Last week, Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo worked out for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, and he has continued to draw interest from a number of teams as he searches for the perfect fit – and a boatload of cash.
George A. King III reports in the New York Post that the Yankees worked out Castillo on Friday in Tampa, and they are ready to make an offer. As interestingly, unlike other teams that view Castillo as an outfielder (third party scouts have said the same), the Yankees are considering Castillo for second base. That could make him slightly more valuable to them than to other interested teams.
The Tigers are also interested, according to Jason Beck. Although they’ve not had Castillo in for a private workout, the need for the Tigers is obvious, having moved Austin Jackson in the David Price deal. It’s unclear if they’re going to make a serious run, but some are expecting it:
Some in industry believe #Tigers could make a serious run at Castillo given their newfound need in CF. That remains to be seen.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 9, 2014
That’s two big market teams with truckloads of cash and a strong need. Throw in the Phillies, who’ve also been connected to Castillo and also fit those two criteria, and the bidding, which we already thought could get steep, could get nutty.
It’s interesting to think about which of the four teams should be willing to go highest on Castillo.
For the sake of discussion, let’s assume a couple things that may or may not be true:
- Assume these are the four “finalists” on Castillo (there are likely many more teams involved, and we don’t know whether these four are actually going to be aggressive bidders for certain).
- Assume all four teams have the same financial wherewithal to be the highest bidder on Castillo if they are so inclined (this is probably not true).
In that situation, who tops the market for Castillo?
- Well, the Tigers are in a clear two/three/four-year window of competitiveness, and the deal of Austin Jackson made center field a pressing need on a team with very few pressing needs outside of the bullpen.
- The Yankees are about to fall off a cliff if they don’t keep ramping up spending, and successfully adding a guy like Castillo, who will cost a lot, but probably less than a traditional top tier free agent, could be huge. And if he can play second base for them? They really need infield help.
- The Phillies need to rebuild, but they won’t. So, adding a 27-year-old outfielder – a deep area of need – could go a long way to sustaining … whatever it is that they’re trying to sustain.
- The Cubs need to add a bat or two, preferably in the outfield, and preferably an OBP/top-of-the-order type. With a competitive window opening as soon as next year, having an established 27-year-old outfielder added into the mix could really help.
And, survey says … all of them? It’s actually fairly hard to differentiate need here, especially when built upon those two assumptions above. If we throw out the financial assumption, I could argue that the question becomes a bit tougher for the Cubs. While they unquestionably need to add a bat externally if they’re going to provide an optimal environment into which to break their young core, they need an impact pitcher (or two) just as badly going into 2015/16. Although they’ve got money to spend, the resources are not unlimited. At least not right now.
So, if push comes to shove, does the priority lie in the rotation or the lineup? The Cubs have had success going cheap in the rotation … but the impact positional talent is coming. Tough question, actually. I think the honest answer is you’d rather the Cubs didn’t have to choose.
In the end, there are a number of teams that have plenty of incentive and ability to go hard after Castillo. Rather than need, the highest bid is likely to come from the team that decides it likes him best after a few weeks of scouting.