Rusney Castillo defects from Cuba

Snodgrass'Muff

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This is interesting to me because I'm really curious to find out what this wacky market will deem someone of Castillo's talent to be worth.  He's not on the same level as Cespedes or Puig, but he's intriguing.  What will he sign for?
 


Rusney Castillo, a 26-year-old center fielder who had been one of the top players in Cuba, has left the country to pursue a contract with a major league team, Baseball America has learned.
 
Castillo has played five seasons for Ciego de Avila in Cuba’s top league, Serie Nacional, so he will be able to sign as a free agent exempt from the international signing bonus pools.
 


Castillo is short but has a strong, athletic frame at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds. His best tool is his speed, as he’s an above-average runner and one of the better base stealers in Cuba. More of a doubles hitter than a big home run threat, Castillo puts a charge into the ball with a line-drive righthanded swing, though he can get long to the ball at times and some scouts think he’s prone to chasing pitches off the plate. Primarily a center fielder in Cuba, Castillo has also played some second and third base, so his versatility could be a draw for some teams. He’s an aggressive, high-energy player, though some teams see him as a fourth outfielder.
 


Castillo was coming off an excellent year in Serie Nacional in 2010-11 in which he led the league with 29 stolen bases in 35 attempts and hit .324/.373/.555 with 18 home runs in 400 plate appearances.
 
In 2011-12, Castillo hit .332/.395/.545 in 420 plate appearances, belting 16 home runs with 32 walks, 42 strikeouts and 22 stolen bases in 29 attempts. He led the league with 28 doubles, ranked 13th in batting average and tied for third in the league in steals. Last season was a down year for Castillo, however, as he hit just .250/.352/.342 in 43 games.
 
http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/defection-of-top-cuban-outfielder-rusney-castillo-could-shake-up-market/
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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I thought Cuba was going to allow their players to go professional without having to defect. Has that changed? Or will players owe tons of taxes to Cuba under such a system, so they defect anyway?
 

Fred not Lynn

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How is this going to be handled next time the WBC rolls around. There are just too many Cuban ex-pats playing at the MLB level, and big, ticket-selling names, too just shove aside.

Will Cuba shove pride and protocol aside for a legitimate chance to win it all and welcome these guys back with open arms?

Would the ex-pats even want to play for Cuba? Do they hate the Cuban government? Would they do it as homage to their own personal heritage, for their own friends, families and community, despite the government?

Could it actually be a breakthrough moment in Cuba's eventual return to normalcy?

Could the Havana Rays be far behind (if they're not already in Montreal by then).

OK, some of the above is pure fantasy, but I do believe that when (not if) Cuban normalization occurs, baseball is going to play a major role...
 

Plympton91

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Sounds like someone who would be a perfect fit for the Red Sox roster right now. A platoon partner for JBJ, seems like he has the range to backup for RF in Fenway, and maybe he can also be a backup 2B for Pedroia. Don't know where the bidding will go, but $7 million a season would be reasonable given the Gomes and Young contracts.
 

bankshot1

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Seems to me that as Cuba is a very poor country, they might benefit from a posting system similar to that which Japan's Major leagues
allowing for the export of their players. And this form of commerce between the countries might be a start to normalization, and the Cuban
players would still retain citizenship and play for Cuba in international competitions, if they chose to.

Of course the politics of dealing with "commies" might get in the way, but its worth a shot.
 

Jer

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Jul 17, 2005
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It's a small sample size, but has anyone seen an explanation of why his numbers dropped off so significantly this past year?
 
.250/.352/.342/.698 translated into MLB would be terrible (using Cespedes as a comp). Like something like .213/.294/.289/.583.
 
However his career averages would translate nicely from .319/.383/.516/.899 to .271/.314/.433/.747.
 
EDIT: Looking again at his cuba stats that I linked, the numbers don't align. Not sure why Baseball America has 42 games instead of the 68 listed on http://cuban-play.com. Do I have the wrong guy?
 

Orel Miraculous

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The Allented Mr Ripley said:
I thought Cuba was going to allow their players to go professional without having to defect. Has that changed? Or will players owe tons of taxes to Cuba under such a system, so they defect anyway?
 
The Cuban embargo prohibits an American company from giving money to any Cuban citizen, so it doesn't matter that the Cuban government now allows their citizens to play professionally. The Cubans are now perfectly free to go play professionally in Mexico or Japan, but if they want to play in the majors, they need to defect.
 

trekfan55

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bankshot1 said:
Seems to me that as Cuba is a very poor country, they might benefit from a posting system similar to that which Japan's Major leaguesallowing for the export of their players. And this form of commerce between the countries might be a start to normalization, and the Cubanplayers would still retain citizenship and play for Cuba in international competitions, if they chose to_Of course the politics of dealing with "commies" might get in the way, but its worth a shot.
There would need to be a major change in policy by the US Government before this happens, even if Cuba were to propose it.