The Cubs will have officials attending a workout in Miami for the 27-year old Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, as reported by Sadahev Sharma and Jesse Rogers.
How effective Castillo can be is a varied opinion due to his age, and the time it’s been since he has seen live pitching., and that while he is in good shape, it’s not baseball shape. At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, he’s on the smaller side, but has good speed and power. Some favorable comparisons have him as a Brett Gardner, or even a Kirby Puckett type player.
But the praise for Castillo isn’t the same that recent Cuban sensations such as Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jose Abreau have drawn. The consensus is that at about age 24, the pitching in Cuban leagues no longer test these players, leaving questions about an older defector, such as Castillo at age 27.
Some questions for the Cubs are the fact that he’s right-handed, and the Cubs are in search of left-handed talent. Also, he’s considered a free winger, and the Cubs are loaded with those and are in search of talent that shoes discipline at the plate. But because of his five years of experience in Cuba’s professional league due to his age, Castillo is exempt from the MLB’s international spending limit.
So while the Cubs would only have to pay for his services as opposed to giving away draft picks or prospects, the price could still be high.
While on the surface it doesn’t appear Castillo is a great fit for the Cubs, the front office has made it very clear there is no such thing as “too many” bats in the system. They’ve made a point to have quantity, and find the quality from within those numbers.
So Saturday’s workout will likely not be the final piece to the Cubs decision, it will go a long way towards the outcome of Castillo’s possible future with the team.