For most Chicago Cubs fans, it didn’t feel right. Once one of the “Core Four”, Jorge Soler was sent to the Royals for Wade Davis. But it was the right choice for both teams.
We’ve had the chance to see how good he can be. The Chicago Cubs simply ran out of places for him, and the opportunity was there to make the 2017 version of this team better. But we watched him in the 2015 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals–on a big stage–and saw what he was capable of. But Jorge Soler just never hit his stride with the Cubs. And the Kansas City Royals and the American League might be the better opportunity for him.
The situation last year looked to be the same this year. A full outfield and not enough at-bats to go around for everyone. With Dexter Fowler gone (likely), and Jon Jay signed, the Cubs are in a similar spot as last year. Albert Almora, Jason Heyward, Matt Szczur, Jay and Kyle Schwarber already look to be the “primary” outfielders. Nevermind the fact that you have Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras that can spell those guys, if necessary.
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Soler needs consistent at-bats. Injuries have also been an underlying cause for his poor performances, but there’s still time for the 24-year-old outfielder. And while there have been questions about his ability to play the field, specifically his routes to the ball, he has an above average arm. And if it doesn’t pan out in the outfield, the AL will afford him the chance to be a DH.
Sadly, this is the business side of the game. Plenty of fans loved Soler. Heck, I was sorry to see him go. But this was simply an issue of numbers. The Cubs had no place for Soler. And the Royals were unlikely to be able to afford him after next season. The Royals get a player through 2020. The Cubs get the closer they lost in Aroldis Chapman–and at a much better deal.
The bullpen picture became clearer today, and so did the outfield situation. While the majority of the outfield looks set, the reserves will be interesting. Will Szczur be back? Or might the Cubs consider bringing back Chris Coghlan? The Texas Rangers appear to have some interest in the former two-sport star, and with Soler off the market, he could be an option to move.
There’s still plenty of time from here until the beginning of Spring Training. But this year the Cubs will do it without Soler. So one final time for Soler,