The preponderance of Cubs-related Rusney Castillo rumors have the team not likely to top the bidding for the Cuban outfielder, and Patrick Mooney is the latest to weigh in (hearing, essentially, the same thing – and noting that the price tag could wind up closer to Jose Abreu’s $68 million than Yasiel Puig’s $42 million).
While that drama plays out, there’s another one brewing on the horizon. That drama comes in the form of a 23-year-old slugging corner outfielder named Yasmani Tomas, whom we discussed a while back when he defected from Cuba. A bit on Tomas from that piece:
In the interim, we can excitedly speculate about Tomas, whom Badler says will not be subject to any international signing restrictions because of his five years of experience in Cuba. Tomas put up huge numbers as a 21-year-old at Cuba’s highest level (.301/.340/.580) and again as a 22-year-old (.289/.364/.538) before stepping back a bit this year (.290/.346/.450), which may have been related to an arm injury (and/or changes in league rules, which seemed to have brought down offense overall).
What Tomas really brings is huge power – Badler calls him a 70 on the 20-80 scale, which is excellent – and the ability to play all over the outfield. He’s most likely to be a corner outfielder, but the ability to technically play center suggests a nice bit of athleticism (even if he winds up in a corner). He’s likely to be a “prospect”-type signing, meaning that he could need some time in the upper minors before being ready for the big leagues.
Tomas has now established residency in Haiti, according to Jesse Sanchez. Now he must be unblocked by the US Government, and be granted free agency by MLB. According to Ben Badler, because Tomas has played five seasons at the highest level in Cuba, he will not be subject to any signing restrictions.
That process will likely spill into the offseason, though there’s already at least one team rumored to be in heavy pursuit: the Phillies (CSN). Having missed out, presumably, on Rusney Castillo, the Phillies will turn their attention – and those dollars – to Tomas. Will the Cubs do the same thing? It remains to be seen. Tomas and Castillo are certainly different players, and it will likely come down to the Cubs’ scouting analysis on Tomas. We know that they’ll check him out, though.