Quantcast

Yesterday teams made their bids for Jorge Soler, according to his agents, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll learn of a signing today or this weekend. The agents could take the best offer and bounce it off other teams, even if they say they were asking for sealed, best-and-final bids (whatever showy methodology they wanted to use).

But, since that bidding deadline passed, we might start getting some insight into the teams who are leading the charge for Soler’s services – besides the Cubs, of course.

From the sound of things, the Houston Astros – under increasingly impressive new GM Jeff Luhnow – probably made a bid, assuming that’s how the actual process shook out yesterday

“We continue to have interest in Soler and that’s the most I can say right now,” Luhnow told MLB.com. “We’re aware of the process and if there’s anything report, we will let you all know.”

One team thought to be in the running, the Miami Marlins, is not. So says Juan C. Rodriguez, who reports that the Marlins didn’t even bid on Soler. Is it because they knew they couldn’t win? Did they know that the dollars were going to reach such a level that it wasn’t worth it to them? Or do they fear something else about signing Soler?

Something like … documentation shenanigans? From Baseball America’s Ben Badler:

Soler, a 20-year-old outfielder, left Cuba last year and arrived in the Dominican Republic, where he has been living and working out for teams. However, according to a memo that Major League Baseball sent to teams, Soler is residing in Haiti.

Due to federal regulations governing American companies and Cuban citizens, Soler’s agents must present either an unblocking license from the U.S. Office Of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or two permanent residency documents from a new country before Soler can enter into agreement with a team. Soler’s agency, Praver Shapiro Sports Management, has told teams that Soler has the two permanent residency documents. Soler’s agency has not responded to requests for comment.

While age and document fraud are rampant among players in the Dominican Republic, several sources in the international market have said that Haiti is a place perhaps even more notorious for shoddy paperwork and record keeping. As a result, some agents who have worked with Cuban players have said they would never consider trying to have one of their clients gain residency through Haiti. Multiple international sources have indicated that some Cubans may be having a more difficult time gaining residency in the Dominican Republic in recent months ….

Haitian papers would be another red flag in the Soler saga. On Feb. 13, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs had an illegal deal in place with Soler prior to him being declared a free agent or receiving an OFAC unblocking license. The Cubs privately denied the report but declined Baseball America’s request to go on the record at the time. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer emphatically disputed the report six weeks later.

Here’s the thing. Yes, that sounds a little wonky, and might make you want to tug on your collar a little bit. But we’ve got to be big boys and girls and be honest about something: this entire business of bringing teenage players out of Cuba to another country so that they can become “residents” there, with the intention of later earning millions of dollars playing baseball in the United States is a little shady. By its very nature, the process screams out for shenanigans, and, indeed, often requires them (how do you think these kids escape Cuba in the first place?).

You either accept that fact and resign yourself to the belief that, “well, at least he’s probably going to have a better life and he could make the Cubs a whole lot better,” or you question the whole ball of international wax. I won’t criticize you whichever path you choose. But, for me, I’m just not sure any of these reports bug me anymore. I want Jorge Soler as a member of the Chicago Cubs’ organization, and, so long as no one is hurt in the process of getting him here, I don’t much care how they make the hot dogs.

I do, however, want the Cubs to be careful. The worst possible outcome is not losing out on Soler; it’s landing Soler for $30 million and then having him declared ineligible to play in the States for whatever reason (or having him declared 30 years old).

  • Brian

    Well, you’d have a 30\30 guy that way.

    • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

      Looks like most posters glossed over your comment. I always like the “smart-ass” comments, so Kudos to you. I caught it…

  • GeorgeHermanLaHair

    If he were to be declared ineligeable would the Cubs have to pay that contract?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Depends on how it plays out. No way to answer that definitively.

  • Evolution

    I can’t post much these days, but “the whole ball of international wax” thing is screaming to be trademarked.

    And…yes…this is an issue that speaks to (and well beyond) the inequities and winks associated with our immigration policies.

    That said…the system is the system until it gets changed. You have to look at the rules, loopholes, and accepted practices…and decide how you want to play.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It sounds like something falling out of Michael Fassbender’s ears.

  • Brian

    Can teams ask for DNA aging test on these players?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Sure.  They can also ask for pet unicorns!

    • djriz

      Dont you just cut him in half and count the rings?

  • CubFan Paul

    Cespedes promised to pay his smugglers errrr, I mean handlers 22% of his contract. That’s the only thing I don’t like about the process these kids/athletes go through to get here.

    • Mrp

      Yeah, I keep waiting for Cespedes to have an “unfortunate accident” if he continues to not pay up. It’s a dirty game they have to play to get here.

    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

      The only way to really fix it would be for the US to stop treating them like the Motherland is still in control of Cuba and lift sanctions on Cuba

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Bay of Pigs, here we come!  Oh, wait….

  • Spencer

    I’m going to need a full form birth certificate.

    • Drew7

      Spencer! I feel like we havent heard from you in a while…

      • Spencer

        yeah :( I have limited access to BN on Monday-Wednesday during the day when a lot of the good commenting happens, so I hang out on the message board and twitter.

    • djriz

      That you, Donald?

    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

      [potentially political comment kept to myself]

      • Cubbie Blues

        Where is the fun in that?

      • RoughRiider

        He wasn’t born in Kenya was he?

  • Leroy K.

    So Astros in, Marlins out, and nobody knows anything…Perfect. It wouldn’t be so addicting if it wasn’t. Let’s go Jed!!!

  • JulioZuleta

    If it puts your collective minds at ease. I tweeted Badler about this:

    Steve ‏@SteveJB54
    @BenBadler hes played on Cuban U16 & U18 teams before, wouldn’t he have had to lie about his age while still there? is that possible?

    Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler
    @SteveJB54 I don’t think his age is in question.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yup. That pretty much completely eases any teeny tiny concerns I had about age.

    • King Jeff

      Yeah, any international competition with age limits is going to be pretty good with their paperwork. I was a little worried after reading the stuff about him living in Haiti, not so much after reading this.

      • cubchymyst

        I don’t always trust international competition on paperwork, look at the Olympic gymnasts from china. There was a whole controversy about their age. A little skepticism is not a bad thing as long as you don’t let it blind you from facts.

        that being said, my guess (no backing) is his age is likely correct because he playing in international competition.

  • Cheryl

    Theo and Company are smasrt enough to take some safeguards on this.

  • BD

    The Cubs should just go completely silent on this so they can end up being the seemingly-always-winning “mystery team”.

    • Cubbie Blues

      The Cubs will never be the “mystery team” on Soler. They have been linked together from the beginning.

      • BD

        Sorry I didn’t qualify that statement- definitely sarcasm.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    heh, this is sort of related to this or any other tread: and The Onion always keeps it in perspective….

  • terencemann

    I wouldn’t worry about it. He’s still going to get paid. Maybe the Haiti thing gives interested teams a little bit of leverage or gives teams who didn’t want him anyway an excuse to bow out.

  • Cubs Dude

    Is there any chance Soler gets a deal like Cespedes? Where he gets a 4 or 5 year deal worth 30 million or something? I know Soler is a lot younger, but someone could be crazy and offer something like that.. We wouldn’t have team control then, and that would suck..

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A team would be utterly insane to offer him that – the A’s were a little crazy to offer it to Cespedes, but that would be completely and totally normal compared to offering it to Soler.

      • Cubs Dude

        That’s what I thought too. Just checking.

      • Ogyu

        Okay, now I’m REALLY worried… ;-)

  • cubmig

    This whole Soler matter stinks.

  • Dumpgobbler

    The really bad thing about this whole Soler process was the fact that the 27.5mil or whatever number came out early. As far as we kno,w we could have had everyone beat by a good mile. Now I bet its past 30.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Definitely possible. Then again, why wouldn’t Soler’s agents have told everyone about the number anyway? Given them a chance to beat it?

      • Cubbie Blues

        Devil’s advocate: Yes, they probably would have told them, but now that the number has been out there this long it has given other teams time to prepare for that kind of contract.

  • sven-erik312

    One wonders just how much of that 30 mil that Soler will get…

  • Curt

    How on earth can u verify solers age with the bookwork they keep, yr better off looking for rings around his arm lol,all kidding aside I hope this gets done quickly .

    • Kyle

      I don’t want to pick on any one guy, but this is a really odd form of racism that has popped up among sports fans.

      “They” are not some monolithic group of islands with brown people on them to the south of us. Cuba’s post-Revolution record-keeping is considered excellent. Some countries have problems with it, but not Cuba.

  • Kevin

    Soler is a risk, time to focus on signing your draft picks. The Cubs eating too many bad contracts.

    • Dumpgobbler

      Most scouts think Soler has more upside then any of our picks, including Almora.

    • Cubbie Blues

      All prospects are risks. That’s what makes them prospects.

  • Cheryl

    Bottom line – they’ll probably pay what the market can bear. There have to be some kind of guarantees on this guy, but the Haiti thing is a little worrisome. Don’t forget we don’t know much of what’s been communicated between the various parties. With all the questions about this guy I wish we could just deal with Cuba and not all this other stuff.

  • Kevin

    Cespedes.hurt yesterday, appears the A’s signed an unknown for a lot of money. I certainly hope the Cubs can learn from the A’s mistake. Don’t throw good money toward Soler.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      You left out several important premises in this syllogism.  Otherwise, it applies just as well to, say, every one that the Cubs drafted.

      • Kyle

        I’m waiting for the day when someone shows me a baseball player who is a known, as in we know what he’s going to do in the future.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Bryce Harper is pretty close (so far (I guess we will see (does that mean we don’t know (I wish I had a near speed of light aircraft)))).

        • calicubsfan007

          Agreed, every young player is a gamble, even when he is considered a “safe” bet. Those are the ones who tend to fall the most. Even the veterans are gambles, one cannot ensure that a veteran will continue to play as well as he has before (i.e. Pujols). Everything is a gamble, the GMs job is to figure out whether the risk is worth the reward, not to find the person with the least amount of risk. Thats what the Cubs minors is made up of in a lot of ways, a lot of the guys who were picked in prior years have already peaked by the time they were picked, which equals a ton of so so prospects. Risk is a part of baseball, as well as life.

        • beerhelps

          Prior was a sure thing too

          • calicubsfan007

            Which proves my point. Thank you. (No sarcasm here, I am giving a genuine thanks)

    • MaxM1908

      Also, Cespedes injury is a hammy injury in which the reports I read said he’d be available for pinch hitting this weekend with a likely return next week. I hardly call that evidence that he isn’t worth his contract. As far as I can tell, he’s holding his own as a rookie in the majors.

  • JulioZuleta

    Looks like Prieto and Crawford, as well as McNeil will be signing soon. 30th round pick Garescz already signed.

    http://www.ihigh.com/scp/article_125521.html
    -Yes, there’s a typo in the heading

    http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2012/6/6/chicago_cubs_pick_anthony_prieto_in.htm

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m glad Prieto is signed.  That one worried me just a bit.

      Edit: Make that is willing to sign.  Not a done deal yet.

      • calicubsfan007

        I was never really worried because he would have gone to a small junior college if he didn’t sign. If he was planning to go to Clemson or a college like that, then I would have been worried. I like Prieto though, he has a huge chance to make it. If he has completely overcome his injury and regains his speed and endurance, he will be huge… They say that his curve has way more bite now, btw.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          My thinking was probably too pessimistic, but not implausible.

          Prieto, when healthy, threw regularly in the low to mid 90s and was clocked as high as 97.  He also apparently has a pretty good curve.  He flew somewhat under the radar because not many scouts saw him throw that hard, thanks in part to his injury.

          So imagine what might happen if he stays healthy all next year while pitching for a JuCo (I’m not sure the school he was committed was a JuCo, but let’s say it was).  He’d come back into the draft next year a potential supplemental or second round pick.  That’s a jump in likely signing bonus of about a million dollars.  That’s not a bad gamble for one year., especially given that his value is down right now due to the injury.

          Personally, I’d take the money no questions asked, but I could completely understand a guy thinking about that pay day if he can just stay healthy for one season.

          And that could have made him a tougher sign.  Fortunately, it looks like I’m wrong.

          • calicubsfan007

            Really, when I am thinking about your possible scenario, I really am getting more and more excited about this kid because of the fact that he flew so much under the radar. If he does perform like your possible scenario suggests, he could be with the big league team by 2015 or sooner. I really do think he is a lefty version of Lincecum. Seems like a great kid too. None of this, “Oh, I might go to college (in order to get more money from the team who just drafted me)” crap. Again, I would love for more ball players to go to college to learn more and become more mature, but more players use college as a bargaining chip. Don’t let Boras get near him, (=.

      • calicubsfan007

        Sources say that the Cubs called him before they picked him and asked if he would sign with them if they drafted him. He said yes and has been pretty public about wanting to sign with the Cubs.
        http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2012/6/6/chicago_cubs_pick_anthony_prieto_in.htm

        Something catastrophic would have to happen for the deal to not happen.

      • Kyle

        Upgrade to “will sign” for “projected $250k”

        https://twitter.com/PDindinger/status/211163511085207552

        Slot for that pick is $257k, so they might just be quoting the slot number as a projection.

        • calicubsfan007

          That really makes me happy. He’s like a left handed, texan version of Lincecum. Who wouldn’t want that??? He’s also one of the prospects I did know about before the draft, which is really saying something because my knowledge of baseball prospects before the draft is minimal.

  • calicubsfan007

    One cannot compare Soler to Cespedes for a variety of reasons. For starters, the age difference (26 to 20). Secondly, the fact that by the time Soler reaches Cespedes’ age, he will have several years of minor league experience (which is said to be more challenging than the toughest Cuban baseball team) and probably will have been in the been in the majors for at least one year. The money that was thrown at Cespedes will not be the same as what Soler will be getting, soler will get less. Plus, Soler will have time to acclimate to US baseball, Cespedes hasn’t.

  • Cheryl

    Question. Is there any way the cubs can draft a player at a certain slot position for say three years and then go back and offer him a raise?This would give the team more flexibility.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Probably not: remember, the whole CBA is designed to reduce the flexibility of the teams with money and make them behave like the ChiSox.  (I.e., responsible, upstanding, in front of a waving flag with stirring music swelling in the background, etc., sort of way.)  They seem to have most of the “dodges” covered.

  • Cubbie Blues

    This was supposed to be a response to Cheryl:

    I had thought about that before. The problem I couldn’t get around was: what guarantee does the prospect have of a new deal getting done. It would all be on a wink-wink-nod-nod deal. In this case I don’t know that a wink is as good as a nod (not going to finish that one). Also, I am not sure about the legality of it.

  • Cheryl

    If a potential draftee has the choice between a guaranteed contract at the slot price and a three year contract with a written promise of a review and the potential of a good raise many might opt for the shorter contract. Would a written guarantee get around the wink and nod scenario, give the player and team options and be legal under the CBA?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The CBA is very strict about what can be put into written guarantees.  Remember, one of the points of the CBA is to prevent teams from doing things like this.  It comes down to this: you cannot offer more to your #15 pick than the other guys can offer to their #14 selection, and the guys with the #16 pick cannot offer that player as much as you can offer the #15 selection.

      The more I learn about it, the more I marvel at how well they foresaw loopholes.

  • cjdubbya

    Speaking of obsessive, sounds like the Cubs made the cut for Round One of the Soler bidding, if Buster Olney’s to be believed (and I believe him).

  • Kevin

    All I’m trying to say is paying $30M for Soler is a big chunk of money. If he pans out great, but if he doesn’t, you just wasted a lot of money. Scouts are putting a lot of emphasis on “Player Makeup”, how can we know Soler’s makeup if there are so many unanswered questions about him? If you sign Almora to the slot budget of $3,250,000 and he goes bust then you haven’t lost nearly as much money.

    • cjdubbya

      True. Very true statement. But this is a lottery ticket, and the last one under the “old” rules. Soler slots into the system very high, and it’s that high-impact talent that we’re still needing. Cubs are also about $25-30M lower in payroll this year than in the past couple, so while I have no inner workings available about how the Cubs spend their money, may as well go for the (albeit expensive) additional first-rounder in the hopes that it does pan out.

    • Hansman1982

      Signing Soler will NOT effect the cubs ability or willingness to sign almora. You sign them both on the thinking that you will be lucky to get one of them to be a major league regular. EVERY dollar spent on players is a giant risk, look at Carl Crawford.

      • calicubsfan007

        We would increase the odds of having at least one solid to great outfielder. Having both of them signed does that. Having both of them do well is just the icing. Nice Crawford reference, him and Pujols are really prime examples of proven veterans having risks of their own.

        • Njriv

          I consider the Pujols situation different than Crawford. I think his early struggles were due to him switching leagues. He was in the National League for about 10 years, and moving to the American League he had to get familiar with a bunch of different pitchers he has never seen before. Crawford on the other hand, is a better example of a bust, he stayed in the same league and the same division! He’s still seeing all the teams he would have been with the Rays.That is a free agent bust!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Some of the best baseball players in history have been some of the vilest people imaginable.  “Makeup” is a good public relations line, but it means nothing between the white lines.

      And, of course, it is a risk.  Here is the rub: not everybody who takes risks claims history, but history always goes to those who took risks.

  • Jonski

    Not to get off topic I got to see a small sample size of Jasvir Rakkar from Stoney Brook 1 inning 2 hits 1 walk 1 k and a tater. You can see the attraction,but it does look like he struggles with command.

    • calicubsfan007

      I dont know about the command issue. Looking at his profile, he is relatively solid as either a starter or a reliever. I think he fell because of the fact he isn’t exactly a starter or a reliever, as he seemed to be used interchangably in his junior year. This could have had scouts question his polish.

      http://www.goseawolves.org/sports/m-basebl/mtt/rakkar_jasvir00.html

      • Jonski

        Well he has good velocity and his off speed stuff is good…Lets hope we get him signed and coached up.

  • rbreeze

    If you can sign a guy like Soler you have too.  We need to develop impact players.  Cuba might not be AAA or AA baseball but they play good baseball and are passionite about it.  More than one team sees the talent and the potential upside.  4 or 5 or 6 years at $6 Million a year is cheaper than Carl Crawford or even Fielder for that matter.  (or Soriano)  Every deal is a risk.  If he pans out it a great deal to have some control over the player.

  • Ogyu

    New Soler story at ESPN.com. Second round of bidding commences.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8027045/sources-next-round-bids-due-weekend-jorge-soler

    • King Jeff

      That either means that Soler didn’t get the amount he wanted offered, or the high bidder was a place he didn’t want to go play, maybe.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Or, as Brett and others suggested earlier in the day, it was the agents’ plan all along to have a 2nd round of bidding.  They do have incentive to wrap this up quickly: bidding stops at $2.9M in 4 weeks.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+