There has been a lot of trade talk on this site and just about every Jays site over the past couple weeks. I think the pitching staff will be fine and should allow the Jays to get into the playoffs. The Jays need some versatilely on the bench and in their starting line up….much like a guy that Keegan Matheson just wrote about (read here). I have stated a number of times that I thought Emilio Bonifacio broke my heart because I had such high hopes for him last year.
This is why I think that 26 year old Cuban Outfielder Rusney Castillo, who recently declared his free agency, would look in a Blue Jays uniform. His primary position is the OF but he has seen time at second base and third.
He is stands only 5’9″ and weighs in at 185 Lbs, but don’t let that sway your judgement on his…this guy can play and could be a 5-tool player. He might not be an imposing figure like Yusiel Puig, but there is power in that bat. His size alone will drive down the price that teams are willing to spend.
Take a look at his stats with Cuba’s top professional league, Serie Nacional. In five seasons he hit .319/.383/.516 with 51 HR, 11 triples, 75 doubles, 226 RBI, and 76 stolen bases. The art of stealing only developed over the past 3 year, but it has surely developed. He hit 43 HR in his last two full seasons.
Jay-Z (Roc Nation) is representing Castillo and is expecting to showcase his client some time in the coming week….will Alex and the boys be attending this meeting….most likely. How hard will the Jays go after a guy that is considered to be ‘Major League Calibre’ and is consider to be a Free Agent; therefore his salary wouldn’t count against the MLB international cap.
As if the Jays need more reasons to go after Castillo hard, the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox as expected to target him. Like all the Cuban defectors recently, the Los Angels Dodgers are expected to go after Castillo as well. Other rumoured team in the hunt are the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, and the Philadelphia Phillies.
My biggest fear about this guy is his lack of plate discipline. He has walked 99 times in 1265 AB but he did walk 31 times in his last season which only saw him appear in 68 games and 234 AB, so there is hope that he can get on base and use his speed.
Come on Alex Anthopoulos don’t let this guy go to one of our division rivals but more importantly don’t let another talented internation free agent slip through our fingers like Leonys Martin, Yoenis Cespedes, Aroldis Chapman, and Yasiel Puig. Go after Castillo like you went after Adeiny Hechavarria.
Lastly, acquiring Castillo doesn’t cost the Jays any high ceiling prospects, it doesn’t negatively impact their ability to continue signing international free-agents, the Jays don’t have to fork out a huge bidding fee, and he will help the Jays in an area that I think their minor leagues are lacking prospects…the OF.