Jorge Soler Signs Big Contract With Cubs

The supremely talented 20-year-old Cuban defector has reached an agreement with the Cubs worth $30 million over nine years.

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Jorge Soler, Cubs Agree To 9-Year Contract

As the final international free agent of his type, Jorge Soler stood to cash in. He's the last high-profile young guy from another country on whom a major-league baseball team could spend as much as it wanted, without having to worry about any future penalties. There were reports that Soler signed on with the Chicago Cubs. Those reports have been confirmed. Did he cash in? You bet he cashed in.

These reports have also been confirmed. The 20-year-old Soler has signed with the Cubs for nine years and $30 million.

Unlike Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban outfielder who signed a four-year contract with Oakland, Soler is not thought to be big-league ready. Far from it, as a matter of fact, and Soler's expected to begin his professional career near the very bottom of the organizational ladder. But if he's as talented as they say he is, he could rise in a hurry and turn himself into the franchise cornerstone the Cubs so desperately hope he can be.

Nine years and thirty million dollars seems like an awful lot to invest in a prospect. But, is it, when it's a prospect like Soler? I don't actually have any idea, myself. But by asking the question this way, it makes me sound deep. Writing is all about becoming comfortable with these little tricks.

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Report: Jorge Soler Agrees With Cubs

The biggest acquisitions of the Cubs' offseason don't play baseball. They work in offices. There was some though that the Cubs would spend all sorts of money on Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols, but they never made a concerted effort for either.

They're obviously willing to spend money for the right fit, though, and that right fit was apparently 20-year-old Cuban defector Jorge Soler.

If you can remember all the way back to February, the Cubs were reported to have signed Soler already, but those reports were inaccurate. Or they were accurate, but it took a while.

This would mark the second time the Cubs made a splash in the Cuban market, as they signed Cuban pitcher Gerardo Concepcion in February for $6 million over five years. So far the 20-year-old lefty is struggling, walking 23 batters and allowing 48 hits in 38 Class-A innings.

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Report: Dodgers Out On Jorge Soler

You've probably never seen Jorge Soler swing a bat. You don't know if he can hit a major-league curveball, or if he swings at everything like a Wily Mo Pena without the self-control. But he's an important free agent because he's the last young international free agent who can create a bidding war. If a team is looking to spend a lot of money on its farm system, this is its last chance.

And the Dodgers appeared to be a team that would chase Soler. After spending $2 billion on the franchise, the new Dodgers owners would probably like to a) make the team better and b) make a statement. Soler might accomplish both.

But according to Tim Brown, it isn't to be:

The teams that are reportedly still in are the Yankees, Cubs, and Blue Jays, and Soler is expected to decide soon.

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Jorge Soler Asking For Bids In This Weekend

We heard earlier this week that Cuban free agent Jorge Soler wanted bids on his services in by Thursday. Several teams watched him work out on Wednesday, and then Thursday came and went with no news on bids.

Now we know why! Buster Olney:

The next rounds of bids are due on free agent outfielder Jorge Soler this weekend, according to sources.

The Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers have all been aggressive in pursuit of the 19-year-old Cuban, sources say.

The Cubs have invested the most time in getting to know Soler, but the Dodgers might be a wildcard, because of the team’s new ownership and commitment to the international market, according to sources.

It doesn’t say when this weekend, so if you are a fan of one of the teams involved, you’ll want to pay close attention. No matter when the bids do get in, there is one deadline that won’t change:

Soler has until July 2 to sign a contract under previous collective bargaining agreement. Under those rules, teams can bid any amount they wish for a foreign player. After that date, the new rules will prohibit bids more than $2.9 million.

Since the bids on Soler are rumored to be as much as $25 million to $35 million, you can bet that deadline will be adhered to.

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Cuban Free Agent Jorge Soler Wants All Bids In By Thursday

Jorge Soler, the second big Cuban free agent to hit the open market this year (after Yoenis Cespedes, who went to the Oakland Athletics), isn’t wasting any time. He wants all bids for his services in by Thursday, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago:

According to a major league source, all teams have been asked by Soler’s agents, Praver-Shapiro Sports Management, to get in their best bid for the 19-year-old, five-tool player by June 7. The going rate for Soler’s services is expected to be between $25-35 million, according to industry sources.

The Cuban defector by way of the Dominican Republic must be signed before July 2 in order to get paid under baseball’s previous collective bargaining agreement. The old agreement is not subject to the new taxes and sanctions that the new CBA will incorporate.

The last paragraph is the key; Soler and his agents clearly want bids in soon so they can weigh offers in the four weeks before July 2. The Chicago Cubs were said to be one of the teams most highly interested in Soler, but the White Sox, Yankees and Marlins, among others, have also shown interest.

“All clubs will have an equal opportunity to bring ‘Soler Power’ to their organization,” agent Barry Praver said.

One thing we can hope for, no matter who signs him, is that there is an instant moratorium on puns based on Soler’s last name.

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