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Friday, August 22, 2014

Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to sign with the Red Sox for $72 million

And he’s eligible for the playoff roster!

We’ve been following the derby to sign Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo. Now it looks like the Red Sox have won the derby:

Jesse Sanchez     @JesseSanchezMLB

Source: Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo on track for record-setting 6-year, $72 million deal with #RedSox. Check MLB.com

That’s a lot more than Yasiel Puig got ($42 million), and Puig was considered Castillo’s closest comp… Castillo, 27, is said to have plus speed and should be ready to debut with the Red Sox early next season.

The District Attorney Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:09 AM | 84 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cuba, free agency, international, red sox, rusney castillo, transactions

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4777050)
The Red Sox have 6 or 7 outfielders under contract for next year. I assume Nava will definitely be gone and Bradley won't be on the major league roster, but that still leaves Victorino, Craig and Betts in RF.

Maybe Mookie can move to 3B.
   2. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4777059)
If true this seems to be a massive overpay
   3. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4777060)
If true this seems to be a massive overpay


Unless he turns out to be Yasiel Puig, which, you know, bargain.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4777062)
Yea, I like this kid a lot, but that's about twice as much as I thought he should get.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4777065)
ESPN says 7 years, not 6.

These all must be misprints, though, because media trolls and portions of the fanbase told me that the Sox were going to become a cheapo, low-payroll team.
   6. Dale Sams Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4777066)
Why would he debut early next year and not this year?
   7. Ziggy Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4777068)
It could be that the contract doesn't start until next year.
   8. Sonic Youk Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4777071)
Can't complain about adding talent, but I wish I knew where they were going with all these outfielders.
   9. Chip Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4777073)
Only increases the chances that Cespedes and at least one of Betts or Bradley gets included in a package offer for Stanton doesn't it? Also, I'm not sure they have much confidence in Victorino's available PT coming off his surgery.
   10. Batman Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4777075)
His name is Spanish for "Carl Crawford."
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4777077)
Only increases the chances that Cespedes and at least one of Betts or Bradley gets included in a package offer for Stanton doesn't it?


I think adding another OFer decreases the (already tiny) odds that they trade for Stanton.
   12. Dale Sams Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4777080)
Sox now have 8 MLB-ready* outfielders. Cespedes, JBJ, Nava, Betts, Castillo, Craig, Shane, Holt.

*More or less if we count Bradley and Betts.
   13. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4777081)
Why would Cespedes who will be in the last year of his contract next season have any appeal to Miami in a potential package for Stanton?
   14. Jim Furtado Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4777082)
This signing doesn't count against their draft budget. Relatively speaking, if he doesn't work out, the salary won't kill them. If their scouts like him, this signing is worth the risk. They aren't a small market team. Why act like one?
   15. DL from MN Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4777087)
The Red Sox and Dodgers both seem to be loaded with outfielders. The Twins need a LF for the next couple years. There should be a match somewhere.
   16. Ziggy Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4777088)
If the expected return is less than $72m they shouldn't sign him, whatever the size of their market.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4777091)
If the expected return is less than $72m they shouldn't sign him, whatever the size of their market.


But how they judge the monetary value of the expected return is affected by their market size.
   18. Dale Sams Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4777092)
These all must be misprints, though, because media trolls and portions of the fanbase told me that the Sox were going to become a cheapo, low-payroll team.


No one ever said they'd become low-payroll. They said they'd keep the payroll boosted with expensive, shitty pitchers like Peavy and Dempster. Spread the #### over several players and voila! It's the anti-matter universe version of Moneyball.
   19. billyshears Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4777097)
One of these days I will be right that giving a tremendous amount of money to a mostly unknown player who will have to make a massive leap in leap of competition is a bad idea. I think this may be the one. From what I understand, Castillo wasn't even that good in Cuba.
   20. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4777098)
One of these days I will be right that giving a tremendous amount of money to a mostly unknown player who will have to make a massive leap in leap of competition is a bad idea. I think this may be the one.

The two bidders for this guy were the Yankees and the Phillies. I think you may be right.
   21. Swedish Chef Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4777110)
Only increases the chances that Cespedes and at least one of Betts or Bradley gets included in a package offer for Stanton doesn't it?

YankeesRed Sox fans who think everything is a sign that they're about to trade peanuts for one of the best players in baseball is a pathetic sight.
   22. The District Attorney Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4777115)
Speier:
Puig may be a bit of a stretch as a comparable talent; one evaluator suggested that the Sox’ signed Castillo more with an eye towards acquiring a player along the lines of a Shane Victorino in his prime...

In theory, the Sox could keep the entire [outfield] group thanks to Holt’s versatility and the fact that Betts and Bradley can be optioned to the minors.

Indeed, part of the incentive for adding Castillo was to ensure that neither Betts nor Bradley need to be rushed into an everyday big league role... Still, while it is possible that the Sox could keep the entire group on their 40-man roster, it is more likely that the Sox will trade from their wealth of outfielders...

Castillo will count for $10.36 million against the luxury tax threshold for each of the seven years of his deal, including 2014. However, the Sox cleared enough payroll at the 2014 trade deadline that, as of now, it does not appear that they will exceed the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014.
   23. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4777130)
That's more money than Jose Abreu got and his career line in Cuba was like .500 points of OPS higher than Castillo's. Crazy.
   24. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4777131)
I vote for totally punting on defense.

Allen Craig to third, Mookie Betts to short, Napoli behind the plate.

ONE TIME!!!
   25. tfbg9 Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4777133)
Not my money.
   26. Astroenteritis Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4777138)
It's the anti-matter universe version of Moneyball.


The Red Sox have the facial hair thing going, sort of like evil Spock. Well, not exactly, but it's what I thought of first.

And seriously, as mentioned #21 above, Cespedes and Stanton are not pieces of the same pie.
   27. Ziggy Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4777141)
Yeah, sure he's worth more to a large market team. But they should "act like a small market team" (=not sign expensive FAs) if the expected return (in their market) is less than the cost. That they have money to spend doesn't mean that they should spend it.
   28. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4777144)
Six or seven years and he's already 28 next year? Seems like an overpay. What are the MLEs on him?
   29. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4777148)
So when do you think the Dodgers will take him off Boston's hands? 2016? 2017?
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4777154)
Yeah, sure he's worth more to a large market team. But they should "act like a small market team" (=not sign expensive FAs) if the expected return (in their market) is less than the cost. That they have money to spend doesn't mean that they should spend it.


I agree. Except I'd have a quibble with the last sentence (depending on what you mean). In general, I'd rather a team with a $170m million payroll with the last $20m spent inefficiently than a team with a $150m payroll.
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4777156)
So when do you think the Dodgers will take him off Boston's hands? 2016? 2017?


ehhh, post #10 did it better.
   32. DCA Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4777169)
Not a Sox fan, but I think they have enough excess talent to make a serious play for Stanton.

Marlins would probably say okay to Betts, Bradley, Craig, Shaw, Swihart, and a couple of pitchers (say Owens and Workman) for Stanton and Cishek.
   33. Textbook Editor Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4777172)
Sox now have 8 MLB-ready* outfielders. Cespedes, JBJ, Nava, Betts, Castillo, Craig, Shane, Holt.

*More or less if we count Bradley and Betts.


Some of these OFs are bound to be offered as part of a deal for Hamels.* No idea which ones; just saying some of them surely will be, and you can argue many of them would be better than all non-Byrd OFs the Phillies trotted out in 2014, or have upside/youth/versatility to play the IF that the Phillies would be interested in.

*Note that I am not saying that's all that would be offered for Hamels; just that I can see 2-3 of those names being put in as part of the package.

   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4777173)
Deleted.
   35. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4777181)
That's more money than Jose Abreu got and his career line in Cuba was like .500 points of OPS higher than Castillo's.

Cespedes' career Cuban OPS was about 100 higher than Castillo's, Castillo's single season high was .982, Cespedes top two years were at 1.093 and 1.091

Abreu put up absolutely silly numbers, from 1.071 to 1.583

1.583 not a typo

   36. Sonic Youk Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4777194)
I think they're going to make a blockbuster trade, but it looks less and less like it will be Stanton.
   37. Nasty Nate Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4777202)
So I guess it's 7 years starting now - so 6 full seasons.
   38. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4777209)
Also, Boston fans, what the ####?

Xander Bogaerts is hitting .150/.193/.216 over his last 250 plate appearances.

You've really let my fantasy team down this year.
   39. Dale Sams Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4777223)
You've really let my fantasy team down this year.


You didn't pick up Holt? (tsk tsk)
   40. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4777228)
Also, Boston fans, what the ####?

Xander Bogaerts is hitting .150/.193/.216 over his last 250 plate appearances.


Xander Bogaerts - Opening Day to June 3: .304/.395/.464
Xander Bogaerts - June 3 and June 4: Hit on the wrist in consecutive games
Xander Bogaerts - June 5 to Present: .153/.193/.221

I'm open to other theories but I'm convinced (read: hoping) he's hiding an injury.
   41. Ziggy Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4777233)
As a fan my only concern with inefficient spending is that it would reduce the likelihood of more efficient spending (and the fact that guys with big salaries get playing time, regardless of their abilities). But from the team's perspective, inefficient spending (=costs greater than expected marginal revenue the player would generate) is always a bad thing.
   42. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4777236)
I don't know if that's "hoping". A wrist injury can permanently remove someone's slugging ability.
   43. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4777250)
Cespedes, JBJ, Nava, Betts, Castillo, Craig, Shane, Holt.


I think 3 1/2 would be a good over/under of how many of those players are here next year. The only two I'm certain of are Castillo and Holt with Holt coming back in a utility role. I think the rest will be trade bait/waiver fodder.
   44. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4777251)
I don't know if that's "hoping". A wrist injury can permanently remove someone's slugging ability.


If he's hurt at least it explains the failures. The alternative is he just adds his name to the list of prospects who turned out to be busts.
   45. AROM Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4777256)
Xander Bogaerts is hitting .150/.193/.216 over his last 250 plate appearances.


I knew he was slumping but damn. That's Brandon Wood territory.
   46. Sonic Youk Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4777260)
I haven't listened to it myself, but someone on sosh transcribed this from an Alex Speier podcast:

"What he (Bogaerts) keeps telling me is that his top hand just hasn't been firing through the zone in the same way that it has for basically his entire life, up until about mid-June. He's not sure why. He says, 'no injuries'. He just hasn't been able to feel his ability to just kind of whip the bat through the zone in a fashion that allows him to have his characteristic impact. "


Is it possible that there's something wrong with his wrist, but it doesn't hurt? It's very strange, he certainly looked like he was becoming a superstar right before this slump started.
   47. plim Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4777273)
   19. billyshears Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4777097)
One of these days I will be right that giving a tremendous amount of money to a mostly unknown player who will have to make a massive leap in leap of competition is a bad idea. I think this may be the one. From what I understand, Castillo wasn't even that good in Cuba.


this got me thinking. this deal kind of feels like when the yankees threw money at kei igawa after missing out on dicek (and to complete the analogy, dicek is abreu - never mind the fact that abreu got less money).
   48. tfbg9 Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4777294)
Six or seven years and he's already 28 next year? Seems like an overpay. What are the MLEs on him?


SG put up .275/.310/.450, which might be back of the envelope, I dunno.

I just saw a report that said that the kid will play for the Sox this year, so it's a 7 year deal
for tax purposes, but more a 6 year deal for "What a silly contract!" evaluations.

A super fast, guy good glove guy who hangs up a 275/310/450 line in 155 games is a pretty valuable player these days.
   49. villageidiom Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4777298)
Six or seven years and he's already 28 next year? Seems like an overpay.
I thought you like to wait until all the available evidence is in before making a judgment.
I don't know if that's "hoping". A wrist injury can permanently remove someone's slugging ability.
He has to make contact before slugging can come into play.

He has to be able to hit breaking pitches, sliders especially. He hasn't adjusted yet.
   50. Norcan Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4777307)
Xander Bogaerts - Opening Day to June 3: .304/.395/.464
Xander Bogaerts - June 3 and June 4: Hit on the wrist in consecutive games
Xander Bogaerts - June 5 to Present: .153/.193/.221

I'm open to other theories but I'm convinced (read: hoping) he's hiding an injury.


I don't know, he had a hot stretch a few weeks ago when no injury was in evidence and then went back into another prolonged slump. Even his numbers until June 3 were full of peaks and valleys. I hope he can pull out of it this last month and gain confidence going into next year. Watching him struggle has been one of the most depressing things to follow with the Red Sox and it's sapped my interest in watching many of their games.

Right after the all-star break, he experimented with going without batting gloves and made some of the hardest contact he had in a long time for two games. Then he ditched the experiment. Personally I like to see him just keep his hands on the bat instead of re-gripping and wagging the bat while the pitch is almost onto him but absent that, I wouldn't mind seeing him going the gloveless route again.
   51. Nasty Nate Posted: August 22, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4777315)
The Sox' hitting coach had a brain hemorrhage this season and missed some time. It seems like, given the young players on the team, they would really need the attention of a hitting coach.

And, yes, we are grasping at straws to help soothe the disappointment in Bogaerts' terrible season.
   52. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4777369)
From what I understand, Castillo wasn't even that good in Cuba.


This website pegs ol' Rusney as a ~3 WAR player, which is nice, but is it worth $72MM? (Actually, I just want a guy named Rusney to play in the majors, whether he's any good or not...)
   53. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4777411)
This website pegs ol' Rusney as a ~3 WAR player, which is nice, but is it worth $72MM? (Actually, I just want a guy named Rusney to play in the majors, whether he's any good or not...)

If he can average even close to 3m a year over the course of the contract it's a pretty nice bargain. How is that even a question?
   54. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4777466)
If he can average even close to 3m a year over the course of the contract it's a pretty nice bargain. How is that even a question?

Because if you're a 3-WAR player at 28, you don't usually average 3 WAR per year over ages 28-33.

That said, anywhere around 12 WAR is break-even, maybe even a bit less. If he is a 3-WAR player right now, he'll likely produce at least that much.

It's a pretty good sign that the Sox don't see much future for Bradley. It's not impossible that he will be a future starter with the Sox, but it's unlikely at this point.
   55. toratoratora Posted: August 22, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4777511)
I don't get this signing.
If the Sox wanted to cough up this kind of dough they should have signed Abreau. His numbers in Cuba were fantastic, much better than Puig's or Cespede's.
Abreau was clearly the elite power hitter, hell, the elite hitter period, in Cuba. Castillo-ehhh, not so much.

From a Baseball America article.
"In 2012-13, Castillo hit .274/.377/.399 in 68 Cuban games. In 2011-12, Castillo hit .332/.395/.545 in 420 plate appearances with 16 home runs, 22 stolen bases (third in the league) in 29 tries and a league-leading 28-doubles. In 2010-11, Castillo hit .324/.373/.555 with 18 home runs in 400 trips to the plate and led Serie Nacional with 29 stolen bases in 35 attempts."

In sum, from 2011 to 2013, he hit .315 with a .383 on-base percentage and .512 slugging percentage with Ciego de Avila in Cuba’s top league.

Those are good numbers but they're not close to what Abreau was doing. From 2011-2013, Abreu went (These are real, I swear).393/.537/.802.
For his part, Cespedes went .334/.420/.629 in a three year period from 2009-2011.

Fangraphs projects Castillo as a Victorino type player. That's nice, but bloody hell. He's a 5'9, 209 lb. free swinging gap hitter with a good glove, plays a decent CF*, has good to very good speed and was a guy seen as having average power at best until he put on twenty pounds and apparently wowed the scouts at tryouts. Whether it's real or not is a completely different thing.

I look at his stats and think best case scenario would be about average Ellsbury (An Ells that gets good reads and jumps, unlike the real deal), which would be a helluva steal.If the power works out it could also be a steal. But realistically, I just don't get this when the cash could have should have been spent on Abreau.
Oh my, what a beast he would be in Fenway and it's not as if the Sox have the 1B of the future waiting in the wings.

Viewed independently, as I probably should, I could like this signing. It's just money, the Sox have it to burn and I'm always for making moves which help the team. But given what could have been, this feels like the FO fumbled last off-season and overpaid to make up for it. It also feels a touch like that Carl Crawford exemplified "Smartest Guys in the Room" syndrome the FO seems to suffer from sometimes and that worries me.

*I should also note that when Castillo tried out for the MLB scouts, he did so at OF and at SS, which he's played a bit of early in his career.

ETA-Heck, they should have signed both. As a $140 mil package deal getting the 1b and CF of the next five or so years would have left me delighted.
   56. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2014 at 10:07 PM (#4777550)
If the Sox wanted to cough up this kind of dough they should have signed Abreau.

Napoli-Ortiz love!

Seriously a couple of things. They may have legitimately not have considered Abreu to be as good as or at least not better than Napoli. Napoli has after all put up a 132 OPS+ this year -- not in Abreu's neighborhood as it turned out but I don't think anybody was expecting Abreu to hit this well. Additionally, in the wake of Cespedes, Puig and Abreu, they may have decided their projections for Cubans were too low -- maybe they were too shy on those first three but better late than never.

The "Victorino type" is the slim chance I see for Bradley with the Sox. Presumably next year they'll go with a combo of Cespedes, Castillo, Victorino, Nava and Craig/Betts (if Craig can convince somebody he's not toast). But Victorino's contract is up after next year and, depending on Betts and Bradley's performances, they might decide that Bradley/Castillo is a nice CF/RF combo for 2016.
   57. toratoratora Posted: August 22, 2014 at 10:20 PM (#4777554)
Seriously a couple of things. They may have legitimately not have considered Abreu to be as good as or at least not better than Napoli. Napoli has after all put up a 132 OPS+ this year -- not in Abreu's neighborhood as it turned out but I don't think anybody was expecting Abreu to hit this well. Additionally, in the wake of Cespedes, Puig and Abreu, they may have decided their projections for Cubans were too low -- maybe they were too shy on those first three but better late than never.

But this is part of my point. Cespedes and Puig gave us some data points from which to examine and evaluate Cuban stars at an MLB level. As noted above, they were very good players in Cuba. Abreau though, he was on an entirely different plane. He was the Barry Bonds of Cuba, just annihilating the league. Over the prior three seasons he averaged a thoroughly ridiculous 1.339 OPS.
If there was any Cuban player to overbid on, he was the one.


As for Napoli, do you think the Sox see him as a long term answer at 1b? With his health and injury issues? Maybe he has a future of two year deals extending into infinity but I see him as less solution than stopgap.
Good player. Nice hitter. But not the answer.

I do agree however, that they may have undervalued their projections. Hence my concern about paying now to cover a prior error. And as I said, in a vacuum I'm pretty OK with this signing. It's more money than expected but what the heck, it's not my cash, it's an international signing and Castillo may turn out to be a pretty good little player.In fact, based on the track record of good Cubans, it wouldn't shock me at all.

But this feels somewhat akin to ending up with the bridesmaid as opposed to the bride.
   58. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 22, 2014 at 10:37 PM (#4777563)
Additionally, in the wake of Cespedes, Puig and Abreu, they may have decided their projections for Cubans were too low -- maybe they were too shy on those first three but better late than never.

Sometimes it's better never than late. Rusney Castillo wasn't in the same class as Cespedes, Puig, or Abreu in Cuba, so he shouldn't be seen as the next player in that procession.
   59. The District Attorney Posted: August 22, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4777593)
Yeah, I agree with the notion that if anything, this is not avoiding the Abreu mistake, but making the same mistake, i.e. linking all "Cuban guys" together. "Abreu is like Cespedes, but more of a hitter rather than an all-around player, so just pump up Cespedes' hitting stats a little"... when actually, they weren't "alike", Abreu was a lot better hitter, and had proven that.

Perhaps no one quite anticipated Abreu with a 950 OPS (although I bet someone did...), but everyone I saw who parsed the stats at least came up with the notion that he would have the same stat shape that he does, and that it would be quite a hitter. PECOTA 273/338/475, Steamer 269/353/535, Oliver 281/347/522, ZiPs 273/364/494. (real-life: 303/361/594)

I'm no scout, but just dumbing it down to caveman level, it sounds dangerous to pay "peak Shane Victorino" money to a guy whom you hope, rather than know, is Shane Victorino. It's especially weird when, after the front office has been so allergic recently to lengthy contracts for even established stars, they go seven years! Again, I don't know they're wrong. But it sets off warning signs, to me.
   60. Walt Davis Posted: August 23, 2014 at 03:40 AM (#4777622)
Sometimes it's better never than late. Rusney Castillo wasn't in the same class as Cespedes, Puig, or Abreu in Cuba, so he shouldn't be seen as the next player in that procession.

But you don't have to see him as the next player in that progression. You just have to decide to change your formula.

So, take Abreu and those projections in #59. So so far he's slugged from 60 - 120 points higher than projected -- that's rather a lot. His BA is 20-35 points higher than expected.

I don't recall the projections but Cespedes does have a career ISO over 200, as does Puig and Abreu is 2nd in the majors in ISO. If, say, you under-projected ISO for those guys by 50+ points and you project Castillo to have a 100 ISO well maybe that would cause you to rethink that it's more likely to be 150. That's rather important.

But it's also not the next player in that progression because they're not paying him to be a superstar.. Like I said, if he puts up even 12 WAR over 6 years they've broken even. If he's Victorino from 28-33, that's 21 WAR. Even Carl Crawford has a shot at 12 WAR from 28-33 (7 of it at age 28 but so be it). He doesn't have to be the next Puig/Abreu to be worth this contract. That teams may have gotten better bargains out of Cespedes/Puig/Abreu doesn't really affect the value of this deal.

As to the other guess, the last two years, Napoli has hit 262/371/467, 130 OPS+ ... that's better than Abreu's PECOTA projection, a bit worse than the ZiPS projection but also better than his own ZiPS projection. I agree they don't consider Napoli a long-term answer but if they projected Abreu to be about the same as Napoli, that's not necessarily the sort of player you want to make a 6-year commitment to either. (I also think they overpaid a smidgen for Napoli -- or at least I don't think anybody else was gonna match that AAV.)

I'm not saying they shouldn't have gotten Abreu (and in 20/20 hindsight it's obvious they should have), just speculating that they already had solutions they were happy with at 1B and DH and, by their projections, it wasn't clear that Abreu was a substantially better option at 6/$68.

Similarly, if Bradley had hit decently this year, I'd guess they wouldn't have signed Castillo. But, as it is, Castillo fits on the team -- i.e. I'm guessing they don't think they have an equal/better CF option over the next few years. Now, Victorino/Nava/etc. over Puig ...
   61. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 04:07 AM (#4777625)
But you don't have to see him as the next player in that progression. You just have to decide to change your formula.

But it's illogical to change the formula unless one believes Castillo is in the same class as Cespedes, Puig, and Abreu. Otherwise, using those three as the basis for changing the projections/valuation for Castillo makes little sense.

Like I said, if he puts up even 12 WAR over 6 years they've broken even.

Sure, but that's a big "if" for a 27-year-old with no U.S. experience who hasn't played a meaningful game in ~16 months and was never an elite player in Cuba, where the pitching is no better than what we see in A-ball.
   62. PreservedFish Posted: August 23, 2014 at 04:45 AM (#4777629)
But it's illogical to change the formula unless one believes Castillo is in the same class as Cespedes, Puig, and Abreu.


It's perfectly logical. With the new data from those three guys you'd even project the Neifi Perez of Cuba to hit better in America (better than you had previously projected him, that is). Actually, it's so perfectly logical that I don't understand what your objection is.
   63. bookbook Posted: August 23, 2014 at 04:58 AM (#4777630)
So Bogaerts is Brad Miller? It happens, even to the Red Sox
   64. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4777767)
It's perfectly logical. With the new data from those three guys you'd even project the Neifi Perez of Cuba to hit better in America (better than you had previously projected him, that is). Actually, it's so perfectly logical that I don't understand what your objection is.

It's not logical at all. Bryce Harper's fast ascent into MLB didn't make the other players from Las Vegas High School, or the league in which Las Vegas High School plays, better or safer prospects. Harper was merely one data point out of hundreds, just as Puig, Cespedes, Abreu, and Castillo were four data points out of hundreds. The performance of one or more players, especially players like Harper or Abreu who were clear outliers, tells us nothing about the next player from a team, league, country, etc.

Beyond that, any team that's been paying even mild attention to the Cuban market knows that the Cuban National Series is all but tapped out, making it even less logical to make upward projections of very recent defectors.

Last offseason, some of the "experts" told us that Jose Abreu was ML-ready, Erisbel Arruebarrena was ML-ready, Alex Guerrero was ML-ready, and Aledmys Diaz was ML-ready, and all four of them were paid as if they were (Diaz to a lesser extent, but he signed very late, and $8M is $8M). But only one of them truly was ML-ready. Castillo was much more in the Arruebarrena/Guerrero/Diaz class in Cuba; if Castillo was to get paid based on other recent defectors, those guys were the true comps, not Cespedes, Puig, and Abreu.
   65. McCoy Posted: August 23, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4777803)
Alex and Erisbel's numbers certainly make them look like they are MLB ready.
   66. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4777805)

Almost by definition, if they were ML-ready, they would have started the season in the ML.* Both are under long-term contract; there were no service-time games to be played.

Beyond that, Arruebarrena put up a .264/.311/.403/.713 slash line in the minors this year, with 76 K and 14 BB. That's your idea of ML-ready?


(* Yes, I know Guerrero was on the roster for the Australia trip.)
   67. McCoy Posted: August 23, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4777808)
Arruebbarrena started off slow in AA but then started hitting. He got called up to the majors and didn't embarass himself in a handful of games. He then got sent back down to AAA and hit very well. He then got into a fight I believe and got suspended. AFter that he's had a .866 OPS in 16 games since July 25th. As a SS he's probably ready and his performance would probably have him on the major league roster of most teams. Since getting sent back down Erisbel has had a .818 OPS in 39 games. Including all ML games he has had a .811 OPS in 43 games.

I don't really buy the argument that if they were ready they would be on opening day rosters. GMs are not perfect decision making robots.
   68. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 05:27 PM (#4777809)
Arruebbarrena started off slow in AA but then started hitting. He got called up to the majors and didn't embarass himself in a handful of games. He then got sent back down to AAA and hit very well. He then got into a fight I believe and got suspended. AFter that he's had a .866 OPS in 16 games since July 25th. As a SS he's probably ready and his performance would probably have him on the major league roster of most teams.

The slash line is the slash line and the K/BB is the K/BB. Cherry-picked 16-game stretches in August don't tell us much about Arruebarrena's alleged ML-readiness in March.
   69. McCoy Posted: August 23, 2014 at 05:35 PM (#4777811)
He was in all probability ready in March. If he's ready now and he was ready a month ago and was ready two months ago he was ready in March. Even if he wasn't somehow ready in March the fact that it only took him about a month to be ready makes the point meaningless.

Why aren't you trying to reassert the claim that Alex Guerrero is not ready? You tried to make the claim that only 1 of 4 of the supposed "MLB ready" players was actually ready but it appears that at the very least 2 of them were ready and in all probability 3 of them were ready with the one that hasn't been ready is by your own admission the one least likely to be ready.
   70. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4777815)
He was in all probability ready in March. If he's ready now and he was ready a month ago and was ready two months ago he was ready in March. Even if he wasn't somehow ready in March the fact that it only took him about a month to be ready makes the point meaningless.

Arruebarrena spent two months hitting below .200 in the Southern League before being called up due to injury, and he put up a lousy .713 OPS with a 76/14 K/BB across four levels of the minors, but he was ML-ready all along. Right.

Why aren't you trying to reassert the claim that Alex Guerrero is not ready? You tried to make the claim that only 1 of 4 of the supposed "MLB ready" players was actually ready but it appears that at the very least 2 of them were ready and in all probability 3 of them were ready with the one that hasn't been ready is by your own admission the one least likely to be ready.

If Guerrero was ready, he would have made the team. Dee Gordon's 2014 was the opposite of expectation (and, indeed, his numbers have come back to earth). The Dodgers only signed Guerrero in the first place because they were unhappy with their options at 2B.

The "in all probability 3 of them were ready" is just you repeating an assertion. Arruebarrena's performance speaks for itself.
   71. McCoy Posted: August 23, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4777819)
In Erisbel's first 9 games he hit .139. He then hit .250 over 16 games before getting called up. He spent 1 month in the Southern League before getting called up, not two months. After those first 10 days he played almost 60 games and has played much much better.

Why do you think Guerrero is not ready? Other than saying he wasn't on the opening roster what part of his game and performance so far would indicate to you that he wasn't and still isn't ready?
   72. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 06:04 PM (#4777826)
In Erisbel's first 9 games he hit .139. He then hit .250 over 16 games before getting called up. He spent 1 month in the Southern League before getting called up, not two months. After those first 10 days he played almost 60 games and has played much much better.

If "much much better" still only yields a .713 OPS and a 76/14 K/BB, then how "much better" could it really have been? The numbers are the numbers.

Why do you think Guerrero is not ready? Other than saying he wasn't on the opening roster what part of his game and performance so far would indicate to you that he wasn't and still isn't ready?

Guerrero might be ready now, but his defense is apparently still rough, at least in the Dodgers' eyes. You're hand-waving the fact that the Dodgers chose Gordon over Guerrero, but that's goes directly to the issue of ML-readiness. The only reason the Dodgers signed Guerrero was because they thought they had a hole at 2B, and yet Guerrero still lost the position battle.
   73. McCoy Posted: August 23, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4777842)
That it happened is proof that it should have happened is a funny way to argue.


If "much much better" still only yields a .713 OPS and a 76/14 K/BB, then how "much better" could it really have been? The numbers are the numbers.

Yes, the numbers are the numbers and they say Erisbel is ready. He's been hitting the ball very well for more than 3 months now. His first few weeks he struggled and yet the rest of his season has been very good. .316/.366/.466 line with 14 walks and 60 strikeouts in 50 games that also include major league time.
   74. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 06:52 PM (#4777845)
Yes, the numbers are the numbers and they say Erisbel is ready. He's been hitting the ball very well for more than 3 months now. His first few weeks he struggled and yet the rest of his season has been very good. .316/.366/.466 line with 14 walks and 60 strikeouts in 50 games that also include major league time.

You're just saying the same thing over and over again. A 60/14 K/BB ratio for a no-power middle infielder with an unsustainable BABIP* in a cherry-picked sample is hardly proof of a player's ML-readiness, let alone proof the player was ML-ready from the start.


(* Arruebarrena's BABIP is .500 in the big leagues and .458 in Triple-A. I'm guessing neither will prove sustainable.)
   75. McCoy Posted: August 23, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4777848)
The K/BB ratio is not really all that whacky nowadays. Plenty of players are getting chances with that kind of ratio. Cherry picked? I keep saying the same thing because it is relevant. He struggled early on and since then has done very well. What is more likely that he'll have a .134/.181/.209 line from here on out or that he'll put up an .800+ OPS?
   76. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4777851)
The K/BB ratio is not really all that whacky nowadays. Plenty of players are getting chances with that kind of ratio. Cherry picked? I keep saying the same thing because it is relevant. He struggled early on and since then has done very well. What is more likely that he'll have a .134/.181/.209 line from here on out or that he'll put up an .800+ OPS?

He's put up an .832 OPS in a period covering 50 games while posting a BABIP between .458 and .500 between 3A and the ML. Textbook example of a small sample size and an unsustainable rate of production.
   77. McCoy Posted: August 23, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4777852)
Chalking it up to small sample size doesn't mean the player isn't ready for the majors.
   78. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4777853)
Chalking it up to small sample size doesn't mean the player isn't ready for the majors.

If being able to put up a -2.0 WAR over the first two months of the season is "ready for the majors," then, sure, Arruebarrena was probably ready for the majors.
   79. God Posted: August 23, 2014 at 07:52 PM (#4777858)
Starting the season in the minors tells us absolutely zero about whether Arruebarrena was ready or not. There's this guy called Hanley Ramirez...
   80. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4777868)
Starting the season in the minors tells us absolutely zero about whether Arruebarrena was ready or not. There's this guy called Hanley Ramirez...

Starting the season in the minors, hitting below .200 in Double-A, and then putting up a slash line of .264/.311/.403/.713 in the minors with a 76/15 K/BB ratio tells us quite a lot.
   81. PreservedFish Posted: August 23, 2014 at 11:09 PM (#4777931)
just as Puig, Cespedes, Abreu, and Castillo were four data points out of hundreds.


Are there indeed hundreds of data points? You know much more about this than I do, obviously.
   82. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 23, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4777956)
Are there indeed hundreds of data points?

I stopped keeping track a few years ago, but I'd guess there have been at least 150 defectors in the past decade. For every Abreu or Puig, there are five or ten who sign small MiLB contracts or no contract at all. (As an example, this outfielder had a much better Cuban career than Rusney Castillo, left Cuba a couple years earlier, and played in a much tougher National Series. He signed with Toronto for something like $300,000 and is apparently out of pro ball already.)

Obviously, teams always need to be reassessing players, leagues, etc. It just strikes me as crazy that Abreu's ML performance could have moved the needle so much.
   83. PreservedFish Posted: August 24, 2014 at 12:39 AM (#4778000)
I was only thinking of players that actually have MLB stat lines as data points. Puig, Cespedes and Abreu might indeed be enough to materially change what equivalency statistics people are using.
   84. toratoratora Posted: August 24, 2014 at 12:45 AM (#4778002)
Another problem with data points is, well, that it's difficult to get reliable numbers from Cuba.
Quoted from a 1/16/2014 FG article re JDA:
Let’s just list, in bullet point form, the problems with the data coming from Cuba:

• Inconsistent record-keeping.
• Small sample size of Cuban players coming to America.
• Non-existent sample size of American players going to Cuba.
• A recent change in ball size.
• Sheer number of parks (40 parks for 17 teams!).
• Inconsistent park conditions.
• Political influence on roster decisions.
• Large swings in talent level based on defections.


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