Last month, while dragging my drunk ass out of Fenway Park, I noticed a NESN ad on the side of a trash can on Brookline Ave. What made the ad particularly memorable is that it proudly declared Rusney Castillo “The Future of The Nation.” At the time, Rusney was swabbing the deck down in Pawtucket, so I chuckled and wrote about it and then didn’t give it much thought.
Then, a few weeks ago, when Blake Swihart went down, Rusney was one of the players called up. He saw little action, save a ninth-inning pitch hit appearance last week where he promptly (and not surprisingly) whiffed to end the game. Not a good omen.
Today, the Sox officially put Rusney on waivers, ending one of the more curious relationships in years. To summarize this story that oddly echoed the “negotiating fee” we had to pay to even discuss signing Daisuke Matsuzaka with Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Sox signed an unproven-in-the-MLB-but-having-five-tool-potential Castillo in 2014 for the tidy sum of $72.5 million, then kinda sat back and silently hoped he’d pan out. He didn’t.
It’s all further proof that you just can’t predict how a player’s gonna pan out. Sure, if you want the latest odds on a Red Sox game, you visit Betfair Casino. But if you want to see where a player’s gonna be a few months or years down the road… you have to simply roll the dice.
To be fair, Castillo *did* have a year out of baseball before joining the Sox. And he had a couple nagging injuries that seemed to slow him down every time he might have been on the verge of a break-out. Also, he was a Cuban defector with family back home who may well have had some personal issues that impacted his play when he first came to the States. But I’m not sure anyone ever saw anything in his brief tenure with the Sox that justified a mad rush to Cuba to hand the guy a suitcase full of cash. Smarter guys might be able to point to a few positives; I couldn’t find any.
But he did have a bitchin’ ride.