Olney: Yankees have “serious interest” in Jorge Soler

Open Thread: 2/14 Camp Notes
Johnny Damon and the shadow of 3000

Via Buster Olney, the Yankees have “serious interest” in 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. A number of other clubs are in on Soler as well, and reports circulated earlier today that he had agreed to sign with the Cubs for something like $27.5M. Olney confirms that those reports are untrue. It’s worth mentioning that Solar hasn’t been declared a free agent by MLB yet, so it would be illegal for him to have agreed to a deal already. As in a violation federal regulations illegal.

You can read Soler’s scouting report in the final question of this mailbag from two weeks ago. As I’ve said in the past, I prefer Soler to Yoenis Cespedes based on the little we know just because he’s so much younger and can have a more traditional development path rather than be expected to produce at the big league level immediately. Cespedes got $36M across four years from the Athletics, but I really have no idea what it’ll take to sign Soler. That $27.5M talk is scary; we’re talking about a kid several years away from the show.

Open Thread: 2/14 Camp Notes
Johnny Damon and the shadow of 3000
  • RobertGKramer@AOL.Com

    Looks like our main competition here is going to be Theo Epstein and his Cubs. They signed the Cuban lefty Concepcion who we had interest in. Is this a new rivalry?

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      Theo needs to sign someone so he can give him to the Bosox to settle the compensation issue.

    • CS Yankee

      Ummm no.

      27-0 WC in the past 100 years…top 10 farm to bottom 10…a near 100 win team versus a near 90 loss team…a family that grew-up in the biz versus a family that went to the park together…biggest revenue versus the second biggest team in the second biggest sports city…etc., etc., etc.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t know that it will become a rivalry. Would probably take a few years of good moves by Theo and Hoyer that lead to multiple WS appearances before an NL/AL rivalry would really emerge.

        I’m not sure any of those factors preclude it from becoming one, though. Some of the issues you raise are related to the past rather than the future: past championships and farm system. Concepcion and maybe Soler would be moves designed exactly to boost their farm. How ownership grew up seems pretty irrelevant to me. And 1st biggest vs. 2nd biggest (think it’s actually 3rd biggest after LA) sounds like a built in rivalry.

  • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Mike E

    Soler was always the one I thought the Yankees would get. He would fit perfectly into their farm, which really lacks depth at the corner outfield positions. I’d have to be a hell of a performance, but if Soler is as good as he’s been hyped up to be, replacing Swisher in 2013 or 2014 would be worth the money. As much as $30m would be, it would look like a steal next to Cespedes, when you compare the years and youth. Lots of things have to go right though.

    • CS Yankee

      Solar is 19 and played for a high-A level type national team. He will not be the next big thing, he might however be the next, next best thing.

      Highly unlikely he gets to AA by years-end. He would be a big story if he made it in 2015 as a 22 year old. Heck Montero is 22 and was developed at a pretty fast pace but still took 5 years to get to the show.

      These foreign players are getting crazy expensive with less upside (in terms of $/WAR). Hard to believe that he would get more than 10M$, but these are crazy times.

      • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Mike E

        The difference between Soler and Montero, is just what you mentioned, Soler comes from a league that’s competition is considered A+. He hasn’t spent much time playing, but when he played in the 2010 World Junior Championships, which was a very competitive tournament, he did very well. I would assume that he would start in A+, and its quite possible for a player to move up two levels in a year. Whether he’ll be ready in 2013 or 2014 is up to a scouting report I don’t have, but from all the hype I’d have to think its possible.

      • whozat

        Given the impending changes in intl free agency rules, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a bigger deal than one might expect. And it might make sense to do so, as this will be the last time that teams can flex pure financial might in the international market.

  • CMP

    Considering this is the Yankees last chance to flex their financial muscle on an international free agent and the fact that whatever they pay Soler wouldn’t count against the luxury tax this year or impact their 2014 budget, I think they’d be very foolish NOT to pay whatever it takes to get Soler.

    Texas signed Leonys Martins for $15.5 and everything I’ve read rates Soler as a much better prospect so if it takes $27.5 for Soler, I think the Yankees have to do it considering they have no decent outfield prospects above A ball.

    • steve (different one)

      Why wouldn’t the AAV of his contract count in 2014?

      How can they get around this, if they don’t give him a major league deal and give him a huge signing bonus? Does that work?

      Surely some team will give him a major league deal, no? The Cubs gave Concepcion a major league deal.

      • Plank

        If the money is given as a signing bonus, it wouldn’t count against the cap. Just his salary when he’s on the 40 man roster.

    • RetroRob

      Even if they were to sign Soler, they still won’t have any above A ball. That’s where Soler will most likely begin.

    • Landry

      At a certain point it does become foolish to pay “whatever it takes”.

      • Ted Nelson

        Agreed. I think that the Yankees have to place their own value on the guy, and if the market is a lot higher I don’t see why they’d go through with what they’ve effectively decided is wasting money (granted… it’s not like they haven’t wasted money in the past…). I’ll be excited if they think he’s worth winning the bidding, but if they don’t pay ~$30 million for him I’m not going to be upset.

    • Plank

      Leonys Martin was less of a prospect but more of a player. He was 23 and made it to the Majors in his first year. It’s not a 1:1 comparison.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t know nearly enough about Soler to say how long he’s going to take in the minors. What are you looking at besides age to make that decision?

        • Plank

          This historical percentage of 19 year olds in the majors.

          • Ted Nelson

            Soler turns 20 in 10 days… but supposing that a guy you know nothing about is average is odd. Not sure age has as much to do with what level you’re stationed at by your org. so much as ability.

            • Plank

              I’m actually supposing he’s far above average. (Thanks for assuming what I suppose, though) I also know that above average 20 year olds have a better chance of flaming out than becoming all-stars.

              I think he’ll get paid handsomely, but comparing a 23 year old who was good enough to make one of the best teams in his first year isn’t a 1:1 comparison. There is almost no chance Soler makes MLB in 2012. Do you think otherwise or are you just disagreeing with me on principle?

              • Ted Nelson

                If you are looking at the historical % of 19 year olds in the majors… what are you assuming? A. That he’s 19 next season. B. That the average representation applies to him. Try to keep up with me here.

                I am disagreeing with you… because you are ignorantly throwing darts at a board. You are confusing age with performance.

                • Plank

                  You are discounting the correlation between age, performance, and probability of making the majors.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Martin played in all of 8 games last season. He got a cup of coffee. If he signs an MLB deal Soler is pretty likely to get that even if he’s not coming up to start 2012. I think you’re exaggerating a lot on Martin. 8 games.

                    Year 2 is potentially when Martin’s actually going to make an MLB impact. To even get a shot to. At that time Soler will be 21. Plenty of top prospects are rookies at 21.

                    In terms of 20… it’s rare, but not that rare. Starlin Castro, Jason Heyward, Julio Teheran, Jacob Turner, Mike Trout (19), Mike Stanton… that’s 6 off the top of my head in the last two years.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      *coming up to start 2013…

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Arodys, Jordan Lyles… that’s 4 guys per year the last two years.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Can think of at least Andrus and Porcello in 2009.

                    • Plank

                      Leonys Martin was less of a prospect but more of a player. He was 23 and made it to the Majors in his first year. It’s not a 1:1 comparison.

                      That’s what I said. That’s what you’re arguing against. Soler certainly could make it to the majors in 2 years. I suppose it’s possible he makes it in 2012. The odds are still against either of them, but it’s possible.

                      Continue beating up against that imaginary foe, though.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I am arguing directly against your point that it’s not a 1:1 comparison… That you don’t realize it is really, really perplexing.

                      Here’s the point you made:

                      “He was 23 and made it to the Majors in his first year.”

                      Here are the points I made:

                      1. Age isn’t as important as performance. Some guys like Melky Cabrera or Frankie Cervelli are just mature even if they’re not that great. Other guys are just that good. In fact, it seems like 3 or 4 a year make their MLB debut at 20 or 19…
                      2. He barely made MLB his first year. 8 PAs.

                      If you don’t see how I was directly responding to and disagreeing with your comments I don’t know what to tell you.

                      “The odds are still against either of them, but it’s possible.”

                      Again… my other point is that you don’t know that. Mike Trout was 19 last season and the odds were not against him making MLB. Tyler Austin, on the other hand, was 19 and odds were against him. Do you still not see why age without regard to ability level tells you very little. I have literally shown you that it’s not that uncommon for a 20 year old to make his MLB debut.

                    • Plank


                    • Plank

                      I have literally shown you that it’s not that uncommon for a 20 year old to make his MLB debut.

                      It is uncommon for 20 year olds to make the majors. Only a very small percentage of 20 year old baseball players make the majors.

                      You have shown a few examples. It’s still very uncommon.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      And you accuse me of strawmen……………………………..

                      Way to take a comment out of context.

                      “Again… my other point is that you don’t know that. Mike Trout was 19 last season and the odds were not against him making MLB. Tyler Austin, on the other hand, was 19 and odds were against him. Do you still not see why age without regard to ability level tells you very little. I have literally shown you that it’s not that uncommon for a 20 year old to make his MLB debut.”

                      The context was clearly that for 20 year olds of a certain ability level it is not that uncommon. All the sentences leading up to the one you isolated said that. Every one of them.

                      Rather than simply admit you are wrong… you poke holes at the most marginal parts of my arguments. Going so far as to misrepresent my points.

                      If you don’t know how good Soler is, you can’t comment on how likely he is to make MLB. Do you really not understand that? That not all guys of the same age have the same ability level or physical maturity…

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Even if you were just to analyze Soler’s stats or scouting report… maybe comparing it to Martin or whoever else… I’d be ok with concluding on a reasonable range for his ETA. You just don’t seem to be even doing that. Just saying… well, he’s 19 today (without realizing when he turns 20), so he’s probably too young for MLB. That’s what I have a problem with.

  • RetroRob

    When I saw the story come across last night that Soler had a deal with the Cubs, my first throught was the joy of seeing Theo Epstein in jail.

    There can be no deal at this time, or even discussion of money. Epstein is a smart guy. No way he is going to violate U.S. trade laws, and then have the exact amount of money leak out, before Soler has established residency. There’s only one party that gains with this number floating about, and it’s Soler. His agent is trying to establish a floor in the market and get all the other GMs in a bidding war thinking that somehow the Cubs have violated U.S. laws and already have a deal in place.

    Cubs may end up with Soler, because they no doubt have an interest, but this story was nonsense from the second it was out and I’m pretty shocked this story had legs for as long as it did.

    Once Soler has his residency, he will shop his services to all teams, Yankees included.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I think the younger kid makes a whole lot more sense but, even though the reports weren’t true, sign him at that kind of money? Absolutely insane for any team to do so. Let some other team pay premium money for a lottery ticket if that’s the case. There’s always the draft.

  • William

    Okay…..but is he better than Williams? Probably. More power and such. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Cubs got him. They have the money (they could have a made a substantial offer to Fielder), and the yanks maybe more conservative, given the FA pitching market next year (Cole Hamels).Then again, with CC, Pineda, Nova, Hughes, and maybe Banuelos or Betances, I highly doubt the Yanks will sign Hamels.

  • Reggie C.

    I say go and get Soler. We’re talking about a minor league contract here, which isn’t calculated against the cap and thus there’s no penalty for spending $30 million here. From the write ups, scouts uniformly see all the tools in his game.

  • Monkey Suit

    I hope the yankees make Theo throw a chair, i feel abandoned

  • Preston

    Kevin Goldstein said that Soler would be 38th, as in better than all of our prospects except Banuelos. Let’s go get him.

    • FIPster Doofus

      And Jim Callis said he’d rank Soler anywhere from 11th to 20th. The kid seems like a stud.

  • Robert

    If they fail to nsign him the question that needs to be asked is Are the Yankees running out of Money? Tickets are not selling well,they have spent very little on premier international free agents and the Darvish bid was a joke.

    • Steve (different one)

      Lol, sure.