Tigers reportedly lose out on bidding for Castillo
The waiting game for Rusney Castillo appears to be nearing an end. It does not appear to have a happy ending for Tigers fans, whose wait for a long-term solution in center field will apparently continue into the offseason.
Multiple reports, including MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, have Castillo set to sign with the Red Sox for six years (not including this season) and $72 million.
Crazy things happen; remember, the Tigers made a last-second push to sign Anibal Sanchez after he was set to agree to join the Cubs two years ago. The reports, however, make it sound increasingly close to done. Those financial terms would be the largest deal ever signed by an “amateur” player, from Cuba or any other country.
A six-year deal would take Castillo through his age-32 season, but it’s also the same number of years Jose Abreu signed for last fall, just before his 27th birthday. And while Dave Dombrowski has been extremely quiet on the team’s interest in Castillo over the past week or two, he acknowledged two weeks ago that the success of Abreu, Yasiel Puig and others in recent years have changed the market for Cuban players.
The Tigers were interested in Castillo even before trading Austin Jackson away, and they were very interested after that. Unless something crazy happens, Detroit is going to be in a bind in center. Derek Hill, their top pick in June’s draft, is at least a few years away, and he’s by far the best center-field prospect in the system. Rajai Davis is not a natural center fielder, nor are their options in the upper levels of the system. The free-agent market for center fielders this winter is weak, with Colby Rasmus the lone everyday player in a thin group.
Detroit might have to swing a trade to address the position for 2015. One team with outfield talent to spare, ironically, could be the Red Sox.
The Tigers also remain shut out on the Cuban market, despite recent forays to get involved. They did not get Jose Iglesias when he signed as a teenager five years ago, and their efforts to sign Yoenis Cespedes in 2012 stalled when Victor Martinez’s season-ending knee injury led them to make a run at Prince Fielder instead.