Boston set to sign Cuban outfielder

AFPAugust 22, 2014
Rusney Castillo, a Cuban outfielder who defected to Haiti six months ago, agrees to a record Major League Baseball contract with the Boston Red Sox, multiple reports say
Rusney Castillo, a Cuban outfielder who defected to Haiti six months ago, agrees to a record Major League Baseball contract with the Boston Red Sox, multiple reports say (AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda)

New York (AFP) - Rusney Castillo, a Cuban outfielder who defected to Haiti six months ago, has agreed to a record Major League Baseball contract with the Boston Red Sox, multiple reports said Friday.

The league's website and ESPN reported that the Red Sox won a bidding war for the talented 27-year-old Caribbean standout, the latest defector from the Communist island to make his way to the US major leagues.

The Red Sox have not confirmed the deal, saying only that they have been in talks with Castillo. Almost all major league clubs attended his workout in July at Miami.

Reports differed on the value of the deal, either six years at $72 million (54.4 million euros) or seven years at $72.5 million (54.79 million euros).

The richest deal for an amateur player such as Castillo in major league history was a six-year contract worth $68 million for Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox.

Castillo would take his place in the Red Sox outfield in the next few days alongside another Cuban defector, Yoenis Cespedes.

US government officials cleared Castillo in July to make a deal and Major League Baseball has declared him a free agents.

Cuban defectors typically establish residency in nations other than the United States, making them free agents available to the highest bidder rather than subject to being taken in the annual draft of amateur talent, typically collegians.