Update: Cubs to sign Jorge Soler for nine years, $30M


2:40pm: Jon Heyman says Soler signed a nine-year contract worth right around $30M. Good grief. Heyman also says three or four teams were over $20M, though it’s unclear if the Yankees were one of them.

2:17pm: Via Joel Sherman and Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs won the bidding for free agent outfielder Jorge Soler. The Yankees tried to sign him, but Chicago won out. No word on the contract terms yet, but I’m very curious to see what they are. As I said yesterday, $15-20M for a 20-year-old prospect is a ton of money and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees backed away at a certain point.

For what it’s worth, Kevin Goldstein says the Cubs had a “choke point” on Soler and would one-up every bid until they landed him. Yesterday Goldstein described the Cuban outfielder as “a RF profile guy. BIG power, big arm, ok fielder, holes in swing. He’s not historic and he’s seen as ready for Low-A.”


  1. Jamey says:

    Theo’s living large while he can, because his leash won’t be nearly as long as it was in Boston.

  2. jjyank says:

    Oh well. I don’t blame the yanks for not spending tens of million on a relative unknown. Would have been cool to get him, but this doesn’t bother me much.

  3. GrandyManCan says:

    20, eh? How is that in Cuban years?

  4. Voice of Reason says:

    no surprise there

  5. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Wow. That sucks.

    • Bunt Gardner says:

      If Soler ends up being a bust or a AAAA guy, will you still think it sucks?

      • FIPster Doofus says:

        What if he ends up being a great player? It’s called taking a risk on someone with immense talent.

        • Bunt Gardner says:

          Of course. I agree, however, no ones knows if he is an immense talent or not.

          • FIPster Doofus says:

            Thirty mill is too much anyway. He’ll be starting off in A-, so that type of money is ridiculous.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          So they should just hog up every player out there on that chance?

          Remember when fans got on the team for overspending for Jose Contreras? Oh right, have the people complaining were in grade school when that happened.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            “half,” and not necessarily a direct reply to Fipster Doofus, who is a fine gentleman in his own right.

            • FIPster Doofus says:

              Thanks. And, FWIW, I was in high school when they signed Contreras. :)

              • Robinson Tilapia says:


                It’s funny how no one brings up Contreras, the Yanks paid through the nose for him, and wound up trading him for one of my least favorite Yankees in history in Esteban Loaiza a couple of years later.

  6. Brandon says:

    Not that I want to drop millions on a complete unproven entity, but remember when outbidding the Yankees was generally impossible? It interests me that the Yankees complain about Stubhub for the lack of people coming to games, yet have become the penny pinchers of the AL East.

    • Need Pitching says:

      if by penny pinchers, you mean they spend more than all other teams, then yes

    • Dan says:

      They have become penny pinchers maybe compared to what they once were (but that is mainly now because of the goal to get under 189m by 2014), however they still spend as much if not more than other teams in the AL East. I believe they still spent more than other teams in their division on free agents in the last offseason (with Garcia, Kuroda, Pettitte, Ibanez, Jones)

    • Havok9120 says:

      We spend more money than any other team in baseball and will still be doing so at 189.

    • Bunt Gardner says:

      Since when is a $200M payroll considered pinching pennies?

    • Billion$Bullpen says:

      “but remember when outbidding the Yankees was generally impossible?” The real kicker is it still could and should be.

      Hal and Hank got this team without having to pay the death tax because George died the one year there was none (I think there never should be one because taxes were already paid on that money), With the Yes network, the new Stadium, the outside businesses built off the team like the food biz etc. These guys are rolling in cash. Spend it on the future of the team. I have no problem with not paying an aging star for years he will not contribute. I do have a BIG problem with not gobbling up each and every young player with tools and talent they can get their hands on.

      • 28 this year says:

        outbidding the Yankees for who they want is impossible. Look at CC for an example. Outbidding the Yankees for someone they aren’t set on getting, completely possible. If you look at the past, you see they don’t necessary find all these guys worth it. Look at Chapman, is he worth the price? Possibly not. When the Yankees want a guy, they won’t be outbid. Soler obviously didn’t fit that for them and thats fine. Chances are, he amounts to nothing.

      • Voice of Reason says:

        *inheritance tax

        • Havok9120 says:

          Estate Tax, actually. Congress doesn’t like saying “inheritance” either.

          Both are euphemisms anyway. Death tax may sound crude, but in practice that’s exactly what it is.

          • Voice of Reason says:

            I know what it’s called.

            But if you’re gonna call it something else, it’s definitely a tax on inheritance and not on death. It doesn’t sound “crude,” it sounds stupid, because death is not an ascension to wealth and it’s not capable of being taxed, income is.

            • Havok9120 says:

              That happens when? Who is it targeted at and under what circumstances is it designed to kick in the hardest?

              • Voice of Reason says:

                Well it’s not a targeted at death, that’s for sure, because like I said, death isn’t able to be taxed. It’s imposed when money/property is transferred through probate or intestacy. If you have to pick a target, the target would be estates, or if not that, heirs, and I suppose it kicks in hardest when there’s a lot of money being transferred. Somebody has to die for it to be imposed, but that doesn’t mean calling it a “death tax” is any more accurate, because it’s taxing a transfer that happens to take place after death. That’s like calling gift tax “life tax.”

          • I Live In My Mom's Basement says:

            It’s not a “death” tax, because it’s not a tax on death. For 90%+ of Americans who die, no tax is paid. It’s a tax on intergenerational transfers of substantial estates.

            • Havok9120 says:

              Then the income tax needs a new name as well, since 49% of Americans don’t pay it on their income as of 2009.

      • Havok9120 says:

        You do know that they actually DID have to pay the estate tax, right? They and everyone else. Congress retroactively closed the loophole when they re-instituted the tax.

        What’s more, we’ve had the discussion many times in the past about the profitability of the Yankees. Its not like they’re netting 100 million dollars a year. They’re still making a lot of money, but it isn’t much (any?) more than ~35 million/year.

        • Billion$Bullpen says:

          The profitability is a joke. Its numbers moved around on paper. Hank and Hal and the other owners own pieces (large pieces) of businesses outside of the team itself that have raised their net worth in a major way. A good business does not make money. Do you think that Hank and Hal have a lot of costs in life that are not covered by the Yankees and their other businesses?

          Could you provide some proof on this “You do know that they actually DID have to pay the estate tax, right? They and everyone else. Congress retroactively closed the loophole when they re-instituted the tax.”

          I would like to read that if I am not properly informed.

          • Need Pitching says:


            “Under the provisions of TRA 2010, the federal estate tax, which, as mentioned above, was supposed to completely disappear for the 2010 tax year under the terms of EGTRRA, was miraculously resurrected and retroactively applied back to January 1, 2010 for all 2010 estates.”

          • Need Pitching says:

            ” A good business does not make money.”

            that’s just funny

            • Rick says:

              It’s also true. It’s why major corporations try to zero out their books every year. Accounting does wonders.

              • Need Pitching says:

                They try to zero out their tax liability, not their profits. They want to show no profits for IRS purposes, but at the same time, big profits for shareholder purposes.

                • Rick says:

                  Not to be a stickler on a non-issue, but you completely contradicted yourself. Moot point, conversation over. Have a splendid day.

                  • Need Pitching says:

                    Good businesses absolutely make money, they just try to make it look like they don’t for tax purposes. That’s not a contradiction at all. There are 2 completely separate sets of books.
                    Saying a good business does not make money is completely ridiculous.

                    • I Live In My Mom's Basement says:

                      NP is pretty much correct. It’s not really two sets of books. But publicly traded corporations do try to both maximize their profits and minimize their tax liabilities.

        • CP says:

          I thought they didn’t retroactively close it. Everyone assumed they would, but for some reason I thought they didn’t do it.

          As an additional point, it’s likely that taxes haven’t been paid on the inheritance at all because it is unrealized capital gains. That’s not to say no taxes at all were paid, but the majority of the inheritance would have been an ownership stake that was not directly taxed.

          Finally, it’s really an estate tax (or death tax), not an inheritance tax. It’s paid based on the person that died having all of the assets and not as income for all of the people collecting.

          • Need Pitching says:

            estate tax is based on value of the assets – that the capital gains are unrealized has no bearing on the tax -

          • Voice of Reason says:

            My mistake in framing it as income, that was stupid, but the effect is pretty much exactly the same. The “death tax” euphemism exists to make it seem as though it does something other than diminish the amount that (wealthy) heirs receive. An estate is a lot closer to being inheritance than it is to being death. The first two are made up of assets while the latter is, well, death, which is something only incidentally related.

      • Robert says:

        This ownership group does not want to win. When the news that was a possibility them selling this team came out a few weeks ago i was so happy to hear that.

        • Need Pitching says:

          “This ownership group does not want to win.”

          as evidenced by having the largest payroll in the game, by a wide margin

  7. FIPster Doofus says:


  8. Billion$Bullpen says:

    Not surprised. Not happy. Is this not what our deep pockets are suppose to lock down. If George was alive and well this guy would be a Yankee. Not eveything George did was good and or correct. But George got the fact that $ was our greatest advantage, USE IT.

    • Brandon says:

      Don’t worry. The idea is to save the money for another $45 million “proven closer.”

    • Havok9120 says:

      To outbid a team that was reportedly getting a competitive advantage in the signing process?

    • Bunt Gardner says:

      There’s a business tool called “benefit analysis”…maybe you’ve heard of it; perhaps not.

      • Billion$Bullpen says:

        Sorry I do temp work at Walmart doing the night cleanup (it is only temp work because I have not proven that I can use windex the proper way, I keep driking it). I am not advanced enough to understand something as complex as CBA which does the complex task of laying out if something is worth doing based on price and the expected outcome. Deep stuff man, thanks for the lesson. I look forward to more of your Econ 101 lessons on here.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      ….and traded for Erik Bedard at the deadline?

  9. MannyGeee says:

    good for the Cubs. not like 1 guy is going to change the face of rhtat franchise, but lord knows they could use a “win”…

  10. Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost says:

    Doesn’t sound like the Yanks really had a chance in this one unless they spent an absurd amount of money for the guy since the Cubs were just going to keep bidding up until they got him.

    It would have been nice to have him, but not at the likely price tag.

  11. Paul VuvuZuvella says:

    Meh, glad Cash drove up the price for Theo.

  12. Greg says:

    goes to show you how successful MLB is on artificially keeping down prices through the draft. He’s 20, and no indication that he would be better than a mid #1 pick. Which would earn him about $3M. But he’s likely to get $15M or more. Just goes to show in the free market what guys are really worth.

    • 28 this year says:

      Soler’s bid is inflated because of the July 2nd deadline. Also, even if you had a free market and not hte draft, the price wouldn’t be that high because the supply of talent woudl be higher than having just Soler on the market where there is more demand than supply. But yea, your general point remains.

  13. ultimate913 says:

    That was the last chance anyone had to sign an international prospect under the old rules.

    Cashman didn’t bite on Chapman, Cespedes or Concepcion. Not sure why I got my hopes up that he’d get Soler.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Concepcion sucks, the Yankees were smart not to pony up millions for that kid. Remember when people freaked out they didn’t sign Ynoa? At least Chapman and Cespedes were MLB ready (or very close to it).

    • Billion$Bullpen says:

      Why is nobody in the local media beating on the Yanks for this:

      “That was the last chance anyone had to sign an international prospect under the old rules.

      Cashman didn’t bite on Chapman, Cespedes or Concepcion. Not sure why I got my hopes up that he’d get Soler.”

      • Bunt Gardner says:

        Maybe because they don’t think dumping $30M on an unknown is a wise decision.

        • Billion$Bullpen says:

          Or maybe because the fans do not care who any unknown prospect is? It cost 30MM to sign him?

          • Havok9120 says:

            The current report is 9 years, $30 million dollars.

            • Billion$Bullpen says:

              To me this proves that we should have been blowing people out water the last 5 years instead of paying A Rod that absurd deal. I am not really upset or mad about not getting Jorge S., it is that I am upset we did not use our muscle the last few years to prevent other teams from getting top players that only cost money. That is my gripe.

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                So, in 2018, if this guy’s playing in indy ball, you’d be fine with not putting that $3 mil towards someone else?

  14. Rainbow connection says:

    I don’t care either way.

  15. Cuso says:

    If the Yankees got Soler, Theo would have to go Bangkok on another hotel room.

    Just wasn’t gonna happen.

  16. RetroRob says:

    Too bad, although I suspected the Cubs would go in heavy. They need to rebuild and Theo needs to make a splash, so they had more incentive to keeping upping the bid. The Yankees would be adding yet another A-level player to their fine collection in the lower minors, yet it would have been nice.

  17. Havok9120 says:

    Does anyone else find it amusing that everyone is blaming Cashman for not spending big on IFAs even after Hal has made it clear he’s put a budget in place? Why are we still blaming Cashman for this? Do we really think Hal has said “spend whatever you want for the next two seasons,” even though he’s put a cap on the team’s spending after that?

    I’m not saying I’m particularly broken up about not getting the privilege to pay 55 million for an unproven starter from the land of unproven starters, or losing out on paying 20 million for a guy that’s years away. I’m just pointing out that the Cashman hate (which has already been seen here and which was seen in great quantities after Darvish, Cespedes, and others) is almost certainly misplaced in this case given what we know about the team’s spending policies.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I wish there was a wayback machine for what this would have looked like after about half a season of Jose Contreras.

  18. RetroRob says:

    Supposedly a $30 million deal.


  19. Need Pitching says:

    Heyman saying Soler got about 30M


    If true, I can’t really blame the Yankees for not going that high for a prospect. I’d rather they use the money for several IFA’s and not tie up space under the 189M threshold.

  20. crawdaddie says:

    Heyman says 30M for Soler, that’s too rich for my blood.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Its the nine years part that makes me SMH in wonder. Why would Soler lock himself that long-term?? Pretty much if Soler turns out to be the next Carlos Beltran, Soler is going to feel woefully underpaid even if it takes four/five years from now to get there.

      B/c the AAV is so low, the Cubs can move Soler in a trade a few seasons from now if the team finds itself in need for a front line starter.

      • Bunt Gardner says:

        I’m wondering the same thing. If he’s as good as advertised, why lock yourself up for 9 years?

        • I Live In My Mom's Basement says:

          a. He’s been living in Cuba.
          b. It’s 30-freakin’-million. In the bank.
          c. He’ll be 29 when it’s over.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        That’s actually a good point we’ve missed so far.

      • jjyank says:

        That one’s got my scratching my head as well. You’d think Soler, if as good as advertised, would want to become a free agent in his mid 20′s to really cash in, not when he’s almost 30.

        • Need Pitching says:

          it could be no team was offering an opt out of the normal service time free agency requirements, in which case, if his first MLB full season isn’t until 2015, he wouldn’t be a free agent until after 9 seasons anyways, he’d just be sacrificing potential arbitration raises

        • jim p says:

          Isn’t 29-31 the prime part of the typical career? So first, he has guaranteed more money than entire towns in Cuba make, even if he ends up stinking: if he does great he’ll get another $150-250 million for the rest of his career.

      • Tim says:

        There is a clause in the deal that Soler can opt out and go through the normal arbitration process if he desires. Upside for Soler, guarantees if he sucks. It isn’t a very team friendly deal.

    • RI$P FTW says:

      It’s not your blood, though.

  21. Johnny O says:

    “He’s not historic and he’s seen as ready for Low-A”


  22. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    $30M? The Yankees can sign 6 injured LOOGY’s for that price.

  23. BK2ATL says:

    Wanted Soler, but not at $30 million.

    Not sure how they are gonna hit this $189 million mark in 2014, but it’s possible that 3 of Cano/Grandy/Swisher/Martin won’t be here.

    • BK2ATL says:

      FYI – didn’t know it was for 9 years. Not a bad risk after all. $3.3 million AAV. Very cap friendly.

      • AP says:

        Depends on when the opt-out is. I’m guessing the deal is backloaded and, if he doesn’t turn into anything and decides not to opt out, you’ll most likely be paying $5M+ per year towards the end on another Kei Igawa.

  24. DERP says:

    Nine years for Soler.

  25. LiterallyFigurative says:

    Sometimes the best purchase is the one you DON’T make.

    The Cubs paid $30 mil for a 20 year old with very little experience, who is at least 2 full years from the majors, and Cashman is the fool?

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Freddy is making a higher AAV for sucking and sitting. It’s not over 9 years but there’s liabilities everywhere. This has a chance of being a big asset in one way or another.

      It’s not foolish for not signing him but let’s stop pretending every other GM is an idiot too.

      • jjyank says:

        To be fair, Freddy had a very good 2011 at the highest level of the game on the biggest stage. Soler has not exactly nothing to warrant being in that neighborhood.

        I am not saying Theo is an idiot, mind you. Just saying that Freddy at least did something to earn that AAV.

      • AP says:

        Despite the fact that Freddy isn’t doing much, that signing was a no-brainer. It’s relatively low-cost for a proven guy.

      • I Live In My Mom's Basement says:

        It’s a one year contract, and the Yankees could trade him any time for at least $.30 on the dollar.

  26. swishers fauxhawk says:


  27. jack says:

    Wow how can u not beat that deal. This shows just how different from kids. 3.5 per and they cheap out. Sad.

    • DERP says:

      The only thing that is sad is the fact that you can’t form a complete sentence.

    • Havok9120 says:


      3.5 million/year (all of it under the salary cap?) for a guy who’s at least 2 years away from the majors on a competitive team? NINE years for a guy who might never make in out of the minors?

      I’d like to think you’re joking, but I’ve seen other posts by “jack” that were equally ill-conceived. You could be him.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I have literally no idea what that second sentence was supposed to say.

      This guy would do great as a running gag, though.

  28. Dan says:

    If it is $30 mill over 9 years, that deal doesn’t sound too bad. If he ends up making it in 2-3 years you get a productive outfielder that might be a very good power hitter for a little over 3 mill per season. Unless one of the current prospects end up making it to the big leagues by 2014 the Yankees will most likely be spending more than that on their cheapest outfielder.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Or he could wind up like the other 80% of pro-baseball players and never make the show in a meaningful role.

      AND its all under the salary cap I believe, which is rather important for us at the moment.

    • AP says:

      If he flames out, you’ll be paying $5M+ per year for nothing towards the end of the contract. That doesn’t sound too good.

  29. DERP says:

    Someone help me out. Is the fact that the deal is for nine years good for the Cubs?

  30. Reggie C. says:

    If Soler turns out to be an above average corner OF with Swisher-like pop, I guess we’d all have to tip our caps to Theo Epstein for locking Soler up for NINE frigging years. Yeesh.

    Seriously, that’s an insane amount of years to give a 20 year old who’ll likely spend 75% of 2013 in AA and AAA, and that’s if Soler hits/fields from the get-go.

    I’m not too upset. Cubs weren’t going to lose Soler and that organization was in on the ground level since Soler sweepstakes began.

  31. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I hope he’s the next Ernie Banks, and by “the next Ernie Banks,” I hope he promises some poor kid a championship and the Cubs proceed to not deliver on that for another 50 years.

    Nine-year contract. The money was actually somewhat within reason (in baseball land), but I again completely understand not going that high on the guy. Get those prep kids signed. Get Sanchez, Bichette, Williams, and Austin to say their prayers and eat their vitamins.

  32. joshfortunatus says:

    Boy, I hope all those years have team options because that is just nutso to me.

  33. dkidd says:

    30M is insanity

    has theo lost his mind?

  34. In Mason We Trust says:

    This guy gets a nine-year deal, and yet, he could be older than what his age states. And nine years?!? I hope it works out for the Cubbies.

  35. The Moral Majority is Neither says:

    At a time when Cashman needed a special permission slip to sign Kuroda and had to get Pettitte to pitch practically for free, I think the opportunity cost of that $30M is too high for a prospect.

    Every dollar counts these days, whether its in the $189M or not.

    • Havok9120 says:

      The Cashman having to get the OK from Hal on Kuroda and Pettitte thing is something that many people seem to have forgotten. The budget isn’t unlimited right now, 2014 or no.

  36. JobaWockeeZ says:

    The longer the contract is the better if it’s stuck at 30 million. People being baffled over the years is funny. The AAV is a lot lower and in time inflation will make that nothing…

    So what if he’s a risk? There are great odds he’ll break as a top 50 prospect and form there you can get talent by other means. Of course once I heard the Yankees were interested I knew they wouldn’t get him. When was the last time they did that in IFA?

    • Reggie C. says:

      Good post.

      The nine years gives the Cubs alittle more flexibility in that there’s no real rush to get Soler to the majors next season. Heck, if Soler ends up needing AAA time in 2014, I dont imagine the Cubs having any issue with that.

      And if Soler actually hits well in the minors, the Cubs just landed a tradeable chip to make a run at landing an ace starter.

    • Rafael Soriano says:

      You’re right, but what the hell was Soler’s agent advising him on? Seriously? Now he’ll be 29/30 somewhat departing his prime age and may only be in line for smaller future contracts. Something strange about this all the way around. I don’t disagree with the Cubs entirely, but I’m wondering if this guy is really like 29 already or something? No?

      • DERP says:

        Soler has never played a day of professional baseball in the US. I think he (or his agent) realizes that their is a chance that he totally busts and doesn’t make any significant money besides this initial contract. I think it was smart for him to get as much money as possible right now.

      • RI$P FTW says:

        So the contract is crazy, but you don’t think he got enough? ok.

  37. Platano Man says:

    Even though I would have love to see this guy in Pinstripes, I think that 30 Mil is way too much for this guy. We have to remember that Theo’s job is to keep the Cubs curse alive and he’s doing a nice job by handing this type of contracts. Now the Yankees can allocate the money they were planning on using on this guy towards Cano or someone else.

  38. Robinson Tilapia says:

    If Papa George was around…..well, there’d be a lot of confusion at the cemetary right about now……and Soler would still be a Cub.

  39. Manny's BanWagon says:

    Can’t judge this deal until at least 3-4 years down the road. If he becomes even an average ML right fielder, good move for the Cubs. If he flames out in the minors, $30 million pissed away.

    Hopefully he’ll turn out to be more of an Igawa than a Chapman.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I think you can judge the deal now, though. It’s about how much of a commitment you’re willing to put down up front at the chance a guy becomes something. It actually loses something once you actually know what they became.

      The fact that Yu Darvish has looked awesome at times takes away some from the fact that $55 mil as a posting fee was a lot to swallow.

      • Manny's BanWagon says:

        I disagree. If the Cubs scouts think this guy can be something special and he becomes an All Star caliber RFer, great deal Cubs and shame on the rest of the teams that passed him up over a few million.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          So what is the price you put on that chance? What is too much?

          If this guy becomes Ernesto Banks in Chicago, then the Cubs will be happy, but it still doesn’t change the decision they had to make now as to what to offer the guy.

          • Manny's BanWagon says:

            It’s up to the team to make that decision. If they’re astute enough to foresee a future All Star RFer, then $30 million over 9 years is a pittance.

            Any of these deals whether it be a free agent signing or investing in a project can only be evaluated after seeing the end result.

            Good intentions are pretty much worthless. It’s the bottom line that counts.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              You have a much better idea as to what you’re getting with a FA signing than you do a kid who still has to master A ball.

              You’re right that it is up to the team to make that decision. My point is that we can make a judgment as to current risk versus price that is valid this very second.

      • Manny's BanWagon says:

        I must be missing something in your argument. The end result is what determines whether or not this is a good or bad deal for the Cubs.

        Take Kei Igawa for instance. His deal was a terrible one for the Yankees only because he contributed nothing to the major league team (negative career WAR). Had Igawa pitched like Cliff Lee over that 5 year period, it would have been an absolute steal of a deal. That deal could not be properly evaluated on day 1 just like this deal can’t either.

  40. Bubba says:

    I’m all for the Yankees flexing their financial muscle but $30M seems wacky for a Low-A player.

    On to the next.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Yeah really. I wonder how people would react if the Yankees signed Tyler Austin to a 9/30 deal right now.

      • Gonzo says:

        To be fair, Callis said Soler would be ranked in the 39/38 range of the preseason top 100 in 2012.

      • Bunt Gardner says:

        Very good perspective.

      • Guest says:


        From Theo’s perspective, I get it. They need talent, and sometimes you have to take risks to get talent in the system.

        The Yankees are locked into salaries for many core players and need financial flexibility in order to fine tune their team with surrounding players. They can’t take risks with their disposable income.

        With the 189 directive and all the money they already have tied up in long term contracts, there’s not much for costly financial errors.

        When they spend money, they need it to be on the Lee’s (who they offered a ton of money) and the Kuroda’s — i.e., guys that are HIGHLY likely to provide the kind of production the Yanks expect from them.

      • Domenic says:

        There’s a key difference, though – nobody else would be offering Austin a contract … the Yankees would, quite literally, be bidding against themselves.

        Granted, the facts still stand – he’s young, unproven, inexperienced, and the Cubs may have partook in some shenanigans – but it isn’t really a fair comparison.

      • Voice of Reason says:

        Yeah, signing Tyler Austin is really inappropriate comparison. In addition to the fact that the Yankees would have no competition for the deal, Tyler Austin is already property of the Yankees. Basically fo free.

        Would the Yankees sell Tyler Austin’s next 9 years for $30 million? That’s more appropriate, although Soler is probably viewed as a superior prospect almost universally. A flat value of $30 million is probably pretty appropriate depending on how teams view Soler as a prospect, and the fact that it’s a 9 year deal potentially buying out free agency and avoiding arbitration only helps.

  41. Bavarian Yankee says:

    wow, 30 Mil is a lot. I expect him to be in the minors for ~3 years so it’s basically 30 millions for 6 years. A lot of money for a player that might be worth nothing in the end.

  42. Gonzo says:

    Hmm, I kinda like this deal for Theo and the Cubs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge risk. It’s the Cubs though. They have money and it’ll be under the luxury tax for them. If it doesn’t work it hurts, but no risk no reward.

    Just goes to show what a bargain Sano was a few years back. Sano is “younger”, better, and 1% of the guaranteed money Soler is.

  43. Rafael Soriano says:

    I’m calling this Cliff Lee pt.2. One of these where I thank the team that made a ridiculous signing saving us (Yankees) from our own stupidity. That said, I think a deal of $14mm-$16mm would have been ok, but even then, that kind of bread for a low A prospect is already boardering on lunacy. $30mm and 9 years is just flat out stupid. More so from Soler’s point of view too. What in the hell was his agent thinking? Seriously? Play for a better team with a higher AAV for lesser amount of time and hit free agency when you could be in line for an even bigger pay day. As for the Cubs and Theo, they can GFTS..word. Funny too, I am reading on MLBTR how Theo out smarted Cashman on this and did everything to keep him away from the Yankee’s. We all see how well that logic worked for Epstein in Boston, you know, trying to keep players away from Cashman..cough cough..crawford..cough…Dice-K..cough..cough..

    • Guest says:

      From Soler’s perspective, it’s all about one thing: security.

      30 mil over 9 years guarantees that he and his family will live a life they could have only dreamed of two months ago.

      And he’s only 20 and only ready for A-ball. What if he blows his shoulder/knee out? Well, now, even if that happens, he and his family still have $30 million dollars coming too them.

      Plus, this is important, he will be 29 when he hits free agency. If he’s as good as everyone hopes he will be, he will still be young enough to get a HUGE, long-term contract.

      He’s covered if he flames-out, and he will still get PAID if he’s great.


    • Gonzo says:

      The logic that all prospects should want to go to the better team is a little tough for me to understand.

      Wouldn’t it be easier to crack the MLB roster, thus setting your FA clock earlier, on a crappier team?

  44. Remember Me? says:

    2 words…

    Kei Igawa

    I don’t think the Yanks were interested in even the idea of a guy clogging a position in the minors for 9 years.

  45. 28 in 2012 says:

    9 years for a guy whose age is anyone’s guess is nuts. He could be 40 in 9 years.
    Thanks, but no thanks!

  46. Fernando says:

    I’m okay with passing at that cost. If you’re going to give $30 million to an unproven player, then what do you expect proven players to ask for.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      I think people are thinking he’s owed 30 million a year or something.

    • ChrisS says:

      Cashman gave a contract with a not much different AAV to a part-time college pitcher with a nice fastball, no command, and a shredded elbow that they had exclusive rights to.

      It’s not a crazy contract.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        Brackman got 4/4.55 guaranteed. The difference in AAV is a magnitude of three.

        • ChrisS says:

          plus a $3.35 mill signing bonus, but that doesn’t count?

          And that’s to a guy that had exclusive negotiating rights with.

          Soler is a guy on the open market.

          • Need Pitching says:

            the 4.55 includes the 3.35M signing bonus
            and Brackman had the option of returning to school for basketball and baseball

            Open market is a big difference, but there is a much bigger risk in 30M for a prospect than 4.55M for a prospect

          • ChrisS says:

            My mistake, the signing bonus was included in the 4.5 mill whatever … what a convoluted contract.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:


        My mind went there too for a while. It was less of a contract in every way.

        I wouldn’t have blinked twice if I was Cashman in giving Soler this kind of contract.

      • Need Pitching says:

        6.5 x more guaranteed money, and (apparently) the ability to become a free agent when he is arbitration eligible

        I get your point, but there is a pretty huge difference

      • Fernando says:

        If $3 million more is not much different, I’d love to have you across the table when I go in for my next raise. ;-)

  47. Brian Cashman is Watching says:

    Via Keith Law (his most recent insider piece), there might be an opt out clause that will allow Soler to go through the arbitration process. Does that make the deal worse? If Soler takes off, he can opt out and make more money via arbitration. If he’s bad, the Cubs are still on the hook.

    Give Soler’s agent credit, they got a very good deal.

    • LiterallyFigurative says:

      If that’s true, then Soler is getting all the rewards and very little risk.

    • Rafael Soriano says:

      If that’s the case, I take back my above comments, questions Soler’s agent. I need to read it to see it, though..

    • Tom says:

      Just as a random example of an OF with 4 arb years: Hunter Pence. If he makes ~13mil in his final arb4 year, he would have made 34-35mil in his 6 cost controlled years(33-34mil in his arb years).

      If you assume Soler is in the minors for 3 years (though I guess he could conceivably be there for 2), he will pretty much need to perform at a similar level for this to be a bargain for the Cubs. Granted draft picks also get signing bonuses (which I have conveniently ignored), but I don’t see this as the bargain that many places on the web view it as.

      Also, unless Soler puts up 1 or 2 massive years in his pre-arb years, I don’t see him electing arbitration. Well either that or he makes it to the majors after 1 or 2 years where years 8 and/or 9 of the contract would be potential free agent years.

      I agree – this is a good deal for Soler. The upside for the Cubs is limited; though it’s hard to put a value on getting talent outside of the draft at a roughly fair market price

  48. LiterallyFigurative says:

    A 20 year old signing a 9 year deal sounds fishy to me.

    You’ve given the team no reason to extend you when you would normally be entering free agency, at $3.33 mil per. I think you would much rather want to reach free agency quicker, at 26 or 27.

    And are we sure he’s even 20?

    Now, I can’t blame a guy for getting the security of 9 years and $30 mil, but I would want at least the possibility to opt out after year 6 or 7. Year 7,8 and 9, if you are major league average or pretty good, you’d be WAY underpaid.

    • Gonzo says:

      Read above.

    • Brian Cashman is Watching says:

      Looks like he can. He can opt out and seek arbitration. Not quite free agency, but can potentially make a lot more money. Then again, if the contract is backloaded, maybe it reduces the likelihood of arbitration. Don’t know enough about it.

  49. JohnC says:

    An awful lot of money to ensure the continuance of the Curse of the Billy Goat

  50. DM says:

    I read something similar to that last scouting report; and that made me less interested in him. I think he was basking in the hype of some Cespedes after-glow that he didn’t really deserve. Hopefully it will prove to be a good non-move on the Yankees part.

  51. DT says:

    30 mil over 9 years for an A-ball player AND he can opt out when he’s arbitration eligible. That’s crazy.

    • jjyank says:

      Kinda ruins the thought that Theo just got a potential all-star for a below average cost. Arbitration can be quite expensive for good players.

      So it seems like if Soler flames out, the Cubs owe him $30 mil. If Soler reaches his potential, he will cost more than $30 mil, thus mitigating (at least in part) the advantage of him being cheap AAV wise. If Soler is simply league average, he’s getting paid over $3 mil instead of the league minimum.

      I don’t get it, what am I missing?

      • Reggie C. says:

        I can see why Theo would still sign off on Soler’s agents demands for arbitration eligibility.

        Bottom Line: If SOLER indeed does turn out to be an above avg corner OF, SOLER is still in-house. SOLER will still be wearing a Cubs uniform. And since FAs get way something like +25% over MK, paying SOLER more money through arbitration becomes much more bearable.

        SOLER’s AAV only jumps big time if he’s indeed big time. Heck, THeo could just scrap the whole deal after year 6 and extend SOLER if the young man shows he’s got All-Star potential.

        • jjyank says:

          I guess I see the reasoning, but this deal (for me) doesn’t make as much sense if Soler isn’t cheap. If Soler reaches his potential and starts getting expensive (be it through arbitration or an extension), then that kind of defeats the purpose of the low AAV.

          At first I thought it was a gamble. Not necessarily a good or a bad one. You pay Soler $3+ mil in the minors in the hopes of recouping that value if he reaches his potential in the majors. I got that. But if he gets expensive before the 9 year deal is over, you pay him $3+ mil in the minors without the benefit of having him on the cheap in the majors.

          • Reggie C. says:

            Those first couple seasons in the minors will be a distant memory to Cubs fans if Soler hits like an All-Star corner OF by year 5 and 6. No one then would care that Theo essentially paid a Soler +$6 million to finish developing in the minors.

            Again, Soler might not even see the entire sum of the contract. If the kid is an arguable All-Star talent, Theo likely extends Soler during one those final seasons.

          • Reggie C. says:

            I dont think i really answered your post. Sorry about that.

            The purpose of the AAV is insurance for the Cubs against the very real possibility that Soler never develops into anything more than a utility player. Soler has swings in his bat and its no guarantee he figures out how to hit ML pitching.

            If Soler is good, then he’ll get expensive. The AAV at least then sets a base-line for arbitration negotiating process. I mean really, Soler is going to have to be darn good in order for the arbitration to get really expensive. At least that process would takes place with Soler as a Cub, and that’s a good thing for the team.

  52. Theo Epstien's Bunghole says:


  53. Russ says:

    The Cubs obviously wanted him more than anybody else but 9 yrs is nuts.

  54. thenamestsam says:

    Have to say I wanted this kid a lot, but where the bidding ended up I think they made the right choice. That’s an absolute ton of money for an A-Ball kid and if the reports of an opt-out are true it’s really an unbelievable deal for Soler. For a team like the Yankees who are in contention and figure to stay there for at least a few more years I think it makes a lot more sense to spend 30 million on a few veterans over the next 3 to 4 years than throw it at such a high variance proposition.

  55. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Yup. The moment my kid can swing a bat, jump over some boxes, and speaks fluent Spanish, BANK.

  56. yoo-boo says:

    Expensive when he plays in the minor. Cheap when he plays with the parent club for at least 6 and a half out of this contract.

    9 for 30m must be in general. More details will be needed before judging this deal.

  57. Reggie C. says:

    Ok. So there’s posts above discussing the possibility that Soler has an opt-out clause in the contract that’d allow him to pursue arbitration, which i guess would be effective over the final years of his contract.

    We’re gonna need confirmation if this clause is true. If true, Theo Epstein hasn’t made out like a complete bandit.

    • Reggie C. says:

      I’ll re-post my earlier comment from above.

      I can see why Theo would still sign off on Soler’s agents demands for arbitration eligibility.

      Bottom Line: If SOLER indeed does turn out to be an above avg corner OF, SOLER is still in-house. SOLER will still be wearing a Cubs uniform. And since FAs get way something like +25% over MK, paying SOLER more money through arbitration becomes much more bearable.

      SOLER’s AAV only jumps big time if he’s indeed big time. Heck, THeo could just scrap the whole deal after year 6 and extend SOLER if the young man shows he’s got All-Star potential.

      • AndrewYF says:

        Right, but if he gets injured/flames out/sucks, the Cubs are still paying him $3.5M/year until 2021. That’s fine for the Cubs, but for the Yankees, who will always be up against the new payroll cap, $3.5M/year for potentially nothing is way too big a risk to take on.

  58. Robert says:

    The New York Cheapskates strike again.

  59. NickBD says:

    So @Buster_ESPN saying Soler could opt out of contract during his arb-eligible years.

  60. The Big City of Dreams says:

    Edited by RAB: No need to copy and paste and entire article into the comments.


  61. Kevin G. says:

    I hope the Yankees at least put in a good offer. Not like when they “bidded” in Darvish.

    I went to Bleed Cubbie Blue to see what they thought, but I couldn’t understand them because they speak in GIF.

    • BK2ATL says:

      I think the Yankees, in this case, did indeed put in a competitive bid. But, if I read correctly, the Cubs were matching everything offered. I mean, a 9 year deal???

      They just really wanted this kid, to the point of signing what, I’m reading, may not be the most club-friendly deal at all. The only leverage they have is that the kid is wearing their uniform until he’s arb-eligible.

      Theo just went all-in. Bottom-line.

  62. Fernando says:

    Per Joel Sherman….
    Current #Cubs prez Epstein lost out to #Yankees on Cuban defector Contreras as #Redsox GM. Broke chair in rage. Beats Yanks now to Soler.

    LOL, it should read “Epstein beats Yankees for Soler, Cashman BREAKS out in laughter.”

    Seems like Soler got his security and can still opt for arbritation, if he qualify”. Depends on his salaries for each year, but it seems like Soler got security, plus future upside. Still no word on year by year salaries. Though if he pans out, the Cubs won’t mind paying him the arbitration award.

    • RI$P FTW says:

      The Cubs aren’t necessarily suckers. They haven’t painted themselves into a corner like the Yanks have. Stop trying to spin this into a Cashman victory.
      Last night everyone here was saying the Yanks were gonna blow the other teams away and get a replacement for Swish. You’re just disappointed.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        How exactly has this franchise painted themselves into a corner?

        You’re aware that we’re also talking about the CHICAGO CUBS here. Would you like to trade places with fans of that franchise for even a second?

      • Fernando says:

        Not trying to paint this as a Cashman win at all. Sherman’s attempt to make this a “Theo beat Cashman” story, is what should result in Cashman breaking out into laughter.

        I didn’t believe the Yankees would sign him at all. They idea that’ve would be a replacement for Swisher makes no sense to me. All reports say he will have to spend at least two years in the minors, so how does that make him a replacement in 2013? I was hoping for the Taiwanese kid, as that was for a much lower cost and would not have counted against the cap.

  63. BK2ATL says:

    Edited by RAB: Please don’t copy and paste subscriber-only content into our comments.


  64. Cuso says:

    Hey, whatever. I hope it does work out for the Cubs. They need some type of hope.

    If Theo thinks they’re going to turn that team into an eventual powerhouse, let’s see some actual movement.

    They’re in the NL Central. We missed on Soler, but his landing spot doesn’t impact us.

  65. deadrody says:

    Wow, horrendous failure on the Yankees part. Thirty million ? That’s IT ? Hell, they gave Brackman more than that and they KNEW he’d need TJ surgery.

    $3.3 million per year. That’s chump change. A-Rod’s making the same amount as the entire contract just this year.

    Weak effort.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I heard they gave Brackman twice this much……a week, and he’s not even Cuban.

    • Havok9120 says:

      1) Thirty million is the bare minimum since Soler can opt for arbitration once he’s eligible.

      2) 3.3 million per year, guarenteed and affecting the salary cap, even if he implodes, disappoints (likely), or toils away in the minors for half the deal.

      3) I have never understood any of these Brackman comments, as I am not familiar with the deal. We gave Brackman a 40 man spot, 4.65 million dollars, and 9 million dollars worth of incentives (most or all of which he never got). What am I missing that boosts that deal’s value beyond 30 million?

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