cuba featureThe latest favorite in the Rusney Castillo sweepstakes is the Boston Red Sox, who may be getting close to putting a deal together. Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox are “optimistic” about landing Castillo, and Alex Speier reports that other teams now view the Red Sox as the favorite to get Castillo.

The Cubs seemed to fall out of Castillo rumors earlier this week as his reported price tag passed the range where the team saw value in the signing. Jayson Stark hears that the final deal could fall between $50 and $60 million, and be for just five years. If one of those five years is this season, and Castillo gets $55 million, that would effectively be close to $14 million per year for a player who many aren’t certain is an impact player. I suspect the actual AAV will be much lower – whether because it’ll actually be a more typical six-year deal, or because the five years Stark references are after 2014 – but, in any case, it’s a significant investment in a player with some question marks. Of course, if he winds up an above average regular, it’ll be a great deal. Risk, reward, and all that.

If the Red Sox do land Castillo, it’ll make for some interesting outfield questions. They’ve already got Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. in the mix for outfield appearances. Would adding Castillo make them likely to shop an outfielder or two? If so, would the Cubs be interested in seeing what they might be able to put together? The free agent market for outfielders is remarkably thin, so a trade might be the Cubs’ best path to picking up a short-term, quality bat in the outfield.

UPDATE: Holy smokes – Jesse Sanchez just said on Twitter that it is six years, and $72 million.