The Chicago Cubs are in the hunt the for Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo and conduct a private workout Wednesday, according to Ben-Nicholson-Smith, a sportsnet.ca baseball editor who happened to be taking a stadium tour while vacationing in Chicago and put the image on Twitter.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) August 6, 2014
The Cubs were with five scouts at Castillo’s showcase on July 26 at the University of Miami and were impressed with his upside. Baseball America reported that 28 of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams were present at the showcase.
The Cubs have consistently showed an interest in Latin American players, including Dominican Republic natives Arismendy Alcantara, Junior Lake, and Starlin Castro, and Welington Castillo along with Puerto Rican Javier Baez.
The Cubs were linked to both Cuban outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler in 2012. The Oakland A’s landed Cespedes with a four-year, $36 million deal and developed him into an All-Star before trading him to the Boston Red Sox for Jon Lester.
Soler signed a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs. The 22-year-old has suffered hamstring injuries this year, but has bounced back is projected to be a September call-up from Triple-A Iowa. Following two July trades the Cubs will have financial flexibility to make another offseason signing splash.
Castillo, 27, is listed at 5-foot-9, 205 pounds, with 70 speed graded on the 20-80 scale. He played five years in Cuba’s top professional league and will not be subjected to MLB’s international spending limit. Represented by Jay Z’s agency, the Roc Nation Sports client has also been linked to the Red Sox, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners.