Rusney Castillo is one of the few mega-millionaires I actually kind of felt bad for over the years. The Red Sox signed him to a gigantic contract based off of a And1 Mixtape workout video (which seems to have been scrubbed from the internet) and he shockingly never really lived up to the hype. Well because of their seemingly never ending luxury tax issues, the Sox stashed Castillo in Pawtucket for the last 4 years. The reason John Henry is fine paying Castillo $11 million a year to play in the Ocean State? Because AAA player salaries don’t count against the major league payroll of course! So rather than maybe work his way into a 4th outfielder role, Castillo has been stuck in Pawtucket so the Sox can hide his money like it’s an offshore bank account. He’s been pretty good too with a minor league career batting avg of .293 in 467 games and he even hit 17 dingers in 2019.
And if you enjoy players sticking it to owners, it’s impossible not to laugh at Castillo forgoing free agency and the opportunity to play in the majors somewhere. Nope, he had a player option for $13.5 million in 2020 that he happily opted into knowing he’ll most certainly remain in AAA.
After slashing $59 million off the 2020 payroll with the salary dumps of Mookie Betts and David Price, there’s suddenly some breathing room under the luxury tax. So maybe 2020 is the year we finally see Rusney Castillo for a full season? Why the hell not.