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Boston Red Sox Sign Cuban Outfielder Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo @ XVI Pan American Games
Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox have outdistanced 7 other major league teams to win the race to sign Cuban free-agent outfielder Rusney Castillo.

FOX Sports reports that the BoSox will sign Castillo to a 7-year, $72.5 million contract that is almost completely backloaded, with little money in 2014 for this season.

Competition to sign Castillo has been high since the 27 year old outfielder was the centerpiece of a workout showcase held July 26th in Miami. Castillo held private workouts for the Red Sox, Phillies, Yankees, Cubs, Tigers, Giants, Mariners and Reds, sources told Rosenthal.

Earlier this week, sources identified the Red Sox, Tigers and Giants as the teams still in the mix. The unusual structure of Castillo’s contract will give the Red Sox a break on average salary for luxury-tax purposes this season, while Castillo will get a record contract for a Cuban free agent. He joins fellow Cuban Yoenis Cespedes in the Red Sox outfield, which should help ease the transition to Boston for both players. Cespedes was acquired from the Oakland Athletics on July 31st in exchange for left-handed pitcher John Lester and outfielder Johnny Gomes.

The Red Sox’s offensive production in the outfield has been a weak point for the team this season. But this move, combined with the acquisition of Cespedes and Allen Craig from the St. Louis Cardinals gives Red Sox Nation hope for a stronger outfield in 2015.

Castillo’s deal will be the highest total value for a Cuban free agent. Jose Abreu, signed by the White Sox last October, still has the highest average annual value with his 6-year, $68M deal.

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