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Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler has captured our attention for many months. As a supremely talented 20-year-old prospect who can be signed by any team, one whose path to the big leagues necessarily had a number of twists and turns, you can understand why a fan base starved for some positive news could be caught up in his story.

Thus, we’ve covered it – obsessively – here at BN for a long time. But many of you may not have been around when the story started, or may have forgotten all of those twists and turns, so I thought it would be useful today – the day Soler’s agents have set to receive offers for him – to put together a BN chronology of the story so you can catch up, or remember.

We first started talking about Jorge Soler all the way back on November 16, when he was but a mere interesting prospect:

While in the Dominican Republic to scout soon-to-be Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes, the Cubs are also taking a look at 19-year-old prospect Jorge Soler. The kid is consider a solid prospect with a projectable body, and, unsurprisingly, other big dogs on the amateur spending side – Yankees, Nationals, etc. – are interested.

And, as early as November 28, some media thought Soler would be signing soon (I didn’t know about that, but I did know he was going to get a ton of money):

Phil Rogers says Cuban prospect, Jorge Soler (the 19-year-old studly counterpart to 26-year-old Yoenis Cespedes), is expected to sign soon. By my reading of the new CBA, the spending limits on international amateurs doesn’t kick in until next year. If so, young Mr. Soler is going to get paaaaaid.

Soon. Ha. How naive we were. A few days later, the Cubs weren’t even listed among the teams most likely to sign Soler. Interest in the story waned.

A month went by before things picked back up, with national media putting the Cubs’ name back in the mix:

[Danny] Knobler adds that 19-year-old Cuban prospect Jorge Soler continues to draw plenty of interest (he, too, is awaiting the official grant of free agency), including from the Cubs. Unlike Cespedes, however, I don’t necessarily expect Soler, who is a true prospect rather than a potential 2012 contributor, to sign right away upon reaching free agency. So long as he’s signed before the middle of the summer, his signing doesn’t count against the soon-to-be-imposed international spending limits. In other words, while he may not sign right away, he’ll sign at some point in the coming months, lest he see his bonus check reduced tenfold.

In a way, I was right about the Soler time line being drawn out. I just didn’t anticipate that he wouldn’t get residency in the DR for sooooo long. At the end of December, the Cubs signed a couple Cuban prospects, one of whom had played with Soler, and folks started to speculate that their presence could possibly help with the Cubs’ wooing of Soler. And then the Cubs dropped the mini hammer, signing Cuban pitcher Gerardo Concepcion. It was starting to look like Chicago was where you sign if you’re a Cuban prospect.

But then focus shifted to fellow Cuban bat, Yoenis Cespedes, in whom the Cubs were interested. That story, too, had its share of twists and turns, and, at the end, the Cubs had lost out to the Oakland Athletics in mid-February. January passed without much to say about Soler.

And then things exploded in mid-February, right around the same time the Cespedes saga was concluding. It started innocently enough, with tales of the Cubs’ strong interest in, and pursuit of, Soler. Those reports included specific dollar figures that the Cubs were discussing with the still-not-a-free-agent Soler. I had some thoughts on those reports:

That’s not to say I doubt that the Cubs are very interested in Soler and are willing to spend handsomely to get him – I believe both of those things. I also believe that Frisaro has heard that $27.5 million number, and that his two sources heard it, too. I simply doubt that the Cubs have spread the word that they are willing to spend this very specific figure on him.

What’s more likely is that the Cubs and Soler’s camp have had discussions. Over the course of those discussions, many numbers have been thrown around, and a sense has developed that the Cubs would be willing to spend up into the high $20 million range to get Soler if that’s what it will take. I’ll even go as far as to say that, perhaps, now the Cubs are the favorite to sign Soler. All in all, it’s still a schwing.

As for what Soler will ultimately get, early expectations were in the $15 to $20 million range. With Gerardo Concepcion getting more than many expected, it’s fair to guess that Soler may get more than originally thought (indeed, it could climb as high as $27.5 million). It’s also fair to guess that, despite his not being ready for the bigs for many years, he might get a Major League contract, as Concepcion did. He has the negotiating leverage, and he may require a team to give him the big league deal (and the 40-man roster spot that comes with it) as a tie-breaker.

The next day, we all lost our minds, and I temporarily felt foolish for preaching caution when reports blew up that the Cubs had signed Soler:

According to the Tribune’s Dave van Dyke, citing “multiple reports from the Dominican Republic,” [the Cubs have come to terms with Soler]. 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 ….

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.

Ah, but my caution was actually correct, as the Cubs ran kicking and screaming away from any suggestion that they’d come to an agreement with Soler (which would have violated MLB rules and U.S. law). I did my best to sum up where things stood after a few days of rumors, excitement, denials, and spin:

Where does the truth lie? Well, what do we know for sure? We know Soler is not a free agent yet. We know he may not even be a resident of the Dominican Republic yet. So we know he can’t sign a contract. That gives a whole lot of clearance for folks to say that the rumors of a preliminary agreement are not true.

I think it’s safe to say that the Cubs really want Soler, and have been in discussions with his representatives. Those discussions have probably not been merely preliminary, but have probably involved some very specific terms.

I still believe all of that, by the way. Keep in mind: at that time, I’m sure even Soler’s camp was expecting residency and free agency to come through at any moment, so they would have all the reason in the world to have “informal” discussions with teams about very specific dollar amounts. And, then, when residency came through, they could solicit official offers quickly, and they’d be able to sign right away (which, as you know, is what’s happening now).

… but then just one day later (February 15), the story shifted dramatically. And it shifted because the Blue Jays’ GM headed down to the DR to scout Soler in person – not something you do if you know he’s all but signed with another club. There was not reasonable explanation other than the fact that teams beyond the Cubs still had a shot at Soler. I was modestly bummin’:

There are a handful of explanations here that could be spun in favor of the Cubs if you were inclined to do so – maybe Soler’s agent put the call out to other teams to give them one last chance to blow away the Cubs’ offer, and Anthopoulos is just “making sure”; maybe Anthopoulos really wanted to check out the other kids there in the DR, and figured he might as well take another look at Soler while he was down there; I could go on with these plausible, but straining, explanations. It’s all possible.

But any suggestion that this is some kind of smokescreen, or anything other than another team legitimately devoting a significant effort to scouting a kid they might want to sign, is grasping at straws.

The Cubs might be the most likely team to sign Soler, but other teams are still involved.

At this point, I’d say it’s clear that, to the extent any “agreement” exists between the Cubs and Jorge Soler, it is an “agreement” in only the most generous sense of the word. We already knew it would have to be non-binding, and now I’d say it isn’t even a real wink-and-a-nod.

Now that it was clear that other teams were involved, and Soler was still waiting on residency, once again, things quieted down for about a month. On March 11, Phil Rogers reported that an executive from a team who’d been pursuing Soler said the drama was gone from the pursuit, because the Cubs were ultimately going to sign him (for an amount that blew away all other bidders).

Ten days later, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said that any and all reports of the Cubs already having an agreement in place with Soler were “completely bogus.” I offered my thoughts:

An awfully stern denial, if I’ve heard one – and I mean that sincerely. It almost reads as angry.

Recall, because Soler is not a free agent – indeed, is not yet a citizen of the Dominican Republic, as far as we know – officially contracting with him (or negotiating with him, unofficially) would be a big no-no as far as both MLB and the U.S. Government are concerned. So, this is very much the kind of aggressive denial I would expect, whether the Cubs had had intimate discussions with Soler or not. Until now, the Cubs haven’t said much of anything about Soler when asked for an official comment.

For my part, I still believe the Cubs and Soler’s representatives have, at least vaguely and safely, outlined the parameters of what an acceptable deal would look like if Soler were a free agent. I don’t necessarily believe anything has been agreed to, nor do I necessarily believe Soler is a done-deal to the Cubs when he does reach free agency. A lot can still happen, as is often the case.

Around that time, because of the absurdly long, drawn-out process, and because almost every story about Soler used the same picture, folks started asking if Soler actually existed. I put together a half-serious, half-joking piece confirming that, indeed, Jorge Soler was real (thanks in large part to videos tracked down by BN’er JulioZuleta).

And then, silence. This time, serious silence. Long silence. Folks asked about Soler weekly, but no one anywhere could seem to get a beat on things. April and May passed without so much as a peep.

Then, on June 1, we got a glimpse at why things may have slowed down to a crawl – a quiet crawl – when Edgar Mercedes, an important baseball figure in the Dominican Republic, who helped Cuban players defect, was arrested on charges of human trafficking.

But he was quickly released, and, probably-not-coincidently, the very next day, after months of silence, we learned that Soler had achieved residency in the DR, and was declared a free agent by MLB.

His agents spread word that they would accept offers for him until June 7 – today – and that’s where things stand.

Let’s hope this long saga, and the associated obsession, wasn’t all just theater.

As I’ve said before, I’m not sure that we’ll actually hear anything today, and possibly not through the weekend, either. The only meaningful date by which Soler needs to sign is July 2, so he could take a little time, trying to squeeze a little more cash or incentives out of the offering teams.

Until he signs, we’ll keep obsessing.

  • Leroy K

    Come on Soler!!! Sign with the Cubs!!!!

  • GeorgeHermanLaHair

    Im ready for all of this to be over and for Soler to be a top prospect in the Cubs organization. If Soler and Almora both signs who do you think would be ranked a better prospect?

    • BD

      Brett previously mentioned that somebody (Kevin Goldstein? other?) said that Soler would be ahead of Almora “by a nose”.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yeah, it was Goldstein. He didn’t sound confident, though – I took it to mean that they’re both pretty much in the same ballpark.

        • Aaron

          In any event, BOTH would be great additions to our system, and would be labeled “high impact” pretty much right away.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            If the Cubs sign Soler and land their top 7 picks from the draft, I can make a good case the Cubs are a Top 10 farm system.

            I might even argue for Top 5 (though that is probably pushing it just a bit).

            • Kyle

              Assuming they sign before Rizzo is promoted. That’s a big hit.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                Yes.  If I can’t count Rizzo, the argument changes.

                • hansman1982

                  Imagine that system if Castro was in AAA right now, sure fire top 5 and 90% of that from the last 6 months.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    Indeed, wouldn’t it make more sense to rank teams’ “systems” by their talent under 24, under 23, under 22, etc.?  I mean, what we really are worried about is, “how good will my favorite teams be in 5-10 years?”

            • Aaron

              And think what they could do to the farm system if they are able to land a good trade for Garza or Dempster?

            • terencemann

              It sounds like Rhett Wiseman isn’t going to get signed which would be a nice addition.

              I think pushing the Cubs all the way to #10 is a bit of a stretch given that there are only a few teams in the top 10 whose org ranking is dependent on players who will be called up this season. Trading Garza should give the Cubs a pretty good jolt, though.

              For now, I’d just say the Cubs farm system is looking better than ever and I’m very happy with that.

            • Ari Gold

              Yeah I would say we’d be around 10 if we get all our guys signed along with Soler. But the moment we call up Rizzo and then Jackson, we’ll get bumped back down. However, if we get a good haul with Garza and Dempster, we’ll be right back there. Hopefully some of our young prospects in short season can take a big jump this year.

              • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                The thing about it is we are a deep farm, but the talent is at the lower levels with no impact talent. We are now adding impact talent that should move up steadily. 10 seems about right though. We are nowhere near where we need to be, or the upper tier of farms (D-Backs, Blue Jays, Mariners, Orioles…)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Soler has the higher ceiling, but I don’t know quite where his floor is in comparison with Almora.  Right now I’d slot Almora just ahead of Soler, but that is more a case of being more comfortable with a more known quantity than any purely objective projection of ability.

      • Jp

        That and we’re confident we KNOW how old Almora is. I’m always skeptical of Cuban defectors because they either are a couple years older than they are or their name isn’t what they claim it is.

        • Kyle

          There’s only been one documented case of a Cuban player being older than he claimed, and that was awhile back and the player was so old he’d been born in the revolution days.

          For the most part, there haven’t been any problems with Cuban players and age. This isn’t the D.R.

          • King Jeff

            That was Orlando Hernandez is I’m remembering correctly.

          • Jp

            My mistake saying Cuban defectors. Is it 2 D.R. Players that have had issues this year with names and/or documentation? My favorite D.R. Issue was little leaguer Danny Almonte. That was tough on that kid whose dad lied and he threw a perfect game and just dominated that series.

            • Kyle

              Yep, it’s been the Dominican Republic where the massive age fraud has been going on.

              The latest trick is to fool officials by not only having the player and a different person switch identities, but have their entire families switch identities.

              • MaxM1908

                Wow, that is intense gaming of the system. I take it the people who give up their identities for the sake of the cause get a cut of the money?

            • Jeff

              Ever sense his explosive debut at the age of 19 I’ve been skeptical/worried about Castros actual age. Im hoping someone can reassure me on this issue with some evidence that his birthday is indeed 3/24/90.

              EDIT: I probably asked that wrong, sounds like I’m asking someone to go and find his birth certificate. My real question is, what is the general opinion on castros age? Around the league and among baseball writers?

              • Drew7

                Maybe the fact that he still looks 14!

                • Jeff

                  I thought about that, but my crazy cubs fan paranoia kicked in and thought that his younger appearance would just make it easier to fake his age

          • Boogens

            Thanks for being so patient as you have been as you’ve been telling people over and over that there aren’t age discrepencies with Cuban ball players. I cringe everytime I read the knee-jerk accusations that people make regarding age assumptions.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Wow! That’s a lot of reading.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Set aside an hour. :)

      • Leroy K

        totally worth the hour though.

      • Ash

        More pictures! Brain hurt.

  • King Jeff

    Ah, the obsessive Jorge Soler watch. Sad it will be over soon, it was beginning to rival the other great obsessive watches from Bleacher Nation past. I’ll be glad when this guy signs, just so we can see actual live game footage.

  • Kyle

    I expect this to be Concepcion situation: The Cubs will not be outbid, to the point where other teams may consider it reckless.

    $20 million is still the number I see floated around. I think the Cubs are willing to go into the high 20s if they have to, maybe even push $30, and there’s no other team in baseball that will match that.

    They don’t have a deal per se, but I’m sure they’ve talked to the agent enough to know where they stand and expect him to sign. “Hey, nobody else is bidding $25 million, are they? Well, we are. He’d sign, right? Okay, good. See you when he clears his paperwork.”

    At $20-$30 million, he’s not a fantastic bargain, but he’s a solid bet. If he becomes a star player in the majors, you get many times that returned in excess value from his cheap, team-controlled years. If he doesn’t, well, that’s the risk you take when you are looking for that kind of return.

    His reported skill set slots so perfectly into the organization. We took steps toward taking care of our lack of high-upside projectable pitchers in the draft, but we still lack true corner power threats (Vogelbach, who isn’t exactly tearing up EXST, not withstanding).

    If/when he signs, it seems like he’s put in that Almora/Baez tier of 70-upside young talent, so our top 5 would look something like:

    Rizzo
    Almora
    Baez
    Soler
    Jackson

    And you could argue for the middle three in any order you want. I’m hard on Epstein and Co. for their choice to tank at least one and maybe more seasons, but I love how well they are executing their plan. In less than a year, we will have acquired four prospects better than our best at this time last year.

    • Edwin

      Baez and Jackson were drafted by Hendry. Rizzo was aquired by trading away Andrew Cashner, who was drafted by Hendry. While Theo made a great move, he was only able to make that move because of Hendry.

      I think Theo is a better GM than Hendry, but I think if we’re going to judge Theo’s success and failure going forward, I think it should be based on moves that are his, not someone eles’s.

      • MaxM1908

        Well, wait a minute, Edwin. Kudos to Hendry and Co. for landing Baez, but it’s too little, too late. Most other organizations have 5 or 6 Baez’s already waiting in the wings. Turning Cashner into Rizzo was a major coup and immediately added more value to the farm system. Would Hendry have made that trade? How many other great trades could Theo and Hoyer have made already if they actually had pieces worth trading? Theo is trying to make something out of nothing. He deserves props for that regardless of the origins of the trade pieces.

        • Edwin

          Max,

          Nice points. I’m not saying that Hendry should have kept his job. He was good at finding talent, but bad at valueing talent. Like I said above, I think Theo is a much better GM than Hendry. I’m not trying to defend Hendry’s every move. I’m just trying to point out that a lot of the talent in the farm system was already in place when Theo took over. He hasn’t had enough time yet to make drastic changes. I think it’s fair to give Theo credit for getting Rizzo, but he traded for Rizzo by giving up Cashner, who was a valuable pick by Hendry. Maybe Hendry would have flipped Cashner for a similar deal, or maybe not. I can’t speculate on what Hendry would or would not have done if he had stayed on as GM.

          • http://bleachernation loyal100more

            theo is not the GM.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Keith Law just posted up at ESPN that Almora would rank ahead of Rizzo. Which shocked me because I think Law had Rizzo at #19 in his latest update a couple weeks back.

      • Edwin

        See, that sounds crazy to me. Rizzo is tearing it up in AAA. Almora hasn’t taken a single swing for the Cubs. Almora might never make it out of A ball. I like his potential, but right now it’s just potential.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          That’s what prospect rankings are; potential.
          A year ago, would you have said that Rizzo was a better prospect than Bryce Harper since Harper hadn’t taken a single swing?

          • Edwin

            Harper was a much different kind of prospect. Most scouts consider Harper a once or twice a decade type of talent. I’m not saying that Almora isn’t a great prospect. He is. I’d even say he’s one of the best prospects in the system (once he signs). And if he starts hitting from day 1, he’ll easily become the best or second best prospect in the system with Baez. But there’s still a good chance that he ends up being a bust, and never makes it to MLB. If I had to choose between Almora or Rizzo, I’d take Rizzo every time. For that matter, I’d choose Rizzo over Baez right now for the same reason.

  • Martin

    This is, of course, a best-case-scenario, but by August 1, if the Cubs sign Soler, come to terms with Almora, and trade Dempster and Garza for “perfect offers,” this will probably be a top-five system in baseball. That’s a lot of “ifs,” but it would be an impressive minor league turnaround in a ridiculously short amount of time.

  • MaxM1908

    Does anyone have an idea for the number of years he’d sign at? If I remember, the offer floating around in January was 27/6 years, right? Is the expectation that it’d be a 6 year contract?

    • Kyle

      It shouldn’t matter. He’ll still need six years of MLB service time to become a free agent, unless he negotiates a release clause at the end of the deal. I really can’t see a 20-year-old getting that.

      • MaxM1908

        I take it that rule doesn’t apply for someone older like Cespedes? Didn’t he sign for four years?

        • King Jeff

          Yes he did, and then he will be under team control through arbitration for two more years. I think Samardzija signed a similar deal years wise.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Only because he got added to his contract the stipulation that Oakland would let him become a free agent after four years.

          • King Jeff

            Good call Luke, didn’t realize that had happened.

            • ETS

              This is why Cespedes isn’t a cub. The cubs offered more money in actual dollars but wouldn’t give him free agency two years early like Oakland did.

        • Kyle

          The rule still applies, the older players just negotiate a clause that says that they have to either be extended or released at the end of the contact duration. Fukudome had that clause, too.

          I doubt Soler will be getting such a clause at 20.

          • MaxM1908

            I’m worried that with the fervor surrounding his free agency, he may have that leverage. I don’t think Theo and Jed would agree to it, but could a mystery team swoop in and take that risk just to land him? Hopefully, he’ll desire guaranteed money more than FA flexibility, but you never know.

        • MaxM1908

          One follow-up question…Is the difference between a minor league and a major league contract that the major league contract accrues major league service time despite playing in the minors? So, did Jeff Spellcheck accrue service time even while playing in Iowa?

          • Kyle

            Nope, you don’t get service time unless you are actually in the majors.

            The MLB contract means you have to be put on the 40-man roster, which means you have to be put in the majors within 3 or 4 years (depending on the circumstances).

            • MaxM1908

              Oh, ok, so the only reason amateurs want the major league contract is that it accelerates their path to the majors. I understood about the 40 man roster, but thought it must be related to service time to be a benefit to the player.

  • Joker

    So am I reading this situation correctly where it is a sealed bid process (like with Cespedes) where the teams are bidding blind and just off of gut feelings, innuendo and rumors of interest from other teams?

    If so, does Soler’s agent then go back to the highest bidding teams and then try to play them off of each other to sweeten the deal? It didn’t sound like that with the Cespedes deal, but, then again, Oakland’s deal was not going to be trumped by any other club given the dollars involved and free agency guarantee after four years.

    • Assman22

      No.  And that didn’t happen with Cespedes either.  Only works that way with players coming from Japan and that’s a posting fee going back to the Japanese club and that player can only negotiate a contract then with the highest bidding team.

      Soler doesn’t have to take the highest amount offered, he can sign any offer he is given.

  • Jeremy

    God I want this kid bad. I fully expect for money to be a non-issue. If the FO wants him they will get him. He is the EXACT type of player that the FO has been preaching about finding so if they miss out on him, it would be a huge deal for me. I would be pretty upset.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    “If the FO wants him they will get him.”

    Logically we can conclude then that: 1) only one FO really wants him or 2) X Soler’s are available for the X FOs that want him?

    • Kyle

      Or it assumes that our front office is in a different situation than other front offices.

      Our front office has big market resources with no intention to compete at the MLB level in the near future. That’s a unique situation.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        True, but the Sox, Yankees, etc., all have big market resources.  The fact that they are trying to compete this year does not change the fact that they are trying to compete in 2016, too.  The new CBA has given them and all of the other franchises a sense of urgency that did not exist before: Soler is the last guy for whom they can do this.

        My point is that we cannot expect the other teams to roll over and play cheap for the Cubs’ sake, and we actually can expect the winning team to make an offer that (as in Cespedes’ case) gets a lot of people scratching their heads.  We’ll never know for certain, but I would bet that multiple teams will make offers that will be above the “I would not have gone higher than X” post-signing analyses.

    • MaxM1908

      I think given the absurdly depressed payroll this year, the FO can afford to outbid all other organizations. We have the money and we have an acute need for impact players. To let this opportunity slip away would be a misstep for this FO, and it would take some stellar trades to make up for the disappointment in the fan base. About the only reason I’d let it slide is if Jorge Soler flat out rejected coming to Chicago. But if it’s simply a matter of getting outbid by another organization, I’d be pretty sour. We may overpay for Soler, but I think we can afford to.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Yes, the Cubs can afford to overpay for Soler.  So can the Yankees and Sox.  The Marlins certainly have the ability and willingness to do this sort of thing.

        When you do not win, it is important to distinguish between those times where you lost and where you got beat.  There will be other teams trying to beat the Cubs here.

        • MaxM1908

          Absolutely, and if the FO lets another team beat them, I think that’s a failure worthy of criticism. This isn’t like the Darvish situation. I think the Cubs played that one right. This is an open auction for Soler. Now, granted, if the the winning bid is 50 milion for four years and a release, I’d say they did well in not winning. But, if we lose to 30 million/6 years and no release, I’d think we gave up too easily.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            You have just distinguished between being beaten and losing quite nicely!

  • Steve

    As much as I want an impact player, I still have issue with paying a player that is unproven this much money.
    I guess I can equate this to… would I pay 30 million to Buxton, Correa, or Zunino??

    • The Show

      I think they can overspend a little, I don’t see the Cubs spending on a huge free agent anytime soon.

    • Joe

      I have an issue with the money too. Unfotunately, this is the path baseball is going down.

    • MaxM1908

      I think you would. Obtaining those players is partly a mix of luck (draft position) and money. Prior to the CBA, if you could bypass the draft process and outbid other teams for top amateur talent, I think I the going rate for talent of Correa/Buxton/Appel would probably approach 30 million.

  • Goatbuster

    Its time the cubs went green and put a little “Solar” power in Wrigley!

    • MichiganGoat

      Very witty my goat brethren

  • Deez

    We can have the best farm system in the Minors for the next decade, but what does that get us?
    Many of the Hendry years we were a Top 5/ Top 10 system, but how many of those guys are playing for us?
    Having a top notch system means jack SH… if that talent isn’t getting to the Majors or playing for us.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      True, but remember that the Moneyball criteria for evaluating talent took time to permeate through the scouting world, too.  The infamous Callis summary of the Cubs system from 10 years ago stands out: only once is on base skill mentioned.  The lack of OBP skills (or, really, the lack of the more basic tool of pitch recognition) is why those Cubs prospects not named Choi or Hill failed to amount to anything.

      A big reason why the Cubs system has been rated so low the last few years is that the Cubs kept drafting the same types of players that they always did, but the general scouting community had figured out that those were not the type of players who will succeed at the MLB level.

      • Kyle

        Don’t know if I can agree with that. Here’s the line from the infamous chat that stuck out to me:

        “They’ve got a lot of good position players, too. Hee Seop Choi, Felix Pie, Nic Jackson, Brendan Harris and David Kelton all made the Top 10. Beyond that, look at Luis Montanez, Alfredo Francisco, Brian Dopirak, Brandon Sing and J.J. Johnson, among others.”

        There’s a lot of good plate discipline on that list.

        Minor league career OBP-BA

        Choi: .110
        Pie .057
        Jackson: .065
        Harris: .067
        Kelton: .060
        Montanez: .066
        Francisco: .033
        Dopirak: .055
        Sing: .111
        Johnson: .055

        There’s only one hacker on the list, and Francisco was a toolsy young foreign signee that never made it past low-A. The rest have average to above-average plate discipline.

        • Deez

          I look at organizations like the Braves & the Cardinals. They are not in line w/ the MoneyBall phenomenon & they often develop their talent & bring it to the Majors.
          MoneyBall statistics & criterion do have a place in draft & acquiring talent, but like any science, MoneyBall is not exact.

          • Dan McGinnity

            Hey Dees, I remember you from the bulls board on ESPN a few years ago.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Kyle: a difference in subjective criteria, I gues: I consider those isoP’s to be underwhelming for the most part.  (Of course, I follow the Sox, too: that might distort my vantage.)

          Deez: the Cards and Braves have been very much in line with “moneyball” approaches.  Indeed, last year’s Card team was text-book.  LaRussa himself was always a big “stathead”: he kept track of those things long before most managers were doing so.  As for the Braves, their pitching tactics heavily influenced Beane, so they were on board before the term was coined.

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