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!