By Sam Bush

In a year when the Phillies aren’t exactly the People’s Choice, they seem to have become the choice of a Cuban phenom who is also coveted by other MLB teams.

Rusney Castillo is sifting through offers from several teams, but hasn’t set a timetable for when he will sign a free-agent contract.

Castillo, a Cuban refugee, completed private workouts last Friday when he worked out for the Mariners. He has displayed his tools to the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Tigers and Cubs in private workouts after holding a showcase for 28 teams in Miami.

According to several teams with interest in the 27-year-old, who hasn’t played an organized game in a year, the Phillies are the favorite. However, that isn’t a consensus.

Most teams like the 5-foot-9, 205-pounder as an outfielder, but the Yankees also think he might be able to play second base. They could have a need there next season if Martin Prado has to play right field or third base.

Castillo, who is being represented by Roc Nation, desires to be play in the big leagues this year. In order to do that, he likely needs to sign with a team shortly and play in minor league games.

What he is worth remains a question. Jose Abreu, the runaway favorite in the AL Rookie of the Year race, got six years and $68 million from the White Sox last offseason. The Dodgers gave Yasiel Puig seven years at $42 million, and the A’s signed Yoenis Cespedes, since dealt to the Red Sox, for four years and $36 million.

Industry experts believe those contracts are undervalued and feel Castillo could get in the $40 million to $55 million range.


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