As we’re well aware of by now, the Jays– thanks to their all-encompassing no comment policy when it comes to anything resembling a transaction– have their name dragged into the mix for just about any player available and sought after by MLB clubs, and apparently that’s no different when it comes to the last international amateur free agent to hit the market before the CBA changes, Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler (not pictured, since most pictures purportedly of him appear to be mislabelled).
Take it away, Jon Heyman…
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) June 11, 2012
Of course, simply dismissing these rumors as the product of the ability for anybody to claim that the Jays are involved, without it being shot down by the club, would be a bit premature, I think.
We know that the Jays have viewed the amateur free agent market as a cost-effective way to acquire assets, and that they’ve dipped in it to sign high-profile Cuban Adeiny Hechavarria, and came up just short on Aroldis Chapman. We also know that Alex Anthopoulos watched Soler work out back in February.
Heyman wrote yesterday afternoon at CBS Sports that a decision is expected from Soler’s camp “within the next 24-36 hours,” which means within the next twelve hours or so from now. He said then as well that the Jays are in the mix, though he noted that the Cubs have reportedly been very high on Soler, and have long been thought of as the favourites.
This morning at Getting Blanked, Parkes explained the CBA changes that have made Soler the subject of the last big amateur free agent bidding war, while adding some explanation of why teams are so keen on him, by way of Baseball Prospect Nation, who say he “offers plus-plus raw power that has a chance to translate if the hit tool comes together. Good athlete with an impressive body. Runs well in the outfield and should be a plus defender with a plus arm. Many of the nuances of the game are in various stages of development and he will require refinement for all his tools to play at once in the US. Raw ceiling could be a .275-.280 hitter with 30 home runs in the heart of the lineup, all with very good outfield defense.”
I think we’ve learned not to get our expectations up when it comes to making a big splash on any free agent market, but I’d wager there’s a non-zero chance that the Jays genuinely are interested and might surprise us on this one– of course, I base that on completely nothing, and it’s more than most likely not going to happen. Something to watch, at least.
Update: Aaaaaaand apparently it’s the Cubs. According to a tweet from Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Update the second: Aaaaaaaand Heyman tweets that the deal is for nine years. Nine years!!!?!!?! Can that possibly be right? If so, y’know, to every twat pissing and moaning that here again the Jays have failed to spend money, um… NINE YEARS. But… that can’t possibly be right. Can it? (Note: it is.)