Photo Credit: PawSox Twitter Account
Rusney Castillo will not be in Boston this season despite his probable International League batting title. Luxury Tax issues have forced the one highly regarded Castillo to remain in the minors.
The Red Sox may have a batting champion this season with a titillating race between J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts, but they have another batting champion only he is sequestered at Pawtucket (AAA) and that is Rusney Castillo who as of 8/27 has a comfortable nine-point lead over Joey Meneses of Lehigh Valley.
The former $72 MM international free agent Castillo has been the template for consistency this season as his average has hovered in the low .300s, but Castillo’s power output is rather on the slim side with the righty swatting just five home runs for the soon to be departed PawSox. WooSox does have a certain primal ring to it.
Castillo should be with the Red Sox or just about any other major league team. Castillo is comfortable defensively with good instincts and an above-average arm, but what holds Castillo back is simple – money. Sometimes you make too much money and in this instance, it has cursed Castillo to remain in the minors.
Castillo – now 31-years-old – is being compensated at almost $12 MM this season and is on the books for $26 MM through 2020. The Red Sox most certainly could add Castillo to their roster, but that means a luxury tax issue will take place. Castillo’s contract does not “count” since he went through the DFA (Designated for Assignment) process. No team wanted to absorb that hefty contract and the Red Sox were already reeling from “dead money” – most notably Pablo Sandoval.
Castillo would be of value elsewhere, but the Red Sox quandary is well-known by every general manager in baseball – sober or not. The Boston accountants would have to pay some or even most of the monetary freight to package Castillo elsewhere. And as far as returns? Do not expect any up in lights prospect to please come to Boston.
Castillo is simply trapped and part of the trap is Red Sox spending habits. During the season talk surfaced regarding needs and one need is certainly outfield support. Castillo would have been a fine addition in the mold of a traditional fourth outfielder, occasional pinch hitter, and occasional pinch runner.
What happens next is certainly up in the air. A fine dropping point would be Miami where Castillo – a native Cuban – could have curb appeal to the large Miami area Cuban population. That – of course – would conflict somewhat with the current business plan of the Marlins which apparently is based on fielding a team at minimal cost.
Elsewhere may also surface if the Red Sox can manage to cut their losses fiscally with Castillo. Maybe a semi-desperate GM will be willing to toss a low prospect and take off some of the Castillo payroll? No matter how it is packaged apparently Castillo will remain in the minors until he becomes cost-effective.