Archive for Jorge Soler

Via Peter Gammons, the Yankees bid $25-30M for 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. The Braves and White Sox also made similar offers, though Soler wound up signing a nine-year, $30M contract with the Cubs early last week.

I always underestimate free agent contracts but even $25M for what amounts to a Single-A prospect seems rather … excessive. It is just money, but we’re not talking about a player capable of stepping right in to help the big league club. The Yankees clearly liked Soler and made an aggressive bid, but as we heard the day he signed, Chicago was prepared to one-up any offer to make sure they got him.

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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.”

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6:17pm: Joel Sherman confirms that the Yankees are “in deep” for Soler and have been told — along with other interested teams — that their best bid must be submitted today. A decision is likely to be made tomorrow.

10:54am: For what it’s worth, Peter Gammons says interested clubs believe this will drag out beyond tomorrow unless the Yankees decide to blow everyone else out of the water.

10:00am: Via George King and Mike Puma, free agent outfielder Jorge Soler is expected to agree to terms on a four-year contract sometime “before tomorrow.” The 20-year-old Cuban defector was officially declared a free agent earlier this month, and yesterday we heard that the Yankees were one of the clubs most aggressively pursuing him.

Soler will be subject to the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement come July 2nd, so it’s not a surprise to see him and his agent try to wrap up a contract as soon as possible. I’m very curious to see the size of the deal; a four-year pact probably means something like $15-20M. That’s a ton of money for a prospect — Soler’s not a finished product who can jump right into the bigs — and it really wouldn’t surprise me if the Yankees walked away. Then again it is just money though, and they have lots of it.

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Via Buster Olney, the Yankees are one of the four teams most aggressively pursuing 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. The Cubs, Dodgers, and Braves are also in the mix. The first round of bids were due this past Thursday and the second round is due this weekend. This isn’t a posting process similar to Japanese players, it’s just a straight submission of contract offers and counteroffers.

Soler was finally declared a free agent last week, but the Yankees had been connected to him long before that. The outfielder had been trying to establish residency in Haiti (not the Dominican Republic, where he lives now) according to Ben Badler, a red flag because of the country’s shoddy record keeping. Jerry Crasnick says MLB verified Soler’s residency before declaring him a free agent though, so it’s a non-issue. Soler has three weeks and two days to sign a contract before becoming subject to the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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Via Dan Martin, the Yankees remain interested in 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. MLB declared him a free agent recently and the Yankees were said to have “serious interest” back during the offseason. His agent still needs to secure an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Asset control before he can officially sign, but that’s not considered a major obstacle. Soler will be subject to the new spending restrictions come July 2nd, so expect him to sign for some ungodly amount rather soon.

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Via Ken Rosenthal, 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler has been declared a free agent and is free to sign with any team. He can sign for any amount until the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement take effect on July 2nd, so expect him to sign sometime this month.

The Yankees were said to have “serious interest” in Soler earlier this season, but obviously they’re not the only club in the hunt. Bidding could approach $20M across four or five years on a big league contract. I’m a fan based on the little we know and it would be great to see the Yankees add a young player of this caliber to the organization. Either way, expect to here a whole lot about Soler over the next few weeks.

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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.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League
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Got five questions this week; a nice mix of hypotheticals, prospect talk, and future targets. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send in anything, including mailbag questions.

lol (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Matt asks: Let’s say this Montero trade had happened a couple months ago, and the Yankees had been looking for a DH from the beginning of the offseason — would you have wanted the Yankees to go after David Ortiz for DH? I know he accepted arbitration, but couldn’t he have become a free agent if he had declined his option with the Sox? If that had been the case, and he had become a free agent, wouldn’t you have loved to sign Ortiz for a one or two year deal? I would have supported that completely, personally. Not only would we have taken him from the Sox, but I think Ortiz would kill it in Yankee stadium. Let me know what you guys think.

I’ve thought about this over the last few weeks and I keep going back and forth. Part of me says absolutely, that big left-handed bat sure would look wonderful in the lineup while simultaneously taking it away from the Red Sox, but another part of me thinks that 2011 was Ortiz’s dead cat bounce, his last hurrah. The Yankees would have also surrendered their first round pick to Boston, and that just feels yucky. Ultimately, yeah I would have been for it on a one-year deal. Two years would have been pushing it. I doubt it would have happened though, the Yankees don’t seem to like the idea of spending upwards of $15M for a DH, and I can’t say I blame them. I don’t think that would have been any different earlier in the offseason.

Mark asks: Now that we know that Edwin Jackson signed a one-year deal with the Nationals, in retrospect and assuming they could be bought for their current contracts, who would you have rather had the Yankees sign: Kuroda or Jackson?

I’d rather have Jackson because he’s ten years younger and more likely to repeat (and improve upon) his previous performance. That said, this wasn’t an either/or situation. The Hiroki Kuroda deal set the market for workhorse starters on one-year contracts, and we have no idea what Jackson would have signed for prior to the Yankees landing Kuroda. It changed everything. I’m pretty thrilled about getting Hiroki on that contract, so I have no complaints about how things turned out.

Nick asks: Make sense to try for Shin-Soo Choo?

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Sure, he’d step right into the lineup this year before taking over in right field next year. It’ll buy the Yankees time to sort out the position long-term, which could very well mean re-signing Choo when he becomes a free agent after 2013. I don’t have many concerns about his down year at age 29; I think he’s got a number of .290/.390/.480, 20+ HR, 20+ steal seasons left in him. The only problem is how are they supposed to get him? The Indians fancy themselves a contender at the moment, so I doubt they’ll trade their second best offensive player. The Yankees have the pitching to get a deal done, but it would really thin out their upper level depth. So yeah, it’s not going to happen, but definitely a guy worth pursuing in a trade.

Charlie asks: Hey guys, what about Anibal Sanchez? If Hamels and Cain sign extensions and the Yankees feel Greinke is too risky, is Anibal Sanchez a strong option on the free agent market next season?

Yes, definitely. Joe was touting him as a trade target last offseason, and the great year he had — 3.35 ERA in 196.1 IP, a mirror image of his 2010 season — only makes him that much more desirable. Sanchez is turning 28 this month, so he still has a number of peak years remaining, which is what you hope to get with every big money free agent. And make no mistake, if he has another year like the last two, he’ll command huge bucks. I think the Marlins will find a way to sign him long-term, maybe even before the season starts, but he’s definitely a worthy target.

Ross asks: If you guys have time, I would like to learn more about Jorge Soler. It seems like signing him wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg and he would provide the minor league outfield depth the Yankees currently lack … a perfect Cashmaneuver™.

Here’s a snippet of what Ben Badler wrote about the 19-year-old Soler earlier this week (subs. req’d)…

Listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds … Power is Soler’s best tool, as he shows great bat speed, the ability to hit balls out to all fields and the potential to hit 25 home runs per year. While scouts like his power and some like his swing, he bars his front arm and the stiffness in his stroke is a concern for some scouts. Scouts have offered differing opinions on his ability to hit breaking balls, but he has a history of laying off pitches outside the strike zone in international competition and has more on-base potential than Cespedes.

Soler is athletic for his size and there are reports of him running the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds—a time that grades out as well above-average speed—but several scouts have said he’s really an average runner at best … Depending on how much bigger he gets, there’s a chance he could end up at first base down the road, but he should be able to handle right field for the near future. Scouts are mixed on his outfield instincts but he does have an above-average arm.

I prefer Soler to Yoenis Cespedes based on the little we know, and I get the sense that the Yankees do as well. He’ll obviously need to spend a few years in the minors, but that’s to be expected with a teenager. I have no idea what it’ll take to sign him, but if the Gerardo Concepcion contract is any indication of the market, it’ll cost eight figures. Unlike Cespedes, Soler has not yet been declared a free agent and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement-mandated spending limits will apply to him come July 2nd. He’ll feel some pressure to sign for whatever he can get before the deadline.

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Jan
12

On Cespedes and Soler

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It’s been more than two months since Yoenis Cespedes burst onto our radar with the first of his two highlight videos, and we’re all impatiently waiting for him to be declared a free agent. That’s expected to happen sometime this month, and in an effort to boost his stock, the outfielder will play winter ball in the Dominican Republic according to Kevin Goldstein and Enrique Rojas. He’ll make his debut tonight, and this will allow teams to see him in actual game situations rather than a bunch of workouts.

We know the Yankees have some level of interest in Cespedes, after all you can see bench coach Tony Pena and pro scouting director Billy Eppler watching his workout at the 4:17 mark of the second video. However, lost among the Yu Darvish hoopla last month was a report from Marc Carig indicating that the Yankees are likely to pass on the outfielder’s services. He says they came away from the workout thinking he can be an everyday center fielder, but again price appears to be an issue. Cespedes was reported seeking an eight-year deal worth upwards of $60M earlier this winter.

Cespedes is not the only Cuban outfielder on the market though. There’s also 19-year-old Jorge Soler, another player who has grabbed the Yankees’ attention. Here’s what Jim Callis said about the kid a month ago (no subs. req’d) …

Six-foot-3 and 205 pounds, 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. Because of his youth, he’ll need some time to develop, but he should be worth the wait.

[snip]

Soler is four years younger and more talented than Leonys Martin, another Cuban outfielder who signed a $15.6 million major league contract with the Rangers in April. Once Soler is cleared to sign with a major league team, he’s expected to top Martin’s deal.

A year ago John Manuel quoted a scout who said he has “explosive power,” and Callis said he would have been a top five pick had he been eligible for the 2010 draft. As far as I know there isn’t any video of him publicly available, so this is basically all we know about the kid. It’s not much less than we know about Cespedes, frankly.

The spending cap implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t take effect until July 2nd, so Soler will be able to sign for whatever he wants before then. Cespedes is not subject to the cap because of his age, so he can sign for whatever he wants, whenever he wants. I’m not totally in love with the idea of signing the guy though, but I am intrigued by Soler since he’s so young. Assuming the reports are legit and he has that kind of talent, getting him into the farm system at that age and allowing him develop normally can have some very real benefits, even if they have to wait a few more years for the return.

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Anonymous asks: Do you know if the IFA cap is already in place? By the CBA summary, it seems like it doesn’t go into effect until 2012-2013 signing season, but it’s not really clear. Just wondering if Jorge Soler would count against the cap if the Yanks signed him soon. Thanks.

The spending limit on international free agents starts next July 2nd, so the 2012-2013 signing season. Teams are free to spend as much as they want on players for the next seven months or so. For that first year, each club will be allowed to spend $2.9M on international amateurs, then the budgets will be based on winning percentage in the subsequent years. That’s an average amount but peanuts for the Yankees, who typically spend about twice that most years.

Clubs can exceed their signing budgets, but there is a taxation system like the draft. Here’s the penalty breakdown courtesy of The Biz of Baseball

Excess of Pool Penalty (Tax on Overage/Draft Picks)

  • 0-5% – 75% tax
  • 5-10% – 75% tax and loss of right to provide more than one player in the next signing period with a bonus in excess of $500,000.
  • 10-15% – 100% tax and loss of right to provide any player in the next signing period with a bonus in excess of $500,0000.
  • 15%+ 100% tax and loss of right to provide any player in the next signing period with a bonus in excess of $250,000.

The penalties are already harsh and they will be increased starting in 2014, so hooray for that.

Soler — a 19-year-old Cuban outfielder the Yankees have their eye on — can sign for whatever a team is willing to offer him before next July 2nd. The only problem is that he hasn’t been declared a free agent yet, which MLB will do once they’ve looked into his age and stuff. It only took a few weeks for them to declare Aroldis Chapman a free agent, but that was helped out by his participation in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He’d already been through the process before, whereas Soler has not.

We really have no idea when Soler will be allowed to sign with clubs, but hopefully it’s soon, just for his sake. He stands to lose a lot of money if the process drags on into next summer and past July 2nd.

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