We learned earlier this month that the Cubs agreed to sign Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler to a nine-year, $30 million contract. The deal was made official today, just two days before the new international spending cap goes into effect.
According to CSNChicago.com, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said this afternoon that Soler will occupy a spot on the team’s 40-man roster. The 20-year-old will have the ability to opt out of his contract once he qualifies for arbitration, but he will remain under team control. If he opts out of the deal, his salary will be determined by the arbitration process. As a result, Soler may end up making considerably more than $30 million. Of course, the Cubs probably won’t be too upset if he pans out and performs well enough to justify the raise.
Soler is listed at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds and his highly-regarded for his power potential. He is expected to begin his pro career as a right fielder, but the Cubs will have him do some baseball activities in Mesa, Arizona before he joins one of the organization’s minor league affiliates. Patience will be required, but he’s a pretty exciting prospect.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.