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Report: Red Sox to sign Cuban OF Rusney Castillo to $72 million deal

Report: Red Sox to sign Cuban OF Rusney Castillo to $72 million deal Photo:

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a record six-year, $72 million deal with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, as first reported by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

There are conflicting reports regarding the length and exact financial terms of the deal, with WEEI reporting it to be a seven-year, $72.5 million contract.

Castillo defected from Cuba last year and acquired permanent Haitian residency papers. He was declared a free agent by MLB in June. Because the 26-year-old played played five years in Cuba’s top professional league, he is exempt from MLB’s international spending cap.

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The reported contract is larger than the $68 million deal that Jose Abreu signed with the Chicago White Sox in October 2013, the previous most expensive contract given to a player from Cuba.

The outfielder has not played organized baseball in over a year. Before his showcase for MLB teams in July, Castillo had been training in the northern region of the Dominican Republic.

Castillo played for the Cuban national baseball team at the 2011 Baseball World Cup and the 2011 Pan American Games. He wasn't picked for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, partly due to a sore arm, and left Cuba shortly after, according to Cuban baseball historian Peter Bjarkman.

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The Red Sox currently have four outfielders on their active roster, including Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, whom they acquired at the July 31 trade deadline.

- Sarah Barshop

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