Sox to be "aggressive" in pursuit of Castillo

Sox to be "aggressive" in pursuit of Castillo
August 9, 2014, 8:00 pm
(AP Photo)

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Having lost out -- or simply not bid -- on some top-tier international free agents in the last three years, the Red Sox intend to be "aggressive'' in their pursuit of Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, an industry source said.    

Castillo has already held a mass workout attended by virtually every MLB club, and later held a private workout for the Red Sox in south Florida. Castillo is still scheduled to hold a few more private workouts for other clubs before teams submit bids.    

A major league executive with knowledge of the process estimated that the process would heat up considerably in the next 10 days, with Castillo likely to choose a team before the end of the month.    

There will be blind bidding by teams -- that is, teams will submit bids for Castillo without knowing what other clubs intend to bid.    

Castillo, 27, projects as an athletic center fielder with good power potential. A major league evaluator recently projected him to eventually hit "15-to-20'' homers per season in the big leagues. He also profiles as an elite defender with the speed to steal bases.    

The great unknown, of course, is how much Castillo will cost. One American League executive guessed that he would ultimately command a deal "north of (Yasiel) Puig,'' who got a seven-year, $42 million deal to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers in June of 2012.    

The Red Sox came up short last fall on Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, who appears a cinch to win the American League Rookie of the Year. Abreu agreed to a six-year, $68 million contract from the Chicago White Sox.    

The Sox last week landed Yoenis Cespedes from the Oakland A's in a deal that sent Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Oakland A's. Cespedes was part of the recent first wave of Cuban position players to come to the U.S. He signed a four-year, $36 million deal with Oakland.   

It's possible that the presence of Cespedes could aid the Red Sox in their pursuit of Castillo. It doesn't hurt, one baseball source added, that the Sox' most well-known player is Latino - David Ortiz.    

Following the acquisition of Cespedes and Allen Craig on July 31 and coupled with current outfielders, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava and Brock Holt, the Sox are flush with candidates for the outfield.    

But Castillo is considered a potentially elite player and the crowded outfield won't dissuade the Sox, according to a club source.    

"We can stockpile talent and sort it out later,'' the source indicated.