Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the Cubs have signed Cuban defector Jorge Soler:
Ken Rosenthal confirms. Jon Heyman reports that the deal is for nine years and $30 million. Rosenthal notes that Soler can opt out of the financial provisions of the deal after he becomes arbitration eligible, though he will still be subject to team control. It’s just that his salary would be determined by arbitration.
This wouldn’t be the biggest surprise ever. There were rumors going back months that they already had a handshake deal with Soler’s people, though it was strongly denied at the time.
More to the point: Soler represents a great way — maybe the last best way — for a Cubs team badly in need of rebuilding to get a premium international free agent or amateur talent without being subject to the new bonus limits of the new CBA.
Soler turned 20 in February. He’s an outfielder and, though he’s considered raw, he is said to have serious power potential. Size-wise, he is supposed to be only a little smaller than the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, who is 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds. He has, however, been inactive for around a year thanks to the defection drama, so he’s not going to be in Chicago any time soon.
Big signing for the Cubs.
Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.
Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).
The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.
Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.
As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:
Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!
Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:
I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.