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.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.