When the Chicago Cubs designated Randy Wells for assignment yesterday, my first reaction was, “why the DFA, and not just option him to Iowa?” Since the Cubs’ 40-man roster was full at the time, I speculated that the Cubs were anticipating the need to open up a spot on the 40-man soon, and figured they might as well just take care of that with Wells, since the opportunity had presented itself. The specific guy coming on to the 40-man? I was thinking it would be Jorge Soler.
The Cubs won the bidding on Soler, a top Cuban outfield prospect, earlier this month, with a reported 9-year, $30 million offer. But, since that June 11 revelation, we’ve heard nothing. The process of getting Soler to the States, taking a physical, dotting various i’s, etc., takes time, so there hasn’t been any reason for concern. Still, we all want to see the kid start playing.
And, with July 2 looming – the date on which new signing restrictions in the international market kick in – you had to figure things would be finalized this week.
I suspect we’ll learn of the finalized deal when the Cubs schedule a press conference, and word leaks that Soler is in Chicago.
After he signs, Soler will likely head to Arizona for a couple weeks of miscellaneous training, and maybe some games with the rookie league club. From there, he’ll be assigned either to Low A (short season) Boise, or A-ball Peoria. My best guess is he ends the year in Peoria either way, with the possibility of climbing rapidly in 2013.
Be patient with him: as with Gerardo Concepcion, you have to remember two things: (1) these kids are adjusting not only to pro baseball in America, they’re adjusting to suddenly LIVING in America (and with a whole lot of money); and (2) we don’t know what they’ve been instructed to work on. You judge the immediate results at your own peril.
Also, with reports flying that fellow Cuban outfield prospect Yasiel Puig has received a deal in excess of $40 million from the Dodgers, it’s possible that we’re going to feel VERY good about the Soler deal at some point in the near future. They’re both lottery tickets, after all, but the Cubs may have bought the one with better odds for less money.