The Cubs have landed Jorge Soler

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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.

Brad Ausmus out as Tigers manager

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The Tigers just announced that they will not be bringing Brad Ausmus back as manager in 2018. His contract was going to be up at the end of this season and they have decided not to renew it. Ausmus and his staff will manage the club for the final week of the season.

In the press release announcing the move, Tigers GM Al Avila said “[a]s we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best that we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position.” He went on to praise Ausmus for “doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances, especially this season,” a clear reference to the club’s decision at mid-season to blow things up. Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez were traded in July and August, as were some more minor players. The club is clearly embarking on a lengthy rebuild of which Ausmus, who was brought in four years ago to lead a contending team, will not be a part.

In his four seasons at the helm the Tigers are 312-325. He won 90 games and the AL Central in his first season in 2014, but the Tigers were swept out of the ALDS in three games. In the past three seasons they finished fifth, second and will either finish in fourth or fifth this year. Injuries and poor bullpens have been the biggest problem, but clearly this Tigers team was supposed to win more over the past four years.

It’s unclear what direction the Tigers will take in their managerial search, but it’s clear they’re going to go outside of the organization, as Avila said in his statement that the status of the current coaching staff will be contingent on the wishes of whatever new manager they hire.

Happy trails, Brad Ausmus. Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager is now Baseball’s Most Handsome Unemployed coach.

The Mets are doing something really weird with Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey

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Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that the Mets are going to give Noah Syndergaard the start for tomorrow’s game. But here’s the hitch: he’ll only get one inning and then Matt Harvey will enter in the second inning and go from there. Harvey was originally scheduled to take the start. Syndergaard, of course, has been out since April. Harvey has been pitching under the loosest definition of the term.

I can see, if they are intent on putting Syndergaard in a real game, having him start one rather than come in out of the bullpen for purposes of preparation and routine. At the same time, however, if he’s only able to throw one inning at this point, with a little over a week left in the season, what’s the point of him pitching at all? As for Harvey relieving: he’s kind of a mess right now. Is he someone whose routine you really want to throw off?

I guess this doesn’t hurt anything — at least as long as Syndergaard doesn’t hurt himself throwing in a meaningless game at the end of the season — but it certainly is odd. It makes me wonder if this is some sort of “Dave” or “Moon Over Parador” situation in which the Mets are just trying to create the impression that Syndergaard is still alive.

Could Kevin Kline pitch an inning? Richard Dreyfuss?