Rays Notes: Bad News for Longoria, Rays Sign IFA Jose Castillo

By Robbie Knopf

Mixed emotions over the last few days for the Rays, with the bad outweighing the good right now. The results have not been good of late for the Rays and this Marc Topkin tweet had to sting a little bit more.

The Rays need Longoria, desperately, and Matt Joyce had a setback as well recently so basically it’s panic mode right now for the Rays as they look to put together some type of offense. The Rays have to hope Joyce will be back soon, but the only certainty for Longoria is uncertainty- Topkin posted that Longoria will be out until at least August, putting the Rays in a tough position moving forward.

On the complete opposite edge of the spectrum is the fact that the Rays have signed 16 year old Venezuelan left-handed pitcher Jose Castillo to a deal with a 1.55 million dollar bonus, first reported by Ben Badler of Baseball America. Castillo, just 16 years old, is 6’4″ and 200 pounds. Castillo stands out for his lanky frame with definite projection remaining along with his impressive arsenal of pitches. He throws a fastball in the low-90’s that features late bite but when makes him special for a prospect his age is his changeup, something we know is an emphasis of the Rays organization. Castillo’s changeup features run and late sink and with continued progress looks to be a definite plus pitch moving forward. He also has a curveball that requires further development. Castillo is another very promising pitching prospect that the Rays have added to their system and it is very encouraging to see the Rays be so aggressive in the international signing market. Information on their other international signings are here and here.

A couple other positive news items revolve around players actually returning from injuries. Sam Fuld has returned to action, though, going 0 for 3 in a rehab game with the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs on Saturday. Marc Topkin reported (see the Topkin link above) that his rehab assignment is expected to last 20 days. The Rays can’t wait to have his defense, experience, and intangibles back in the big league roster. Prospects CF Mikie Mahtook and RHP Taylor Guerrieri, have also both returned after suffering shoulder injuries. Mahtook went 2 for 3 in his first game back with Charlotte on Saturday while Guerrieri starts Sunday for the Short Season-A Hudson Valley Renegades.