Friday, February 12, 2016

Phillies schedule private workout with Cuban outfield prospect

It is not surprising to see the Phillies, a team flush with money but no substantial minor-league talent, emerge as suitors for Rusney Castillo. The team will hold a private workout Tuesday with Castillo, a 27-year-old Cuban outfield prospect, according to a source.

Phillies schedule private workout with Cuban outfield prospect

0 comments
(H. Darr Beiser/USA Today Sports file photo)
(H. Darr Beiser/USA Today Sports file photo)

NEW YORK — Phillies officials do not believe a long-term rebuilding process is necessary for a team hurtling toward another baseball-less October, but few methods exist to inject young talent. A trade is one. The amateur draft remains the most crucial. The international market is another avenue, although it carries the most risk.

That is why it is not surprising to see the Phillies, a team flush with money but no substantial minor-league talent, emerge as suitors for Rusney Castillo. The team will hold a private workout Tuesday with Castillo, a 27-year-old Cuban outfield prospect, according to a source.

Baseball America first reported the arrangement.

Castillo, who profiles as a center fielder, held a showcase Saturday in Miami for teams. There were reportedly representatives from 28 teams in attendance. Castillo's agents, Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports, arranged the event.

More coverage
Download FREE Philly Sports Now app for iPhone!
Final season stats for Phillies
Buy Phillies jerseys and other gear
WATCH: Daily fantasy baseball updates

The influx of Cuban talent — Yeonis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman, to name a few — has spiked interest in the area. Cuban free agents are not subject to Major League Baseball's spending restrictions, and that is what makes them all the more attractive.

The Red Sox and Yankees are expected to bid high for Castillo, Baseball America reported. Castillo should sign before the season ends. He is 5 foot 9 and 205 pounds. Little intelligence is available; Castillo defected last December.

The connection between the Phillies and Castillo is logical. They are bearish on Ben Revere's future as an everyday player, hence more at bats for Grady Sizemore. The organization's top outfield prospect is Roman Quinn, who just converted to center at single-A Clearwater and is less than a year removed from rupturing his Achilles tendon.

The outfield could be further depleted in the coming days if Marlon Byrd is dealt to a contender. Domonic Brown, one year after a breakout season, is among the game's worst everyday players.

The Phillies have not been shy to explore Cuban talent in recent years. They, of course, signed righthander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to an amended three-year, $12 million deal last August. (The original guarantee was for $48 million.) They held a session with Jose Abreu, the Chicago White Sox rookie slugger, and asked him to take grounders at third base. First base, Abreu's natural position, was blocked by Ryan Howard. Abreu was not adept enough to handle third, so the Phillies passed.

Castillo, though, could offer an immediate upgrade at a position of need.


Have a question? Tweet @MattGelb for possible use in a future mailbag.

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer's beat writers and columnists.

Jake Kaplan Inquirer Staff Writer
Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
Matt Breen Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter