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Kevin Millar on MFB: Rusney Castillo part of ‘dynamic of the Cuban influence in baseball’

08.22.14 at 1:14 pm ET
By
Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the Sox and their reported contract agreement with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the 27-year-old Castillo, who is known for his speed and his range in the outfield.

“I don’t know a whole lot about him. I don’t think any of us do. But you’re looking at the dynamic of the Cuban influence in baseball, starting off with Jose Abreu,” Millar said. “I think it’s a great thing. I think you’re starting to see that gap come closer because there’s some great players over in Cuba and they’re dynamic players and hopefully this thing pans out well for the Red Sox.”

The years and money makes for a heavy investment for a relatively unknown player in Castillo, but Millar said the Red Sox had to have known enough good things about him to take the chance.

“You have to have scouts up there. Someone had to see him other than a workout. But at the end of the day, you go with your heart,” he said. “I’m using an example of Jose Abreu of the White Sox. We didn’t have a whole lot of things on him, but did you know he was going to have 32 home runs coming into the middle of August?

“Sometimes it’s for your gut. And not everything works out. It’s just like a draft. Yes, $72 million is a lot of money, but it was a lot of money for Yu Darvish back in the day, then the [Masahiro Tanaka] situation happened for the Yankees and it was a lot of money then, but it looked like it was about worth it until the injury. So this money is a lot of money but there’s a lot of money out there to be made and spent and hopefully you get that dynamic-type player that a lot of these Cubans have turned out to be.”

Red Sox fans continue to dream of the possibility of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton coming to Boston via trade in the near future. The signing of Castillo may further open those possibilities as the Sox now have an influx of young outfielders. Millar wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Red Sox making a push for Stanton if he’s made available.

“I’ll tell you what, the Marlins have kept themselves way above float the entire season, way better than people probably had them on the board to be,” Millar said. “Mike Redmond has done a great job, so that organization now has to sit back and wait to see. But the one thing you can’t teach in this game is right-handed power. Giancarlo Stanton has the right-handed power that Mark McGwire had back in the day, guys that can hit the ball 500 feet.

“So you can’t teach that. If the Marlins are willing to deal him — I don’t know where they’re at financially for their own organization — which it seems like the Marlins have in the past with trades, then yes I think the Red Sox, just like 10 other teams would love to see Giancarlo Stanton in the middle of that lineup. You could imagine the damage he could do at Fenway Park.

“This is where you get creative and crafty to figure out how to get the team right back on the board after a miserable-type season of 2014, a year from winning the World Series in 2013.”

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