We’re really getting into the nitty-gritty of the MLB playoff races and teams are still adjusting their rosters in order to one-up the competition. With all of this movement, as well as some other big news, there’s more than enough to talk about this week. Let’s get to it!
Red Sox Sign Castillo
After months and months of speculation, the bidding for star Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo finally came to an end this week, with the Boston Red Sox coming to terms with him on a 7-year, $72 million contract that will run through his 34th birthday.
This has to be seen as redemption of sorts for the Red Sox, who lost out on heavy-hitting Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu last year. Abreu has been tearing up the league and will wind up running away with the AL Rookie of the Year this year, so it’s clear Boston didn’t want to let this guy slip through their fingers.
As for what Castillo brings to the table, he’s been described as a smaller version of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. He’s known to have above average speed, as well as solid contact and power skills. In the field, he’s capable of playing both center field and right field.
I’m definitely a fan of this move for the Red Sox. At just around $10 million per year, the investment in him isn’t so great that it’ll hinder the team’s flexibility in the future, and if his game translates as well to the MLB as Abreu, Puig and fellow Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has to this point, it could be seen as a bonafide steal. Do you wish the Cubs had upped their offer for Castillo?
With a hot start to their season back in April, the Detroit Tigers looked like they were solid contenders to make a World Series run. With 3 aces at the top of their rotation and Miguel Cabrera in their lineup, it looked like this year could be the season that the team finally broke through and won the title.
Over the past couple of months (and the past week especially), it’s looked like the Tigers will be lucky just to even make it into the playoffs. Even the acquisition of David Price hasn’t been able to offset the struggles of the team and it really doesn’t look too bright for them right now.
After getting embarrassed by the Minnesota Twins in a 20-6 thrashing, the team followed that up with yet another loss. They turned things around yesterday, but consistency has been a problem for them all year long.
With a payroll sitting around $170 million (good for third in all of baseball) it would have to be seen as a colossal disappointment if they somehow managed to miss the playoffs. It’s definitely not too late for them to turn it around, but they’re going to have to start winning games sooner or later. Do you think the Tigers will end up topping the Royals in the AL Central?
Orioles Get Bad News; Make Changes
Back to the AL East, as the division-leading Baltimore Orioles are going to have to overcome a major loss in their lineup. After tearing a ligament in his left knee to end last season early, Manny Machado has done it yet again, tearing the same ligament, just this time in his right knee. Yet again, he’ll be done for the season.
This is a major blow for the Fightin’ Showalters, who are trying to clinch their first AL East title in 17 years. Along with this stroke of bad luck, the team also decided to replace one of their big free agent acquisitions from last offseason in the starting rotation.
Ubaldo Jimenez, who signed a contract worth $50 million towards the end of the offseason, wasn’t putting anyone’s doubts to rest this season. Those who saw his post All-Star break numbers from last year as a fluke may be proven correct, as they’ve replaced him in the rotation with Miguel Gonzalez.
Overall, I still think the Orioles have what it takes to wind up taking home the divisional crown, but the loss of Machado will really hurt any chances they had for a deep postseason run. Looking towards the future, yet another knee injury to their young third baseman can’t look all that great, either. Do you think the Orioles will win the AL East?
This Week’s MVP: Marcell Ozuna (.478/.480/.957, 3 HR, 10 RBI)