Rusney Castillo, a 27-year-old Cuban defector who is drawing heavy interest from the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers, is "moving rapidly" towards making a decision later this week, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports.
Castillo is listed at 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds and can play infield or outfield. He has reportedly worked out for the vast majority of MLB teams and is represented by Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports.
According to Lauber, Castillo "possesses less power but more speed than White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu." Abreu is the latest of several Cuban defectors to find success in the majors, a group that includes 2014 All-Stars Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman.
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It's doubtful that Castillo would base his decision primarily on whether specific teams view him as an outfielder or an infielder at the big-league level. Also, it seems unlikely he would be greatly influenced by the presence of additional Cuban players on the roster.
The Philadelphia Phillies were thought to be in the running for his services, and worked him out privately last month, but they are reportedly now long-shots to sign Castillo.
The Cubs, Yankees, Tigers and Red Sox remain the front-runners, according to various reports.
In order to be eligible for the postseason, Castillo must be signed by August 31.
Cuban star power is taking over MLB
On Tuesday's SI Now, Sports Illustrated senior writer Jay Jaffe, assistant managing editor Stephen Cannella, and associate editor Ted Keith discuss the role Cuban players' strong personalities and great talents are shaping MLB.
- Molly Geary