Anatomy of a Totally Misleading Rumor: Cubs “May Be On Verge” of Signing Jorge Soler (UPDATE)

This evening, The Score reported that the Chicago Cubs “may be on the verge of signing 19-year-old old Cuban prospect Jorge Soler for $27 million.”

Sweet diggity dog, right?

Oh, well, hold on. The Score report references a CBS report. We should probably read that one.

Ok, it checks out! The CBS report says “[p]ower-hitting Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler may be on the verge of signing with the Cubs for $27 million.”

Woo hoo! Party at my place, and everyone’s invited!

Oh, well, hold on. The CBS report references a Peter Gammons report. We should probably read that one, too.

Here’s the entirety of what Gammons said:

“[O]ne international scouting director sees Cuban power bat Jorge Soler getting $27M from the Cubs.”

Oh. That’s it?

Well that’s quite a far cry from being “on the verge” of anything. Heck, it’s not even indicating that the Cubs are sure to sign Soler at all. It merely says one guy thinks the Cubs will eventually get him. Ok. Neat.

That’s why you’ve got to always trace things back to the source, lest you be misled by this kind of game of telephone (purple monkey dishwasher).

So, in the end, what does this new Gammons report mean? Well, it’s a decent sign, but it’s far from a certainty. Another anonymous source thinks Soler ends up with the Cubs. We’ve heard that before, but more sources saying the same thing is always nice. It is interesting that the number cited – $27 million – is about the same amount we’ve heard before. Again, more sources indicating the same thing tends to suggest veracity.

But I wouldn’t start celebrating any time soon. Soler is still not a resident of the Dominican Republic, which means he’s also not a free agent, which means there could still be a long way to go.

UPDATE: To his credit, the author of the CBS report has updated his post to now say “”[p]ower-hitting Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler may eventually sign with the Cubs for $27 million” (emphasis mine). That is an appropriate change.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

48 responses to “Anatomy of a Totally Misleading Rumor: Cubs “May Be On Verge” of Signing Jorge Soler (UPDATE)”

  1. jr5

    You’d think the CBS Sports blog network would be a bit more careful about this; it’s what led to them prematurely pronouncing Joe Paterno dead. Good to see they’ve learned their lesson…

    1. MichiganGoat

      It’s a CBS affiliate not actuall CBS news so it’s not a reflection of CBS Sports just the local affiliate, the writer, and editor that rolled with such a poor report. I’m sure someone got overly excited by getting a scoop and that is the current flaw in today’s media and journalism. Some one will be getting a call tomorrow.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Check that the previously cited article was a CBS affiliate, this is CBS Sports – so who us responsible for the article?

        Here is that affiliate article http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/03/07/report-cubs-may-be-closing-in-on-jorge-soler/ posted at 4:55pm h/t Serio

        The CBS Sports article was posted after this one.

        1. Serio

          I think The Score

          1. MichiganGoat

            Peeling apart the truth of all this is complex and rather unnecessary but I like to see how journalism jumps on the thinnest of rumors.

      2. jr5

        Right…it’s the Eye on Baseball blog on CBSSports.com. The college football equivalent is where the Paterno story ran.

      3. Cubbie Blues

        First and wrong is still first. That’s the name of the game isn’t it?

        1. MichiganGoat

          It is the first rule of modern journalism

          1. DocWimsey

            “modern” journalism? When was it ever different?

    2. die hard

      same as asking witness, “when did you stop beating your wife?” Objection, assumes a fact not in evidence. Sustained

  2. North Side Irish

    Bonus points for the “Purple monkey dishwasher” reference. The teachers will crack any minute…

  3. MichiganGoat

    Interesting the CBS Sports article Brett referenced was post at 5:17 but edited at 6:57 wonder what the first draft said.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Ah now they are “Closing In” vs. “on the verge”

  4. DocWimsey

    Just remember, Soler’s eventual signing will represent the collective failure of 29 GMs to “get it done.” We can report that much at least right now!

    1. MichiganGoat

      And don’t forget because Ricketts is cheap

      1. DocWimsey

        That’s good too! However, shouldn’t it be “*insert owner here* is cheap”?

  5. MightyBear

    This just in – Genaralisimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

    1. Stinky Pete

      What? Can you speak up? I’m hard of hearing.

      1. TC

        GENARALISIMO FRANCISCO FRANCO IS *STILLL* DEAD!

  6. CubFanBob

    Way to be on top of this Brett. Your attention and constant work in the name of all things cubbie is why I come here.

  7. Shawn

    So does this mean the party at Brett’s house is cancelled and we are no longer invited?

    1. gratefulled

      No kidding! Can we get confirmation if the party is on or off? I’ve got the Old Style and pretzels ready.

      Thanks for the update, Brett.

  8. Dan

    So when will Soler become a resident? Tomorrow, next week, July? Is it really too hard to tell?

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Your dealing with governments. Everything is slow and hard to predict.

  9. Steve

    Ok…I’m going to say BULLY to this rumor crap on Soler. Too many teams out there with cash to say with any certainty where this cat will sign, Also, where did 27 million come from?? Why not 28.5 ?? OR 31.7?
    I’m not buying this…no sir, not at all.

    1. die hard

      Agree…rumors about Soler are color bubbles. But somebody will sign him soon. Maybe the Yankees will get in the mix and they always manage to find 50 million laying in the back of the safe. But sure bet is that signing to take place over next few days based on this news:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/solar-flare-solar-storm-w_n_1330855.html

      WASHINGTON — The largest solar storm in five years was due to arrive on Earth early Thursday, promising to shake the globe’s magnetic field while expanding the Northern Lights. The storm started with a massive solar flare earlier in the week and grew as it raced outward from the sun, expanding like a giant soap bubble, scientists said. When it strikes, the particles will be moving at 4 million mph. “It’s hitting us right in the nose,” said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo. The massive cloud of charged particles could disrupt utility grids, airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services, especially in northern areas. But the same blast could also paint colorful auroras farther from the poles than normal. Astronomers say the sun has been relatively quiet for some time. And this storm, while strong, may seem fiercer because Earth has been lulled by several years of weak solar activity. The storm is part of the sun’s normal 11-year cycle, which is supposed to reach peak storminess next year. Solar storms don’t harm people, but they do disrupt technology. And during the last peak around 2002, experts learned that GPS was vulnerable to solar outbursts.

  10. DowntownLBrown

    Is that the only pic of Soler? I am starting to think that he actually doesnt exist.

  11. MichiganGoat

    So it’s safe to tweet this as a valid rumors! “@BleacherNation has reported that Soler is absolutely without a doubt sign with SF for 31M”

    1. King Jeff

      I wonder how many people would run with that?

      1. MichiganGoat

        I’m sure I’d get a few retweets.

  12. Tarheel Cub

    Soler’s agent may be behind the leaks to get other interested teams scrambling to one-up the cubs – who knows? THIS JUST IN FROM GAMMONS – “Cubs may be on the verge of signing Jacoby Ellsbury in 2014.”

  13. Cedlandrum

    2 things on Soler.

    1. I will be greatly disappointed if the Cubs don’t sign him after the errant reports from some news outlets. I am not talking about here.

    2. If the Cubs don’t sign him that will equal a huge fail for the first offseason for Theo and Company. When the best thing you can say is, well they got rid of Zambrano, you probably aren’t going to be jumping up and down about it.

    Also I know they traded for Rizzo, I like him, but we shall see who won that trade.

    1. die hard

      If signed, whats his path to the majors, how long will it take and what position will he play? These and other questions will weigh on the decision.

      1. Cedlandrum

        He is by all accounts 19. So he will probably start in Peoria or Daytona. He likely will be groomed as a right fielder. I would say at the minimum he will be in Chicago after 2 full years and maximum 4.

        1. Luke

          Until we can get some data on him against known competition, it’d be pretty tough to project his time table.  I tend to think two years is pretty aggressive, but I can’t point to anything to back that up.

          As for position, there are plenty of reports that he can handle center, but I don’t think the Cubs will put him there.  Right field is the most likely, assuming his arm can handle it.  If Soler signs, the Cubs would be dreaming of a 2015 or 2016 outfield of Jackson in left, Szczur in center, and Soler in right.

    2. DocWimsey

      “If the Cubs don’t sign him that will equal a huge fail for the first offseason for Theo and Company.”

      And the other 29 teams are irrelevant bystanders? There is more to the baseball universe than the Cubs, and several other teams who’s fans are thinking the same thing.

      1. Drew

        Doc-
        A little off the subject but I thought of you last night when one of our coaches shared a statistic with the team (Im a hitting coach with the local high school team):

        He went back 7 seasons and added all the walks, hit batters (thrown by our pitchers), and errors and compared that with how many runs the other teams scored. The ratio was something like 1370:1461, basically 1:1. His point was if we could worry about eliminating 1 walk/game and 1 error/game, the chances of winning dramatically improve.

        My point is, has there ever been research done for that sort of correlation at the Major league level? I know the number of errors would be cut drastically at highest level, but I know Ive watched Cubs pitching issue a TON of walks over the last couple of years.

        1. DocWimsey

          Yes, and I’ll post the graph tonight, if I can. (I cannot insert images right now for some reason.)

          In 2011, “net walks” (walks drawn – walks allowed) explains more variation in winning than anything except net HR. All of the playoff teams had positive net walks last year. The Rangers did the worst at +14 (they had +40 HR and +56 2B+3B to offset that), and the Phillies did best with +135 (with the Yanks coming up close at +120).

          The worst teams were:
          30. Astros (-159)
          29. Cubs (-155)
          28. Royals (-115)
          27. Giants (-111)
          26. Orioles (-83)

          Not exactly the “cream of the crop,” eh? Note that this is a team effort: a batter not taking a walk = a pitcher giving up a walk. In some cases, the offense contributed more than the pitching (e.g., the Giants), and some cases probably were the other way around.

          But this is the best way I can find to put it: the Cubs were WORSE in this category than any of the playoff teams were GOOD. They were not the Anti-Yankees: heck, the Yankees would have to step up their net walks to be the Anti-Cubs!

      2. Michael

        Actually, that wouldn’t be a fail by the remaining 29 teams, because every team isn’t interested. Also, some other teams did make big moves this offseason. The Cubs sat still.

  14. Frank

    I’m going on record as a semi-anonymous source stating that the Cubs are nearly closing in on the verge of getting close to signing Soler for approximately $27.523 million, or some other number, unless another team signs him for a similar or dissimilar amount, if and whenever he becomes a free agent.