Letting Go of Jorge Soler, Depth for the Cubs' Rotation, and Other Bullets

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Letting Go of Jorge Soler, Depth for the Cubs’ Rotation, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

soler and bryant mbdAh, Rule 5 Draft day, mucking up the schedule for the day. Hence the late Bullets …

  • I really enjoyed reading Theo Epstein’s thoughts at CSN on yesterday’s Wade Davis-Jorge Soler trade from the perspective of why the Cubs ultimately dealt Soler right now. Well, maybe “enjoyed” is the wrong word, because it’s tough to see players moved out before they truly succeed, especially when you’ve been following them since they were the latest top Cuban prospect the Cubs were hoping to sign (we tracked the Soler Watch for almost a year before he finally did sign with the Cubs, and I remember frantically trying to get a signal at a golf course during my brother-in-law’s birthday so that I could post). We saw Soler enter the system, adjust, get hurt, mash in the minors, get hurt, explode upon arrival in the big leagues, struggle, adjust, get hurt, break out in the playoffs, struggle, get hot, get hurt, and ultimately get traded.
  • All of that is contemplated in Epstein’s comments on the trade, and how and why things played out like they did. He admits that the hope, after Kyle Schwarber was hurt last year, was that Soler would take that job and run with it, but Soler’s own injury scuttled things. From there, it was clear that consistent playing time in 2017 was going to be almost impossible with the Cubs, so capturing value now – and giving Soler a chance to actually play every day – was the motivator.
  • Speaking of which, part of the reason you can’t beat the Cubs up on this deal if Soler does finally become what we’ve always believed he could be: there’s no way of knowing whether it would have ever happened with the Cubs. A guy like Soler, who would get nothing from facing minor league pitching at this point, clearly needs to face big league arms day in and day out (and stay healthy) to develop that next level performance. That was not going to be his role on the 2017 Cubs (or maybe even 2018 and beyond). Hopefully it’ll be his role with the Royals, he stays healthy, and he explodes. There’s no reason not to root for it.
  • Also: remember that time Jorge Soler hit two massive homers in Busch Stadium soon after he came to the Majors? Remember that time Pedro Strop pranked Jorge Soler about his food during a rain delay, revealing Strop’s insanely infectious laugh? Remember that time a Jorge Soler homer made a fan lose his wedding ring onto the field?
  • Unable to help myself, I do have jokes about this situation:

  • The Cubs had a busy day in the Rule 5 Draft, which hasn’t been the norm the last couple years. Michael’s got your recap here, but the addition of lefty Caleb Smith as another relief option (together with Brian Duensing, who was signed earlier this month) got me thinking about this tweet from Jesse Rogers last evening:

  • That seems all the more likely now, and it was probably always going to play out that way, absent a bunch of injuries. Zastryzny is a legitimately interesting big league-caliber arm, whether in the bullpen or the rotation. But the rub right now is that his highest and best value to the Cubs is probably as a guy who can start and relieve, AND has minor league options left, so he can be bounced up and down as the Cubs need. It’s not a great thing for the player, necessarily, but it’s a specific kind of depth that championship-caliber teams need to have. And, of course, if Zastryzny continues to pitch well in the big league opportunities he’s given, there does come a point at which it doesn’t make sense to shuttle him to AAA anymore.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.