BOSTON, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The Red Sox are near the bottom of the heap in the standings this year, but Boston came out on top in one of the year's most hotly contested races.
The Sox on Friday reportedly struck a deal with 27-year-old Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, beating out several other interested teams with a seven-year, $72.5 million contract.
Castillo has drawn comparisons to the likes of fellow Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig, two of his fellow countrymen who have made a huge impact on Major League Baseball in the past three seasons.
Boston scouts have been eying Castillo since he defected last December, when he established residence in Haiti. He began working out for Major League teams last month and impressed teams in a July 26 showcase in Coral Gables, Fla.
The reigning World Series champions are last in the American League East, at 15 games under .500, but after dumping several key members of their 2013 squad, the Red Sox appear poised to start fresh next year.
With the pickings for outfielders on the free agent market this winter expected to be slim, picking up Castillo looks to be an investment in the future. He'll join Cespedes, who was traded from Oakland last month, and Allen Craig, brought over from St. Louis, as new members of the Sox outfield, and Shane Victorino is expected to be back next year after back surgery ended his season early this year.
Although the details of the contract are still being worked out, and pending a physical in Boston this weekend, Castillo's contract will begin this season. He'll earn just $500,000 for the first year of the contract, bringing down his annual average to $10.36 million and helping the Sox avoid the $189 million luxury tax threshold.