We’ve heard so much about viral sensation Yoenis Cespedes in the media this month that another talented Cuban outfielder is flying under the radar. However, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t generated plenty of buzz among MLB front-office types.
According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins, Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers and Cubs are among the teams who have expressed interest in 19-year-old outfielder Jorge Soler. Similar to Cespedes, Soler defected from Cuba and is currently working out for teams in the Dominican Republic. The Marlins and Rangers have already checked him out in person.
Soler isn’t anywhere close to major-league ready like Cespedes, but Frisaro heard from a scout that he boasts serious power potential and is only slightly smaller than Mike Stanton, who stands checks in at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds. Oh boy. Imagine these two in the very same lineup someday. I can hear the nicknames already.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post wrote earlier this week that Soler is expected to receive a contract in the neighborhood of the three-year, $15.5 million deal the Rangers gave Cuban center fielder Leonys Martin earlier this year.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.
Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.