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Your up-to-the-moment latest on 20-year-old Cuban prospect Jorge Soler:

  • An “industry source” tells the New York Post that Soler is expected to agree to a deal before tomorrow. The Post calls it a “four-year deal,” which I am assuming means a typical four-year deal for a prospect (i.e., he gets paid over four years, and is put on the 40-man roster, but he is *not* guaranteed free agency at the end of the deal – the team still gets its six years of big league control). The Post goes on to suggest that Soler could be a replacement for Nick Swisher should he leave this offseason via free agency, which is extremely optimistic on Soler’s development time line.
  • Buster Olney says Soler’s reps are calling contenders right now and asking to confirm that their final bids are, in fact, final. So there was an opening round of bids, a second round of bids, and now a “are you sure you don’t want to top Team X’s bid” round of bids. He’s gonna get every last penny.
  • Buster adds that the Yankees are said to have “bid heavy,” but that other teams view the Cubs as the favorite.
  • Ken Rosenthal hears from an exec that Theo “won’t allow the Cubs to lose” on Soler.
  • I tentatively expect that we’ll hear something on this later today/tonight.
  • My take? I’d say the Cubs remain the most likely destination of all the teams, but I wouldn’t say the Cubs are more likely than not to get him. I’d give the Cubs a 1/3 chance, which would be the best odds I’d give any team. Does that comfort or alarm you?

A couple mid-day updates:

  • Jon Heyman has also heard that a decision will come down in the next 24 to 36 hours.
  • Olney just added that Soler’s agents have told teams they have their final chance to make/increase bids by tonight. If it plays out that way, I’d expect word to leak maybe late tonight/early tomorrow, and then a formal announcement on his decision tomorrow. No word yet on whether The Decision will be broadcast on ESPN.
  • James

    Hoping for the best, expecting the worst. Not getting my hopes up but we’ll see.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s a good way of putting it. Sounds about right.

    • baldtaxguy

      Yes, same here.  Love to see him obtained by the Cubs, but will not get too excited if another team tops Theo’s bid.

    • LEO L

      sounds like a typical cub fan day

  • Cubs Dude

    If this bidding gets crazy, I actually prefer the Cubs stay out of it. If this thing is going Yankee style, i.e. the stupid ARod extension we should spend our money else where. I am all for building the farm system, but come on man.. Way to big of a risk imo..

  • nkniacc

    Great no lahair and we get hill catching

    • baldtaxguy

      I see displaying LaHair in the best possible light for potential interest, but I still think LaHair is disserviced being unable to face lefties. Its not like we have a comparable bat on the right side at this position.  He has established his confidence, turn him loose.

    • Ogyu

      I’m totally speculating, but here’s a thought/question: Is it possible that LaHair would be at greater risk of aggravating his ongoing back problem if he was trying to hit left-handed pitching? In any event, if the trainers/docs want him to get extra rest for his back, platooning him is as good a way as any of accomplishing that.

      • Drew7

        If I had to give a reason I’d say thats it. Just a good way to keep him rested.

  • North Side Irish

    This is like a chance to buy a Top 10 draft pick and basically the last chance to do so. I’d hate to see the Cubs cheap out now, especially with a payroll so far below what it has been. They’ve got the money to spend and need to use it. This is a fairly unique situation and I think they need to take the financial risk if they’re serious about rebuilding from within. But it is going to be for an amount of money that is going to make me very nervous.

  • True(ly) Blue

    I’m not sure that spending BIG money on a prospect (no matter how well rated) is a good investment. I keep reading how many great prospects fall by the wayside. Spending BIG money on a proven free agent major league player seems much more advantageous.

    • Cubs Dude

      Is buying a top 10 pick worth over 30 mill. (even in these circumstances)?? I would rather put that towards Hamels and Greinke this offseason.

      • North Side Irish

        I think it absolutely is…especially since this is the last chance to do so. $30M is a lot of money, but it would bring 10 years of team control. If he’s as good as the scouts seem to think, the Cubs would have him under contract until he’s 30.

        The front office hasn’t really begun the rebuilding process yet, just the tear down. They need to be looking at the 2014-2015 rosters and Soler fits in perfectly with that. They will not be serious bidders for Hamels or Greinke or any other big name FA this offseason. Cubs are still another year if not two years away from making any purchases like that.

        But of course they haven’t called yet to get my input on all this…

        • Jeremy

          I disagree about Hamels and Grinke. I think we could go after them. I’m someone who subscribes to the develop young position players and buy pitching so I think going after Hamels or Grinke is ideal for where were at. Of course it is entirely possible that they wait and don’t go after them which wouldn’t be a bad thing, but if Garza gets traded I would rather we find a true ace sooner rather then later.

          • Cubs Dude

            I would rather have Hamels and Greinke much more than Garza. I would trade Garza get prospects who are close and spend on those 2 in the offseason. Garza thinks he is a 100 mill pitcher and isn’t.

            • Glotzbach

              I still don’t think Greinke can handle playing in a really big market like Chicago.

              • cls

                EXACTLY! He could not handle the stress and the size of the crowds here. His anxiety would be on overdrive in this city. Not a good idea.

              • Jeremy

                I believe Grienke’s mental issues are in the past but it is a concern. That’s why I prefer to go after Hamels. I would trade Garza and go after Hamels hard in the offseason as I think Hamels would be a better long term investment then Garza.

            • Nick Nesler

              I would love to have either of those guys. But wouldnt signing one of the type A free agents cost us our first round pick? If so I don’t see Theo and Jed spending the money and giving up such a valuable pick.

              • chirogerg

                The system of Type A and Type B free agents has been eliminated under the new CBA. The Phillies need to offer a contract that is above the average of the 125 highest-paid players to get a sandwich round pick (I think that’s how it works).

          • baldtaxguy

            Agree on buying pitching, regardless the current state of position player development. I like buying Greinke.

          • djriz

            Unless the front office changes their plan, I don’t see this as the year the go after Hamels. He’d be 33 when the Cubs are ready to seriously compete (probably). If they think he’ll be good through his age 36 yr, then maybe.
            I just don’t see a large market team risking money on Greinke, what with his mental disorder and all.

        • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

          I disagree, strongly, that Hamels and Greinke will have no serious suitors. The Dodgers are going to make the 2012 Angels spending spree look cheap.

          However, I do think any time that you can add a top-10 type draft pick for just cash then you go for it. From what I understand Soler should be around a 50th placed prospect in baseball. Considering that going forward there is $10-15M a year less in IFA/Draft spending you will “recoup” this money quickly.

          • Cubs Dude

            Hansman I get what you are saying, but everything has a value to it. If the Yankees are going to go ape shit on Soler do you still want the Cubs involved? To me that guy has some serious questions. If you’re going to spend ridiculous money I would rather have guys like Hamels (who may be getting older) but still look to have a lot left. Are we cool with going thru another year like this year? I want to do it right, but I want some serious progress and a chance for the playoffs next year. I understand what Theo is doing and all but how much can everyone take. But that’s just me…

            • NyN

              I have watched the Cubs suck since 1987. I can watch a couple of more bad years if that is what it takes

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Please look up Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Koske Fukodome, and get back to us on that long term contract free agent thing.

      • djriz

        Free Agency is a necessary evil, the problem you’re identifying is when you have to rely SO heavily on FA’s. That’s why developing players and risking money on people like Soler is so important .

      • Jeremy

        Unfortunetly, long contracts are a risk you have to take in today’s game. The problem with those contracts is that we gave them to guys who were in the middle of their prime or on the decline. With FA contracts, I feel like giving pitchers long term deals has less risk then position players.

        The Zambrano contract at the time was a very good one. He looks to be the future ace at the time and I find it hard to believe that any of us had a problem with it at the time. Sadly, Zambrano’s emotional issues got in the way of his great stuff. I truly think that the FO is trying to eliminate issues like that with their detailed interview processes in the draft, not sure if they do that in FA though.

  • nkniacc

    If you want to build fronm ithinhen it makes sense. sEspecially when those 2 pitchers will have multiple teams bidding for them and with the Cubs as bad as they ae would likely have over bid to get them.

  • Jeremy

    No reason to not get this kid. We can afford the risk. With our low payroll this year and lack of spending last offseason we should be able to get this kid. He is the exact type of player we need. GET IT DONE!!!!

    • baldtaxguy

      Even if Theo’s bid is topped and we lose out, those dollars will buy talent in another capacity down the road, maybe more than one player.  I’d rather not see anything more than $30m go to a single prospect. Not a smart move to overspend here.

      • nkniacc

        but where come july 2 the international rules limmitting spending comes into effect

        • baldtaxguy

          I’m looking at free agency next year, turn the dollars into ML payroll.  But I’d love to have Soler nonetheless, just not for crazy dollars

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            Theo is not taking big league dollars and spending them on Soler, he would be taking the difference between what we can and would have spent over the next few years on IFA/Drafts and is throwing them at Soler.

            Getting Soler has 0% effect on next years free agency

            • baldtaxguy

              I guess you’re right, they’re just printing money

  • LEO L

    1 in 3 sounds good. That means they comitted but not goign to do anything stupid. i hope we get solar though. would be a nice win for the cubs orginazation.

  • JoeyCollins

    I’m all for “whatever it takes” right now. With the new CBA and international signing limit the cubs are going to be searching for somewhere to spend money. Other teams are breaking the bank resigning their own talent but we don’t have the talent in the orginization to pay might as well make one big splash before the new rules won’t allow it anymore.

    • Jim L

      Couldn’t agree more Joey…the guys who are complaining about risk and too much money have to take a look at what is going on with the rest of the league. The CBA has definitely put a damper on building thru over-slotting in the draft, paying big bucks for internationals and most importantly, taking FAs to be off the table as they sign big extensions with their current teams.

      This rebuild is not going to be pretty but, as a fan for 45 years, not much has been for the Cubs. I can wait out a few more rough seasons to see an influx of talent and a consistent winner on the field.

      • Cubs Dude

        Jim I think most of the posters know that the new cba is going to give Soler way more money. Thats pretty obvious… But all I am saying is that how crazy should you go? Ok, there is a new cba and it limits spending so lets give Soler a 200 million signing bonus? Come on now.

        • Jim L

          I say go all out and get him, if Theo & Jed think the guy is worth outbidding the Yankees, then I am all for it – I don’t see the bidding getting into the $100M range, he is still an unproven commodity but take the risk now while the rules allow it.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I think it is way to much hype. I’ve only seen a couple of youtube videos though. I’m not an expert on him.

    • Jim L

      But Theo and Jed have seen him in person, I’ll take their opinion that he is worth making a big play for.

  • MichCubFan

    Ya, we have the money to spend on him, it won’t affect the major league team, and considering the new restrictions that are coming up with the new CBA…it is the perfect time to spend the money on Soler.

    This is not a 32 year old free agent looking for a 7 year contract…

    And since we know we are paying for a prospect I don’t think you can really look back on this as a good or bad signing. You try to acquire and develop as many prospects as you can and hope as many of them stick as possible. We would be adding a big power bat which is something we do not have a bunch of….i say sign him…and it isn’t up to us to worry about the money…that is up to the FO.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    heh, what I like about this is that (at least on sites such as this one), the FO is in a no-win situation.  If the Cubs sign Soler, then we’ll have quite a few “they are idiots for spending that much $$$ on an unproven player who probably is 30 years old.”  If the Yanks or Dodgers trump the Cubs, then we’ll see quite a few “Theo failed to <Mater voice>’Get ‘er done!'</restore 150 IQ points>”

    If the Cubs do sign Soler, then he’ll be declared a bust after his first bad week.  If someone else signs Soler then he’ll be declared the second coming of Babe Ruth as soon as he hits a HR.

    • @cubsfantroy

      It is like that for every player who is young or a free agent. All fans do it lol

      • DocPeterWimsey

        True.  And if the Cubs sign him over the Yankees, then Cashman will be absolutely excoriated by our analogues in the Evil Empire.  Of course, in their minds, the honor of donning the pinstripes exceeds the highest dollar figure any other team might offer in the first place….

    • Cubs Dude

      I really think most Cubs fans could give a shit about Soler. It’s us diehard Cubs fans who debate it. So if they lose him I don’ t think there will be a revolt in Cub nation. We can spend that huge amount of money wiser, cba be damned.

      • Cubs Dude

        I heard the top 7 year old prospect in the Dominican Rep. just became eligible because of the new cap spending cba. Come on now. I am sick of hearing of this new cba.

        • nkniacc

          it is what it is

          • Cubs Dude

            Sure, but good lord. Let’s spend 1 billion dollars to get Soler because we cant do it in a month? I am over it… Maybe its my bad.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees break the bank for him. With the history of players that have played there, it wouldn’t surprise me if they got him and were not even the high bidder. Plus he would have the opportunity to play as early as next year in the big leagues.

    I’m not changing this, but this is the problem with having a 2 and a half year old running wild right now. I have no idea what I am even trying to say. lol

  • ProfessorCub

    I want the team to sign Soler for all the on-the-field reasons stated previously, but I also think the FO needs to do this to buy a little goodwill from the fans. Cubs fans are the most patient and forgiving on earth, but we really deserve to be thrown a bone after sticking with this AAA-team-playing-major-league-games all year. We need at least one positive headline! I’m going to a couple of games at Wrigley next month, and I just hope it’s at least half full.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I’m not sure that signing Soler will have the same effect as signing a big name free agent.  The vast majority of baseball fans (Cubs fans included) are pretty casual: with the exceptions of the Bryce Harper’s, they do not know who is in the minors; heck, they don’t know who half the guys on the current roster are, or when the stars of the 1990’s stopped playing.

      There are a couple of franchises (e.g., the Dodgers) that have long made really big deals about the talent that they develop, to the point where Dodgers fans will assume that anybody on the team must be a farm hand.  Such a signing might get a bit more attention there.  However, I’m willing to be that the average fan will be oblivious to this signing come this time next week.

      • ProfessorCub

        I agree 100% that the average fan won’t care that much about any prospect signing…I guess I was referring to those of us that care enough to post on message boards.

  • Vladimir

    Finally, the long Soler saga will come to an end. I want him in the Cubs system so badly. Only because if you can imagine where our system was just before Theo was signed and they decided to build from the ground up. With Jackson being our top prospect to (possibly)

    Soler, Almora, and Rizzo all outranking him as far as ceiling. It’s very exciting to see the high ceiling talent Theo is going after. You start to see his plan shaping up nicely.

  • Section 409 Row 2

    I have to believe the Cubs will be players for either Hamel’s or Greinke. The Cubs 2012 payroll is sitting at $109M when you include Z’s contract, but next year we only have $34.2M committed before arbitration raises. Even if we sign Garza for $15-$17M million we are still going to have plenty of money to spend. While the Cubs farm system isn’t stacked, it definitely has more position player talent in it than it does pitchers. Our offense will continue to be cheap outside of Soriano so I think the money has to be spent in signing FA pitchers. Outside of Soriano and Dejesus, all of the other Cubs (Major league) position players should be under $5M per year. I have to assume Soto will be traded or just released with Clevenger and Castillo ready and with the retirement of Kerry Wood this team just got even cheaper than it already was. I just can’t see the Cubs lowering their payroll to anything less than $80M and fans accepting it. The bottom line is that pitching wins, especially in the playoffs. So a combination of Hamels, Garza and hopefully Samardzija gives the Cubs a good core of pitchers under 30 who should produce for the next 3-4 years.

  • Leroy K.

    Let’s go Cubs!!! Get this done!!!!

  • Cheryl

    You can’t change ths bidding thing. It will play itself out One aspect of the Soler thing is he may know more about the mystique of the Yankees – Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrog, Mantle, Bauer, etc.,than about any history of the cubs and he might be drawn by that even if the cubs have the high bid.

    • Jeremy

      Cheryl, that is an interesting point but I think the Cubs have their own mystique in their own right. You have to believe that the FO would sell the idea of being part of winning for a team that hasn’t won in over a century. That is appealing in it’s own right.

      • Cheryl

        You’re right Jeremy in terms of the FO selling thar he will be told he could be a part of winning with a team that hasn’t won in over a century but he still might be more familiar with the Yankee mystique than the cubs. I do hope he goes with the cubs though.

    • cubchymyst

      The Cubs just started building a complex in the Dominican Republic and have added a few of Soler teammates. Those two things could also sway Soler towards the Cubs

    • djriz

      Cheryl, I’d agree with you if it was 40 years ago. Now, I think it’s just the almighty dollar.
      But I love your ‘throwback’ attitude, where baseball was purer. Don’t lose the hope!

  • Kevin

    The Cubs need new stadium and should fund it with all the money they are saving on payroll.

  • Kevin

    Why spend a total of $450M to renovate Wrigley when you could build new for the same amount and start fresh.

    • djriz

      I agree on the new stadium, but you ain’t building one for 450 mil in Chicago.

  • Stinky Pete

    But what does Joeby say?

    • Assman22

      Soler bids are down to two teams, one being the Cubs

  • Kevin

    Corporate sponsors and naming rights can help.

  • Kevin

    Any parcels of land available closer to downtown so they can have a beautiful backdrop?

  • Cubs505050

    If the Cubs sign him, which level will he report to?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He’ll head to Mesa for a little while at least, to start adjusting, and then I’d have to guess he’d start at Boise (if not the rookie league team), with the obvious opportunity for rapid promotion.

  • Fire Quade

    Get him signed at all costs.

  • calicubsfan007

    My fingers are crossed so tight that they are losing circulation and I am either reaggravting a previous fracture or creating new fractures in my fingers. A bit overly descriptive I know, but I am hoping to be a writer.

  • LaHair4MVP

    It’ll be the Cubs or the dreaded mystery team.

  • DowntownLBrown

    I think Soler was out biggest offseason target (even thought he wasnt eligible to sign then). Anything less than signing him is a Fail unless They are planning to Double Down this offseason

  • JasonB

    “No word yet on whether The Decision will be broadcast on ESPN.”

    Ha!

    I’d like to announce that I’m taking my talents to the north side.

    – King Soler

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Interesting all those saying sign him all costs, you do understand the prince of darkness, known as the agent or “advisor” for Almora is watching. While I’m sure everyone considered signability, prior to drafting him, the fact that his top client, Appel is in the hands of the pirates makes this very complicated. Appel is going to be first likely as if he signs Amora at a slot deal, he’s undoing himself with Appel. If they pay in excess of the initial rumored deal, they are hurting themselves in this mess. This sign him at all cost strategy some are proposing is really stupid and self defeating. Just doesn’t make much sense with the Almora’s agent being who he is.

    He’s the kind of guy who would use it against them. And unlike the Pirate’s who can afford to go above slot for Appel, the Cubs really can’t go much above slot of Almora, given the weakness of their system and the likelihood of next year’s draft position. They are at the prince of darkness mercy to a large extent. If Boras want’s the send a message to baseball the Cubs could be in trouble, it just depends on the kid and how much or little influence Boras has.

    • Dumpgobbler

      Boras is at a miserable level of leverage. You can improve much when you get taken 6th in the draft. I dont think Soler has anything to do with Almora.. at all.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Appel and Almora are somewhat apples and oranges (and, man, did that roll off of the tongue).  Almora was always slated to go where he did.  However, Appel was slated by many to go #1.  Most people think that Boras wlll not let Appel sign without getting #1 money.  This has come up in the past: Boras had his own slotting system where he ranked players according to his criteria.  The holdouts were the ones where he claimed to rank them (and thus slot them) much higher.  Other players signed with less hubbub.

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