Red Sox Sign Cuban OF Rusney Castillo

Team confirms Castillo's contract runs through 2020

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Boston Red Sox have officially signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo through 2020, the team confirmed Saturday.

    Roc Nation, the agency founded by rapper Jay-Z, tweeted a photo of Castillo signing the deal with Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington, calling it a six-year deal worth $72.5 million.

    Alex Speeir of WEEI reports that the deal includes a $5.4 million signing bonus and just $100,000 in salary for the rest of 2014. According to Speeir, Castillo will earn $10.5 million annually between 2015 and 2017 and $11 million in 2018 and 2019.

    Speeir reports that 2020, the final year of Castillo's deal, is a player's option worth $13.5 million.

    The 27-year-old center fielder was at Fenway Park before Saturday's game, meeting with manager John Farrell and his new teammates, as Jimmy Toscano of Comcast SportsNet New England reports.

    According to the Red Sox, Castillo played 360 games over five seasons with Serie Nacional, batting .319/.383/.516 with 51 homers and 76 stolen bases.

    While statistics in Cuban baseball do not correlate directly to those in the majors, his counting stats would extrapolate rougly to 23 and 34 steals over a full 162-game season.

    Thursday night, it had been reported by ESPN Boston that the Red Sox and Detroit Tigers appeared to be the frontrunners for the prized international free agent. Castillo had worked out privately for eight teams, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

    The reported value of the deal trumps those of other recent signings for Cuban bats, including Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers (seven years for $42 million) and Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox (six years for $68 million). Both of those hitters have had strong impacts on their teams - Puig has hit .314/.391/.521 with 32 homers in the past two seasons while Abreu has batted .303/.361/.594 with 32 homers since April.

    Yoenis Cespedes, for whom the Red Sox traded Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, signed with the Oakland Athletics in 2012 for three years and $36 million after his defection from Cuba.

    The Red Sox previously committed $103 million to sign Daisuke Matsuzaka - his contract was for $52 million and the team posted $51 million fee for the opportunity to negotiate exclusively with the Nippon Professional Baseball pitcher.

    A video featuring highlights of Castillo's showcase for scouts was posted on Jay Z's YouTube page:

    The video lists Castillo's height at 5'9 and weight at 205 pounds.