The Cubs apparently signed Jorge Soler today.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 11, 2012
Yoenis Cespedes would have made fine fodder for this column had he not agreed to a four-year, $36 million contract with the Athletics shortly before we went to press. After his signing, we inserted him at No. 14 on the Top 100 and fellow Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler became the prize of the international market.
Soler, who will play this season at age 20, is six years younger than Cespedes and thus has less of a track record. In terms of tools, righthanded power is the calling card for both. There are questions as to how much they'll hit for average, but they're both plus runners underway and have strong arms.
Soler will command a contract in the same neighborhood of Cespedes, though I'm leery of the fact that Cuban defectors' performance rarely lives up to the hype (latest example: Aroldis Chapman). I'll be conservative with Soler and rank him at No. 43, sandwiched between third basemen Nolan Arenado (Rockies) and Mike Olt (Rangers).
UPDATE: Jon Heyman writes that the Cubs and Soler agreed to a 9-year contract for $30 million. This is crazy. This is the longest contract in team history and while it's a lot of money for an unproven player, it takes him through his arbitration years. As much as I didn't like this contract before it even happened, it's hard to say anything negative about a contract for $30 million over 9 years. It's surprising to me that another team didn't beat this offer by going something like 8 years and $35 million.
This essentially gives Soler 3 years in the minor leagues and would then take him through his years of club control. If the Cubs are lucky they get him up here in a couple years and it buys out a free agency year. it's not clear how long it may take him, but for someone with his talent and age 3 years in the minors is reasonable.
UPDATE: Keith Law wrote about it:
He’ll be able to opt out of his deal to undergo the regular arbitration process, however, so the Cubs’ upside on the deal itself is somewhat limited.
So if he's good he can opt out and get paid a lot of money. Otherwise the Cubs pay a lot of money for someone who isn't any good. Makes the deal look a lot worse now.