The Boston Red Sox agreed to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo on Friday.
The huge contract is a record number in total dollars paid for a free-agent amateur. Castillo was currently on his way to Boston Friday, and will undergo a physical on Saturday.
The contract will begin this season, which will make the average annual value of the deal $10.36 million and will run through the 2020 season. The deal is just below the average total of $11.3 million that Cuban slugger, and White Sox star Jose Abreu signed with Chicago last winter.
Boston was outbid for Abreu in the winter, but won what became a tight crazy bidding war for the 27-year-old Castillo, whose workout last month in Miami was attended by a total of 28 major league teams. Castillo subsequently conducted private workouts for a number of teams, including the Red Sox, who in the end held off a strong bid from the Detroit Tigers.
Castillo is likely to be used in either center or right field for the Red Sox. Boston made several trades this season to turn around an offense that had been struggling most of the 2014 season.
They brought in Allan Craig from St. Louis and Castillo will also join Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes, who the Red Sox got in a blockbuster trade with Oakland before the trade deadline. Cespedes and Craig may also be used in the outfield, while Daniel Nava and Shane Victorino are both out for the rest of the season due to back injuries, but will likely be ready for spring training.
The Red Sox spent much of their season with Jackie Bradley Jr. patrolling center field and converted two other rookie infielders Mookie Betts and Brock Holt, into outfielders. Bradley, who struggled, was sent down to the minors earlier this week, and Betts was recalled and took his spot.
Holt has played every spot in the infield and outfield has served as the team's leadoff hitter since mid-May and been an important part of the team.
Boston traded away both Jon Lester and John Lackey in order to get Craig and Cespedes. The deals came less than two years after the Red Sox unloaded by trading stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers which freed up nearly $260 million in salary and got the Red Sox two promising young pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster.
It has been said that Castillo's power and contact may not exactly measure up to that of Abreu, but he brings plenty of speed and above average defense that could make him an all around solid player for the Red Sox.
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