Phillies catch a break with Rusney Castillo, Yasmany Tomas

Rusney Castillo #38 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Rusney Castillo #38 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Phillies made out by not signing Rusney Castillo or Yasmany Tomas

In the summer of 2013 and the months that shortly followed, the Philadelphia Phillies were among the contenders to sign top Cuban free agents.

Three names stuck out, in particular — pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, as well as outfielders Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas. The Phillies signed one of the three to a multi-year, $12 million deal, the late Gonzalez — whose MLB career consisted of just six relief appearances in which he posted a 6.75 ERA and 2.250 WHIP ratio across 5 1/3 innings.

The Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks later inked Castillo and Tomas, respectively, for a much higher price tag. Neither teams saw a positive return on investment; both outfielders officially became free-agents on Wednesday.

Castillo, 33, earned more than $70 million with the Red Sox, despite him not playing in the major leagues since the 2016 season. In just 99 games and 337 plate appearances from 2014-16, Castillo slashed .262/.301/.379 with 12 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, and 35 RBI.

Tomas, 29, played 309 games with the Diamondbacks from 2015-17 and 2019. Across 1,175 plate appearances, he slashed .266/.306/.459 with 60 doubles, five triples, 48 home runs, and 163 RBI. Tomas struck out 299 times, while garnering just 61 walks. He, too, has earned nearly $70 million from the Diamondbacks.

Tomas showed promise in his second season in the majors (2016), slugging 31 home runs and 83 RBI. However, in 2017, he played in just 47 games, producing eight home runs and 32 RBI.

The New York Post reported in August 2014 that the Phillies were the favorites to sign Castillo. The Phillies were on the top of the list for Tomas, too, and even invited him to their Dominican Republic complex for a private session — the first team to extend such a gesture, according to a December 2014 Philadelphia Inquirer report. The Phillies reportedly showed “constant interest” in Tomas, but never offered him a contract.

The Phillies ultimately made the right decision by not overbidding for either highly coveted international prospect, sticking with only their Gonzalez signing for $12 million. Doing so, they saved about $140 million.

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