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Red Sox, Tigers in lead for Rusney Castillo

The race for the latest Cuban stalwart appears to be nearing a resolution.

cuban-play.com

The sweepstakes for Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo may be over soon, as a decision from the 27-year-old is expected "no later than the weekend", according to ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes, who adds that the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers are currently the frontrunners to land Castillo. Along with Boston and Detroit, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal recently cited the San Francisco Giants as another serious contender, though it's unclear if that still holds true.

Castillo is noted for his impact ceiling and relatively high floor that could enable him to play in the majors this season, giving contending clubs such as Detroit justification to pursue him in hopes that he can reach the majors before September 1st, allowing him to be a part of a postseason roster. While he is not quite at the level Jose Abreu was at when he signed a mammoth six-year, $68 million deal last October, Castillo is still quite talented, displaying all five tools, pushing some scouts to compare him to former All-Star Ron Gant.

Castillo's proximity to the majors should be appealing to the Red Sox, who are interested in contending next season. However, Boston's recent flurry of moves has left them well-stocked with outfielders, so Castillo isn't a clear fit with the Red Sox. As I noted a couple days ago, it is possible that Boston looks to consolidate their options by dealing some of their depth to acquire a single elite player, such as Giancarlo Stanton.

The Tigers have seen their hold on the AL Central loosen over the past couple weeks, and they now sit 1.5 games behind the Royals. As part of the David Price blockbuster, Detroit sent Austin Jackson to Seattle, so Castillo would fill an immediate void, while also giving them some youth to add to their aging core.

The Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds both held private workouts for Castillo over the last week (per Rosenthal), adding two more teams to the mix. While the Red Sox and Tigers may be leading the pack, the Cubs, Phillies, Yankees, Blue Jays, BravesAstros, and aforementioned Mariners, Giants, and Reds have all shown interest in Castillo at one point or another.

While initial reports pegged Castillo's likely contract at between $25 and $35 million, he is now a near-lock to exceed the $42 million that Yasiel Puig received from the Dodgers two years ago, though it is unlikely that he surpasses the total Abreu received.