehension.

  17. grantland predictions up, fair but grim for Jays, suggests no point in even being buyers withvth

  18. I’ve often wondered if the Jays had someone who was a better than Rasmus to play CF, would they consider sliding him over to 1B. IMO, I’d rather keep Melky since he has probably been the most consistent hitter on the roster since day one, but if they could sign Rasmus to another cheap deal, why not chuck him over to 1B; he has the power to knock the ball to the 5th deck (just wish he could be more consistent), he’s shown some great feats of athleticism so he probably wouldn’t be the biggest liability defensively, and his sometimes lack luster ability to throw accurately kinda goes away.


    • Dumb.

    • No, just no. Problems:

      1. Finding someone better than Rasmus to play CF
      2. Signing Rasmus to “another cheap deal”
      3. Justifying taking that athleticism out of the OF and putting him at first instead of who?? EE or Lind who are both better hitters?
      4. Taking someone who has played OF his whole professional career and playing him at FUCKING FIRST BASE

      • 1. There’s always the potential, it’s not like he’s Griffey.

        2. Yeah, as in a team friendly contract. The man is good, but not at $7mil+/yr.

        3. Well there isn’t necessarily a full time DH on this team (people have been saying that on here for a while if I remember correctly), so EE could easily fulfill that role. And Lind has been a good hitter – as a platoon player/bench bat for most of the season.

        4. Because it is entirely possible. Swisher has spent a majority of his playing career in the OF, and oh, guess what, the teams he has played for, have still thrown him in at 1B.

        • 1. I’ll believe it when I see it
          2. If he continues playing like crap, which hopefully for this years team he doesn’t, he may be available for a good price. But what makes you think he would okay a move to first base, where he’s worth so much less in future contract negotiations? His legs won’t get any younger. The more CF he plays the better for his wallet.
          3. I’ve thought of a full time DH perhaps with Melky, but that can really handcuff the lineup if someone gets hurt as we saw with Bautista, leaving Lind out against righties. Not to mention EE is an awesome first baseman, so he shouldn’t be a full time DH, and that fills 1B.
          4. Swisher has played first base (albeit very sparingly at some points) for his whole career, he’s also not an above-average OF’er (don’t know the stats so that might be putting it nicely)

          It’s a hell of a lot harder to find a good CF than it is to find a good 1B. I like versatility, but it just doesn’t make any sense.

        • I think you’re drastically under valuing Rasmus and misreading the current FA market.

          “Not at $7 million/year”? We wouldn’t be LUCKY enough to get him for $7 million/year. He’s still probably going to sign a BJ Upton like deal, 5/$12 million sonewhere

    • You just accused me of being brain dead???

      • No shit.
        That’s about the weirdest scenerio I’ve seen in awhile.
        Can’t think of any way that it makes sense.
        Nothing personal ehPrime but you asked.

      • When you mindlessly reference advanced stats with the demeanor that anyone who doesn’t follow them is “butthurt fucktard” or whatever concoction of insults you string together, yes I do consider you slightly brain dead/ignorant/arrogant.

        Those stats are nice, but they don’t predict the future, nor do tell you everything on a game to to game basis. At the end of the day, everything gets averaged out, so in a sense they can lie to you once the season is over.

        • Dare I even address the logical inconsistency behind calling someone brain dead for “mindlessly” referencing ADVANCED stats, which by their very nature require thinking about and comprehending the game of baseball at a level more sophisticated than the back of a baseball card? Nah, probably shouldn’t bother.

          Actually people use advanced stats precisely because they are more predictive of the future than traditional stats, and usually do a much better of describing what actually happened in the past as well.

          Anyways, your Colby to 1B scenario is completely out to lunch for all the reasons outlined by others. If anything, moving him to LF and installing Gose in CF is a more likely scenario for 2015. That of course assumes they’re able to re-sign him, which will require far more than the $7 milion/year figure that, as far as I can tell, you’ve pulled straight from your ass. It also assumes he’s okay with diminishing his overall value by moving down the defensive spectrum, which would suck enough for him moving from CF to a less demanding corner spot, let alone all the way down the spectrum to first freaking base.

          If you’re going to hurl insults at the guy whose opinions you seem to care enough about to read the articles he writes, it’d probably be best not to so thoroughly embarrass yourself just a few inches down the page…

          • “Actually people use advanced stats precisely because they are more predictive of the future than traditional stats, and usually do a much better of describing what actually happened in the past as well.”

            Please feel free to prove to me how on earth this is ENTIRELY possible, because I don’t see how you can logically explain to me how an advanced or traditional statistic in baseball is going to tell me how well a player is going to perform for the year, let alone a day to day basis.

            Gose in CF and sliding Rasmus to LF I will agree with you on that point, and looking at it defensively isn’t such a pitfall/downgrade on Colby as you’re playing it out to be; those 2 would be running down balls left, right, and centre out there. If Gose could hit consistenly, it would probably be the scenario right now, key word being probably.

            But if there was no other place to put him on the defensive side of the field, being a left-handed OF leaves him with either being a first-baseman or a DH as the only other option for him, other than dumping him. So while my idea is far from reality, it isn’t entirely far from the truth.

            And my thoughts on him being available for less than $7million/yr are only due to the fact that he seems to be in a minor suck hole that he hopefully pulls himself out of, but if he doesn’t, he’s not worth Bautista like money. Hate on me all you want for that, but an increase in $$$ should be backed by top notch performance across the board, and right now he’s not worth the money unless he finishes the season close to how he did in either 2010 or 2013.

            • There’s nothing I can write here that will enlighten you as to the benefits of advanced statistics. You’ve obviously made up your mind that they’re meaningless, and if you were interested enough to actually keep an open mind and educate yourself you’d have done so already. This is the internet, after all. In short, a player’s past career performance (at least for a player with Colby’s track record) is usually the best predictor of what they’ll do going forward. Anything “day to day” is pretty much meaningless.

              Defensive positions are not created equal. You tolerate a lot less offense from a center fielder, a very demanding defensive position that not a lot of guys can field competently, than from a first baseman, which pretty much anyone in the league can field passably. Colby just isn’t a consistent enough hitter to have much value anywhere but in CF, where his great D at a premium position makes up for offensive shortcomings. He’s not moving to first base (the least valuable position on the diamond). Period.

              Obviously Bautista’s salary has skewed your perception of value in Major League Baseball. You’re right that Colby isn’t as valuable as Bautista (although he was more valuable last season), but Bautista is paid quite literally half of what he’s worth on the open market. If he were a free agent tomorrow, teams would be crawling all over themselves to pay him $20 million/year. That’s the market Colby will be entering, and which will pay him a fuck ton more than $7 million/year, maybe even twice that if he regains some form in the second half.

              • “There’s nothing I can write here that will enlighten you as to the benefits of advanced statistics. You’ve obviously made up your mind that they’re meaningless, and if you were interested enough to actually keep an open mind and educate yourself you’d have done so already. This is the internet, after all. In short, a player’s past career performance (at least for a player with Colby’s track record) is usually the best predictor of what they’ll do going forward. Anything “day to day” is pretty much meaningless.”

                So based on your point for a player’s track indicating how they’re going to perform going forward, Colby should have gotten even better after his first two seasons, not see a drop in production; Bautista shouldn’t be in the majors due to the short comings in his early years, and for shits and giggles, Mike Trout should hit .400 and have an OBP of .650 at some point in his career. Pfffffftttttt. This is why I don’t take stats at their face value, they are good for showing a history of performance, none of them can predict the future and they don’t factor in the fact that these men are human beings playing a game, and the shit that happens on a day to day basis for their performance can change at any moment. You can analyze the stats all you want, but at the end of the day all you can really hope for is the players to match their best performances and potentially exceed them, relying on numbers to do that is myopic.

                And if your telling me to use the internet as a source to further educate myself… Did you forget that nearly ANYTHING can be posted on here, and a person can find one thing to prove a theory they have as correct while their might be 100 things that prove them wrong, but they will continue to believe they are right as long as something agrees with them. I hope you weren’t serious, because that was almost absolutely fucking mind numbing

  19. FWIW
    Somewhere between “the sky is falling” and “once everyone gets back from injury everything will be fine”, lies reality.
    SP seems to be better and the bullpen worse.
    Offence is sputtering with the call ups and it’s not a given that when the regulars return they will immediately return to have their former success.
    How far behind can the Jays fall and still recover when those regulars return.?
    Valid arguments on both sides.
    Can we say, concerned optimism,is where we’re at?

    • why are you typing like oakville69?

      • Just trying to avoid the tl:dr comments.
        Still might not avoid them.

        The situation is ever changing with the Jays.I find that the condescension to people who have legitimate concerns about the Jays going forward, to be unwarranted.And just as true, the opposite view .

        • But the sky IS falling. Just because we all know why it’s falling doesn’t change the fact that it is.
          EE hurt, Lawrie hurt, Lind hurt, JB maybe hurt? Scrubs suck. Bullpen suckage…
          Sky doesn’t have to keep falling but let’s be honest here and accept that the past 3 weeks were a nightmare.

  20. [moron stuff]

  21. I remain skeptical that Rasmus gets anywhere near what most people are predicting. I think he is comfortable enough with the Jays and would sign on an “Edwin”-like contract. Maybe 2-3 years at a fair price in the hopes of landing a big one after a couple more consistent and healthy seasons.

  22. If only the team had signed Drew, Jiminez and Santana last off season, we wouldn’t be having…

  23. if melky doesn’t get re-signed i’ll be a little sad.

  24. Terrific article on Mark Buerhle, Esq. up at Grantland

    Hard not to love the guy.

  25. Jeff Blair Show this morning didn’t sound as if he thought Melky would be back. Or Colby either.

  26. If Colby doesn’t get re-signed, I’ll be a little happy.

  27. yes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *