Jorge Soler Finally a Free Agent


Jorge Soler has been cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets control and is now eligible to sign with a team. Soler is a 20 year old outfielder from Cuba who is said to be a real five tool player.

Soler is hoping to cash in similarly to what the other Cuban defector, Yoenis Cespedes, did in the offseason. Cespedes, 26, signed a 4 year $36 million dollar contract with the Oakland Athletics and has produced decently well considering he is in a new country and is trying to figure out big league pitchers. He is hitting .248 with 5 homers and a .317 OBP, and just got activated off the DL this week.

Soler will probably get less money than Cespedes, even though he is 6 years younger and some teams think he will be a better player. The difference is Cespedes was a bit more polished than Soler will be. Soler could be a better player when he is given time to mature, but teams don’t often pay players a high average annual salary to develop. Soler will probably get a large signing bonus and there is even a possibility he does get a high AAV. This is a possibility because of the large market teams involved in bidding. The bidders include: Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, and Baltimore Orioles. There were reports in the offseason that the Cubs had reached an agreement with Soler, but this would be both illegal in the US and a breach of the CBA, so these reports were most likely false.

Soler has been trying to get free agency for months, but the process has been very slow. He and his agent now have until July 2nd to avoid the cap of international signing cap that will be implemented as part of the new CBA. This doesn’t seem to be a problem because Barry Praver, Soler’s agent, has asked teams to submit offers by June 7th. The MLB draft starts Monday and Soler signing could change teams’ strategies gong into it.

There were some other Cuban defectors cleared as well. These players are: right handed pitcher Armando Rivero, Outfielder Henry Urrutia, Outfielder Gerald Sanchez and the youngest, at 19, Left handed pitcher Omar Luis. All of these players hope to sign before July 2nd to get maximum money.

For the Cubs, this could be big. If the Cubs can come in and sign Soler and one other of this class, then that helps them rebuild quickly. This doesn’t even take into account the draft on Monday. The Cubs could have a much brighter and clearer future in a week.