Cubs sign power-hitting Cuban Solero to $30M deal
Chicago, IL, United States (AHN Sports) – In their biggest move yet under new team president Theo Epstein, the Chicago Cubs have signed Cuban power-hitting outfielder Jorge Soler to a guaranteed nine-year, $30 million deal.
The deal is pending Soler’s passing of a physical examination, which he will take when he arrives in the United States, a source told ESPN.com.
Soler can earn more than $30 million with the Cubs because of a contract provision that allows him to opt out of his contract and file for arbitration once eligible.
The Cubs have beaten several other teams in bidding for Soler’s services, including huge spender New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins.
The Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays also expressed interest in the 20-year-old Soler.
If the deal pushes through, it would be the last massive contract to be handed out to a foreign player.
Soler, who defected in 2011, has until July 2 to sign a contract under the previous collective bargaining agreement, which provides that teams can bid any amount they wish for a foreign player.
But after July 2, the new rules will prohibit bids of more than $2.9 million for a foreign player.
Scouting sources said the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Soler is a projected right fielder with five-tool potential and has a talent of a five-top draft choice.
“Soler has explosive bat speed and power potential. He also has plus speed and arm strength and profiles as a classic right fielder, though he runs well enough to play center,” wrote Jim Cahill, executive editor of Baseball America, about Soler.
“Because of his youth, he’ll need some time to develop, but he should be worth the wait,” he added.
Another Cuban defector, Yoenis Cespedes, signed a four-year deal worth $36 million with the Oakland Athletics.