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So, you’ve no doubt noticed that Jorge Soler chatter has picked back up in the last few days. It could be meaningless – a downturn in the 24-hour news cycle, prompting a thoughtless grab at the hottest name writers can plausibly throw back out there.

Or, it could be that we’re getting close.

When Soler’s countrymate, Yoenis Cespedes, was close to achieving residency in the Dominican Republic after a month or so of little action on his rumor mill, you started to hear his name more frequently. The rumors weren’t always specifically-tied to his impending residency, mind you, it was just that his name re-entered our consciousness. Soon, he had his residency, then free agency, and then, in one fell swoop, his work visa and a contract with the Oakland A’s.

We’re still waiting on word of the 20-year-old studly prospect’s residency in the DR, but Soler’s name keeps popping back up, about a month after the heat was last on. I’m not sure it is meaningful, but I do know that, with Minor League seasons getting ready to kick off in a few weeks, Soler – and his new team – will want to get signed soon so that he can get going on a full season of work.

And, about that new team. Since the resurgence of Soler rumors in the last few days, we’ve almost exclusively heard one team named: the Cubs. Well, we can add another team to this particular set of rumors, but it comes with good news, too. From Alex Speier:

According to a major league source, the Red Sox do plan to pursue Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, a 20-year-old who is awaiting approval by Major League Baseball to become an international amateur free agent. Though still considered very raw, Soler has tremendous power, with the potential to hit 30-plus homers a season in the majors if he proves capable of fulfilling his potential.

That said, the Sox – like most of the baseball industry – expect that the Cubs are likely to win the bidding for Soler.

In sum, the Cubs will have competition when Soler is officially declared a free agent. They may have the inside track, and they may be the most aggressive suitor. But Soler is very much a chicken that hasn’t yet hatched. I’m cautiously optimistic. And patient.

In the meantime, we’ll have to see if the current uptick in Soler chatter continues until we get word that he is a resident of the DR.

  • Mike S

    I’m sure this was already stated in previous articles, but where would Soler rank in our system? I heard that Concepcion will be 8th on our Top 10. Would you rank Soler in front of Jackson and Rizzo?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Consensus top four in the system, together with Rizzo, Jackson, and Baez. Some would have him at the top, some in the middle, some at the back.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      At signing, I’d have him 5th, behind the three Brett mentioned and Szczur.

      Concepcion would be no where near #8.  I’d probably have him in the high 20s right now.

      • Crockett

        I’m stunned you’d have him behind Szczur. Care to explain your reasoning there?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          First, Szczur will stay in center.  I’m not sure about Soler yet.

          Second, I think Szczur is a much safer prospect than Soler is.  Soler has a tremendously higher ceiling, but his level of risk is also sky high.  Until we get some better data on him, I’m staying cautious due to that level of risk.  That I consider a No. 5 ranking to be cautious should give you an idea how good this guy can be.

          Third, I’m higher on Szczur than most are.  I have him third in the Cubs system right now, behind Jackson and Rizzo and above Baez.

          In general, I tend to be cautious on prospects until we get some data on them that is comparable in a controlled way to other prospects.  As I mentioned, I have Baez behind Szczur right now.  That is in no small part because we have virtually no data on the guy.  He is ranked that high because the scouts love him, but I don’t consider just scouts or just stats.  Both go into the pool, and until I have both I tend to be conservative.  Once I get some data on Baez, it is entirely possible that he will move up my rankings.  The same will apply to Soler when/if he signs and starts playing in the Cubs farm system.

  • JulioZuleta

    Hey Brett, been busy and haven’t been able to read quite as much as usual lately. Did you ever post those videos I sent you. They weren’t great but kinda cool to see.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for the reminder – at the time, I delayed because it seemed like he was going to be signing soon. Which, obviously, didn’t happen, so I held off. I definitely need to share those.

      • JulioZuleta

        Yeah, this has definitely been the slowest deveping off season I can recall. Between Cespedes, Soler, Prince, Theo compensation, Oswalt, Garza rumors…this has been the year of the drawn out storyline.

  • http://bleachernation.com Tarheel Cub

    He would be a great pick-up. If we don’t get him, and there are many bidders, I would not call our off-season a failure like I have seen some post in previous articles. He is an unknown quantity who is years away from making a splash in the majors anyway, although he would be a great asset to have in the system. We have been very aggressive on this front, sometimes you get’ em, some time you don’t.

  • rocky8263

    Brett, any idea where a Cuban would stay while in the DR waiting for residency? Who pays? I can’t see a Cuban kid having the money to fly there let alone live there. Can they stay in the Cubs compound? Just wondering.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He’s got an agent and a personal representative that foots the bill (with the expectation of remuneration when he’s signed). It’s like when agents foot the bill for football players’ workouts pre-Draft.

  • http://bleachernation.com DL HUYCK

    I think we already have a hand shake agreement with Soler. The real question is Peoria or Daytona to start?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Extended spring training to start, and then Peoria would be my guess.  He could get to Daytona by the end of the season, but there is absolutely no reason to rush the kid.

      • Eric

        I have never really been able to go watch a minor league game to follow any of our prospects. But if he was in Peoria even for a brief time I would go to the kane county cougar game any time they were facing peoria. Just for a chance to see this guy. Since that’s about the only Cubs Minor league team I’ll ever beable to see in person.

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