Cuban star outfielder/second baseman Rusney Castillo is closing in on signing with a big league club, reports say. He could get a deal in the five-year, $60 million range, with the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Phillies, and Tigers being the main bidders. I strongly believe that the Detroit Tigers will end up signing Castillo and there are a lot of good reasons as to why.
First, the Tigers are not usually in on international free agents, which makes it even more interesting on why they are in on Castillo. The Tigers are more of a traditional team and have not gone out deep for international free agents. Now that they are making a change, it could possibly mean that they are really interested in Castillo as compared to other free agents similar to him.
The Tigers are falling fast. They are no longer a guarantee to make the playoffs, let alone go deep into them. On August 7th, Detroit had an 89% chance of making the playoffs, according to Baseball Prospectus, including an 82.5% chance of winning the division. Following yesterday's games, the Tigers only have a 60% chance of making the playoffs and a 44% chance of winning the division.
If the Tigers brought Castillo aboard, they might be able to form a spark that not only brings them into the playoffs, but helps them get hot and dominate the American League in pursuit of their first World Series championship since 1984. We have seen the spark that Yasiel Puig started in Los Angeles, the spark that Jose Abreu created in Chicago (although they will not be a playoff team), who says that Castillo cannot work the magic for Detroit? Or, is it to late? Or, is he not the real deal?
Those questions are for Detroit's management to decide. Bringing Castillo on might not only boost them into the playoffs, but it could fill a big hole in a few years when Torii Hunter and Rajai Davis only under contract through 2014 and 2015, respectively. Instead of the Tigers signing a 30-year-old free agent outfielder in two years, why not sign Castillo, a 27-year-old outfielder with perhaps his best years to come? Their interest in him is beginning to add up.
Castillo is getting closer to signing on with his first major league club. The Tigers make sense for many reasons, but he may be the player they need to save their season.
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