Storylines: Red Sox sign Cuban outfielder to record deal
Rusney Castillo signed a six-year deal with Boston worth more than $72 million.
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Friday, August 22.
- Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo signed for a record six-year deal with the Red Sox that is worth more than $72 million according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (William Perez Villalba of Glorias del Beisbol Cubano first noted on Facebook that the two sides were in agreement on a six-year, $72 million deal). Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston later reported that Castillo's deal will be worth $72.5 million over what is technically seven years, as it begins this season. That contract would lock Castillo up in Boston through the 2020 campaign, which will be his age-32 season (he'll turn 33 late in that season). Rosenthal also noted that the contract will be heavily backloaded, with very little money guaranteed to Castillo in 2014. By structuring the contract as a seven-year deal, however, the Red Sox will gain a break on luxury tax implications. Castillo's contract also contains a limited no-trade clause, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Castillo will take his physical today, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported. Ben Badler of Baseball America's most recent scouting reports cite Castillo's 70-grade speed as his best tool, but scouts at his showcase noted that he had surprising power and an average throwing arm in the outfield, leading many to believe him capable of becoming a five-tool center fielder. Some have compared him to a more powerful version of Brett Gardner, though that is a best-case scenario outcome.
- Indians catcher Yan Gomes was diagnosed with a mild concussion on Friday morning, but the injury is not currently considered serious enough to warrant a trip to Major League Baseball's seven-day disabled list. Terry Francona noted that, following a visit with doctors on Friday morning, Gomes is considered day to day with the issue. The catcher was scheduled to do some light activity on Friday to see if there were any lingering effects. While Gomes is temporarily sidelined, rookie catcher Roberto Perez will serve as the starter, and first baseman Carlos Santana will be the emergency backup. The hope is that Gomes will be cleared to return to the lineup soon.
News and Notes:
- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is likely out for the rest of the season, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported. He will have knee surgery at some point within the next week. The Orioles announced last week that Machado had a right knee ligament sprain and had previously been hopeful that he would be able to return as soon as next Wednesday. He has been out since August 11, when he twisted his knee while swinging.
- In an appearance on ESPN Radio 97.5 with Mike Missanelli, ESPN's Jayson Stark said that he's not so sure there won't be changes to the Phillies' front office following the season. "They are certainly going to make changes in the organization," Stark said. "There's a lot of rumors swirling about all sorts of stuff below Ruben." Stark also noted that ownership outside of Montgomery may not be as confident in Amaro. Additionally, Stark pointed to Montgomery's firing of former GM Ed Wade back in 2005 — a move that was heavily influenced by the public opinion.
- The Angels have been connected to Bartolo Colon in the wake of these injuries, but Peter Gammons reported that he's heard Astros right-hander Scott Feldman's name in connection with the Halos as well. However, neither right-hander had been put on waivers as of late last night, and Gammons noted that it might be difficult for the Angels to land a pitcher on waivers because, as one baseball source explained to him, the Orioles and Yankees "are claiming everyone."
- Brady Aiken may have selected a junior college after being selected first overall and then going unsigned in a dispute with the Astros, MLB.com's Jim Callis reported. Aiken could end up at Yavapai JC in Arizona, which has helped develop future big-leaguers like Curt Schilling, Kole Calhoun, Bob Milacki, Billy Hatcher and Kyle Blanks.
- The Dodgers will change their Triple-A affiliation from Albuquerque to the Oklahoma City RedHawks next season, Michael Baldwin of the Oklahoman reported. Oklahoma City is currently affiliated with the Astros. Mandalay Baseball Properties will reportedly sell the RedHawks to a group tied to the Dodgers for a sum in the $22 million to $28 million range. Baldwin wrote that the Dodgers are trying to get out of Albuquerque, a difficult environment in which to evaluate prospects because its park is so favorable to hitters. The move is part of what could be a big shakeup in the Pacific Coast League, with the Athletics also moving from Sacramento to Nashville (currently a Brewers affiliate) and the Giants moving from Fresno to Sacramento. It's unclear where the Astros and Brewers will end up in such a scenario.
- The Mets have long been on the lookout for a shortstop, but while many have speculated on the possibility of a trade with the Cubs or D'Backs, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported that the team will take a look at an under-the-radar Cuban shortstop in the coming days. Roberto Carlos, a 28-year-old Cuban defector, is in the Dominican Republic and garnering attention from the Mets. Carlos left the Cuban National team in 2012 and defected to America, but he is believed to have "slipped through the cracks" because he did not initially seek representation after defecting. The switch-hitting Perez last batted .339 with four homers for the Cuban National team in 2012, Puma wrote, and he did have a brief stint in independent ball last season. Carlos, who until recently played under his full name of Roberto Carlos Ramirez, batted .357/.394/.425 in 293 plate appearances between two indy league clubs. He didn't homer, but he did go 19-for-24 in stolen base attempts.
- Carlos Quentin is likely "on his way out" with the Padres, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote in a recent chat. Quentin is under contract for $8 million in 2015, but the Padres likely won't want to keep him, given his struggles to stay healthy. (What they might do with him is a different question — it's hard to imagine Quentin having much trade value, given that he's hit poorly in limited action this season.) Seth Smith and Rymer Liriano are the only near-locks for spots in the San Diego outfield next year, Lin wrote.