Rusney Castillo is the latest name to surface as a Cuban defector looking for the bright lights and big money of Major League baseball. But how will he impact his new club and will it change their MLB odds?
So Who Is This Guy?
Rusney Castillo is a 27-year-old Cuban national who played for the Cuban National Team and has been a decisive factor in a plethora of international tournaments. Although only 5’9” tall and weighing in at 185 pounds Castillo is known for two consecutive seasons where he hit .320 and .342 in 2011 and 2012 playing for Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series. He also led the league in steals during the 2011 campaign and ranked third the following season in that category. He is considered to be Major League ready and should be a boon to any team with an outfield vacancy to fill.
By as early as this weekend Rusney Castillo will say goodbye to his native land and hello to a big money contract with either the Boston Red Sox or the Detroit Tigers. Clearly his impact will be far greater this season if he decides to wear a Tigers uniform as Detroit is trying to reclaim the lead in the surprisingly competitive AL Central. The upstart Kansas City Royals hold a 1 ½ game lead as the baseball season rounds into the homestretch.
It is worth noting that since the departure of center fielder and fan favorite Austin Jackson, who was involved in a three team swap which landed the Tigers premier pitcher David Price, Detroit has compiled a 10-10 record during that span which has landed them in second place and now only five games ahead of third place Cleveland. Those punters who decided to throw caution to the wind before the season commenced and bet the Tigers at 1-3 in MLB odds must now be biting their collective fingernails as Kansas City has come out of nowhere as the 7-1 preseason choice to win the AL Central crown.
The Boston Red Sox would welcome Castillo with open arms and they may actually have an inside track on acquiring his services with Yoenis Cespedes, a fellow Cuban defector, as a sort of comrade-in-arms. Certainly Boston is not a playoff destination this season but they desperately need to fill the hole that was created in the offseason when Jacoby Ellsbury took the money and ran all the way to the Big Apple. Jackie Bradley Jr., possessing phenomenal defensive and base stealing skills, was supposed to fill that vacuous void but his struggles at the plate have been so debilitating that he is now plying his trade in Triple-A Pawtucket. Therefore, Boston is hoping that adding Castillo will allow them to focus exclusively on upgrading their pitching while they wait until next year.
As of this writing the Tigers have gone from -300 prohibitive favorites to a much more palatable -129 in MLB odds being dealt at offshore shops like Ladbrokes.com. But perhaps you enjoy Cinderella stories as much as the next guy and believe that the Kansas City Royals will continue to put daylight between themselves and the Tigers. If so you can truck on over to the Irish bookmaker PaddyPower.com and get KC at +135 in MLB odds if you’re feeling a bit regal about the Royals chances of capturing the AL Central.
However, if the Tigers do regain their stride and contend for postseason glory then you may want to lock in at a relatively decent price of +400 to win the AL Pennant and +750 to win the 2014 World Series with both MLB prop odds being dealt at PaddyPower.com.