Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo is reportedly nearing a decision on his team, and the Chicago Cubs are among the teams said to be pursuing him. Indeed, you can add Gordon Edes to the list of folks reporting five teams (potentially among others) as the most linked to Castillo: the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and Tigers.
The strongest ties, however, seem to have come from the four non-Cubs teams (not that suggests the Cubs aren’t legitimately in the race, but you can’t deny that there is more national heat connecting the other four teams to Castillo), and Edes’ piece indicates that the Red Sox are very serious in their pursuit. Scott Lauber also points to the Red Sox as having strong interest, and reports that Castillo is “moving quickly” toward a decision.
And the favorite for that decision? Well it’s the Phillies, according to “several teams with interest,” as reported by George A. King III of the New York Post.
… er, actually, sources “do not view the [Phillies] as a top candidate to sign the player,” according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.
When the rumors on a particular story achieve diametric opposition, you know something will happen soon. On reports like this, I tend to go with the local one, though it’s not as if King couldn’t possibly know what’s going on with the Phillies, given that his sources are with other teams in the process (who could be hearing from Castillo’s reps that they’ve got a huge offer in hand from the Phillies).
Salisbury’s piece also lists the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, and Tigers as the other four teams. So, either that’s the legit final five in the bidding, or we’ve fallen into an echo chamber of consensus and everyone is simply parroting back the same list of teams.
As I’ve written before, I can see the need for Castillo as slightly stronger by some of the other teams in the running, so my instinct is to say that the Cubs won’t wind up landing him. The obvious caveat there is that we can’t know exactly how the Cubs have evaluated Castillo internally, and it’s possible that they like him so much – relative to the expected bidding – that they’ll go over the top even if they don’t quite need him as much as some of the other teams (and, I’d argue that he’s pretty darn close to a strong need for the Cubs, too).