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Should the Royals be in on Rusney Castillo?

The Cuban free agent is supposedly MLB-ready. Could be a long-term answer in right-field?

Dennis Grombkowski

Rusney Castillo is expected to make a decision on where he will sign soon, which begs the question - should the Royals be looking to sign Castillo?

Rusney Castillo is a 27-year old right-handed hitting outfielder free agent from Cuba. Kurt Menschning has a nice summary of Casillo here. He is a short, stocky outfielder who has been described anywhere from a poor man's Yasiel Puig to a fourth-outfielder-type with a long swing. Castillo is polished and considered "big-league ready" after 360 games in Cuba's top leagues where he hit .319/.388/.516.

Castillo can fly and has a nice muscular frame that can show some pop. Some doubt he'll ever be a big home run hitter, but scouts do like his gap power. A gap-hitting outfielder who can fly around the bases and the outfield would fit in quite well in Kauffman Stadium. Castillo's arm has been rated very low, which may make right-field problematic. Ben Badler observed Castillo's workout for teams back in July.

Castillo always had good bat speed and could sting the ball with a line-drive approach in Cuba, but on Saturday he hit balls out to all fields, displaying plus raw power in BP. Several scouts felt Castillo took a home run derby mentality with him into his BP session instead of his standard game swing, but it worked to show some scouts they needed to adjust their grades on him.

Castillo is likely looking for a four- or five-year contract worth $30-50 million. The big market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, and Tigers are expected to be active bidders on Castillo.

The only significant Cuban free agent the Royals have signed under Dayton Moore is left-handed pitcher Noel Arguelles, who turned out to be a huge flop. Should the Royals be active for Cuban free agents again after the success of Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig or is the price tag just too high?