Yesterday the news filtered out that the once heralded Red Sox prospect and ex-major leaguer Rusney Castillo had been selected by the Falcons of the UAE’ s Baseball United Professional Baseball in their draft. Castillo was selected in the fifth round, the 37th pick overall. The new league opens its door on November 25th. Ex-big league stars such as Robinson Canó, Pablo Sandoval, Bartolo Colón and Andrelton Simmons are slated to see action in the circuit.
The once five-tool Castillo decided to leave Cuba in 2013 in search of a major league contract and made news when he received the biggest contract given to a Cuban defector when he signed a 7-year 72 million dollar deal with the Boston Red Sox. Castillo played three years in majors with BoSox hitting .262 with seven homeruns and 35 RBIs in 99 games with the American League squad.
After his time with Massachusetts’ finest he went on to sign a minor league deal with Washington Nationals but was released before actually suiting up with the team from the nation’s capital. Upon his release he was then inked by the Rakuten Eagles of the Nippon League where he hit a paltry .225 in 33 games with the big squad.
El cubano Rusney Castillo fue drafteado en la ronda 5 en el Draft de la @BaseballUnited, la nueva liga de béisbol del Medio Oriente. El avileño fue seleccionado por los @abdfalcons y compartirá equipo con Pablo Sandoval y otros jugadores con paso por la #MLB#pelotacubana pic.twitter.com/tsNgICNtkE
— Ariel Santa Cruz (@ArielSCPE) October 23, 2023
Castillo then went on to see action with Long Island Ducks and Staten Island Ferryhawks in 2022. Last season the 36-year-old played in the Liga Mexicana de Béisbol with the Mariachis de Guadalajara batting a solid .279 in 13 games. The slugger looks to resurrect a career that seems to be nearing its end by displaying his talents in the middle eastern circuit.
During his time in the Serie Nacional he slashed .315/.380/.501/.881, went downtown 42, knocked in 192 runs and stole 68 bases. Castillo also saw action with the national squad in the 2011 Baseball World Cup and the Pan American Games that same year. It is unclear whether Castillo will play in the Cuban Liga Élite this year as he intended before being selected by the Falcons. Other players that have returned to the Serie Nacional/Liga Élite after signing with MLB organizations are Yadir Drake, Erisbel Arruebarruena, Rubi Silva, Roberto Baldoquín and Robert Hernández to name a few.