Cubs “Win Out” On Soler

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, and since confirmed by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Chicago Cubs have won the bidding for 20-year-old Cuban free agent Jorge Soler.

Despite rumours over the weekend suggesting that Soler and his representatives were looking for a four year deal worth $20 million, and now, John Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting a nine year deal worth $30 million.

That’s a lot of money for such a young prospect, but as we discussed in today’s URL Weaver, the timing of Soler’s eligibility for signing has a lot to do with the escalated cost. Because of the rules in the new collective bargaining agreement being on July 2nd, we’re unlikely to see another bidding war for an international free agent player.

The move makes sense for the rebuilding Cubs who outside of Brett Jackson, don’t have a ton of high upside outfielders in their system. While the easy comparison for Soler is Yoenis Cespedes, it must be remembered that Soler won’t be expected to be an impact bat at the Major League level right away. Like most of the players at his age, Soler will spend time acclimatizing himself to the professional game in the Minor Leagues before he’s called up to the Cubs.

Investing $30 million in a player who has yet to play a game is an obvious risk, but that risk is mitigated significantly by the length of the deal, which favours the Cubs immeasurably. However, it’s likely safe to assume that Soler will have some sort of opt out clause to allow him to take advantage of arbitration eligibility after service time allows him to do so. As such, the value that the Cubs can get from this deal is somewhat limited.