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.
Rian Watt of Baseball Prospectus is hearing that a trade that would send Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs involves prospect Gleyber Torres and more going to the Yankees. He adds that the holdup in the trade talks is centered around a contract extension for Chapman, believed to be around four years in length and $60 million total. The deal may not be finalized if the Cubs don’t get him signed to an extension they like. In Watt’s words, “Package is set. Extension is not.”
We learned earlier on Sunday that the Yankees were working hard to trade Chapman, reportedly in contact with at least four teams. The Cubs were not believed to be the front runners but certainly upped the ante by offering Torres.
Torres, 19, is rated the Cubs’ #1 prospect and #24 overall in baseball by MLB Pipeline. The shortstop has spent the season with Single-A Myrtle Beach, batting .275/.359/.433 with nine home runs, 47 RBI, 62 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 409 plate appearances.
Torres is currently roadblocked at shortstop by Addison Russell, and 21-year-old Ian Happ is rated #3 in the Cubs’ system, so the club would be dealing from surplus.
Prior to Sunday afternoon’s game against the Mariners, the Blue Jays designated reliever Drew Storen for assignment and recalled reliever Ryan Tepera from Triple-A Buffalo.
Storen, 28, had a nightmare of a time with the Jays, leaving with a 6.21 ERA and a 32/10 K/BB ratio over 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him in January from the Nationals in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Storen is owed the remainder of his $8.375 million salary, which makes it likelier that the right-hander will pass through waivers unclaimed. He’ll be eligible for free agency after the season.