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.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.