That may have been fast.
Yesterday we learned that the Chicago Cubs were intensifying their pursuit of 19-year-old Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler, though we’d known for months that the Cubs were very interested.
Were those reports actually a bit too modest? Have the Cubs actually come to terms with Soler?
According to the Tribune’s Dave van Dyke, citing “multiple reports from the Dominican Republic,” the answer is yes. It was a bit of odd phrasing, and an odd way to break what would be pretty big news (the Soler piece is kind of buried among an otherwise fluffy article about this Winter’s Cuban defectors).
BP’s Kevin Goldstein later added his confirmation, saying on Twitter that he believes the Cubs have come to terms with Soler, and will sign him when Soler is officially cleared by the U.S. government to execute a contract. Goldstein added his belief that the deal is for four years, but is traditional in the sense that Soler will not be granted free agency at the end of those four years. The Cubs will still have the typical six years of Major League control. No one has yet stated whether it will be a Major League deal, requiring that Soler be put on the team’s 40-man roster. Given that Gerardo Concepcion got a ML deal, I’d be surprised if Soler didn’t.
One of the reports on Sunday had the Cubs willing to spend as much as $27.5 million on Soler – is it possible that the reason that such a specific number was mentioned was because that was, like, *the* number? Van Dyke and Goldstein have suggested that it is. On a four-year deal, I’d imagine that Soler would be getting a huge signing bonus (as much as half of that total), with the rest being spread relatively evenly over the four years.
So, how excited should we be? Well, once the signing actually goes down, very excited. Soler will probably be considered by most to be one of the Cubs’ top three or four prospects (and will be considered their top prospect by many). This is like picking up another top 10 draft pick in 2012 – it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t have an immediate impact, but it’s a big, big deal.
But, until the signing is announced – Soler isn’t even a free agent yet – I’m going to keep my excitement in check. Bruce Levine reached out to Soler’s agent, Barry Praver, who declined comment. I’m not interested in being a Debbie Downer – Soler will very probably sign with the Cubs – but I don’t want to be burned when the Oakland A’s swoop in with a guaranteed spot on the 25-man roster this year.