Monday brought news that 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler signed with the Chicago Cubs. Other teams, including the Yankees, were in pursuit, but the Cubs won out because they offered the most money, which is how teams win out in things like this. Initial word was that Soler signed for nine years and $30 million.
Which is absolutely correct. But, ho! A twist! Ken Rosenthal:
Once Soler becomes eligible for salary arbitration, he will have the right to choose arbitration instead of the annual salaries specified by his contract, according to a major-league source.
We don't yet know the year-by-year breakdown of Soler's contract. But if he makes good progress toward the major leagues, and if he has success in the major leagues, then after he's accumulated three years of service, he could seek out more money than the contract guarantees. So you could think of this as a nine-year contract worth at least $30 million.
Of course, if Soler opts out and chooses arbitration, that means he's performed well. The Cubs will be ecstatic if Soler performs well, and players earn less in their arbitration years than they do as free agents anyway. So if Soler turns out good, the Cubs will have him at something of a bargain, and if Soler turns out bad, he'll still be financially set for the rest of his life. Provided he's smart with his money, as all young athletes are.