Chicago Cubs: Rumors aside, Jorge Soler looks to be valuable piece
The Chicago Cubs have been active this offseason, and one of the names mentioned often in recent weeks is Jorge Soler. But Theo Epstein says Soler could be one of the best power hitters in the game and isn’t likely to go anywhere.
Depending on who you’ve listened to, Soler has been on his way out on more than one occasion as the Chicago Cubs have been tied to several teams for another starting pitcher. But as Theo Epstein appeared on “Inside the Clubhouse” on 670 The Score, it’s clear that it would take the perfect deal for the Cubs to move their young right fielder.
The question around Chicago has been if the Cubs would look to deal Soler with Jason Heyward being a Gold Glove right fielder and possibly look to sign a true center fielder in free agency. But Epstein believes that Heyward can be an above average center fielder and that Soler’s bat has the potential to be something special itself.
"I think his bat could be as good as anyone in the game from a power standpoint, as soon as he learns to loft the ball a little more.” Theo Epstein, H/T Bruce Levine"
While Soler’s potential is evident, many teams looking for a power outfield bat have identified he and Kyle Schwarber as potential targets. But the Cubs are unlikely to move Schwarber, and now it appears that Soler will join that list barring unforeseen circumstances.
“Barring anything (a package that can’t be ignored), he knows to ignore all the trade rumors and take it as a compliment.” Epstein said.
One of those packages may have been for the Cleveland Indians’ Danny Salazar or Carlos Carrasco. But the Indians think highly of their young starting pitching and would want a top return for them. But Epstein and Jed Hoyer feel the same about many of their young players and will operate in the same manner.
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It’s very possible the Cubs could add a defensive specialist this winter, but Epstein sees it as a difficult move to take any at-bats away from Soler or Schwarber on an everyday basis. While Schwarber will pull double-duty learning the outfield as well as behind the plate, Soler has shed some weight in an effort to get leaner and attack the ball better.
"“I just watched some videos of him training and he looks great. He is down to 225 and is working hard on his quickness and flexibility. He looks fantastic. This guy wants to play.”"
Neither of the two will rest on what they did last season, and a determined Soler could be the Cubs breakout star in 2016 if his hard work continues.