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.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.
The Blue Jays completed a four-game series sweep against the Athletics on Thursday afternoon and won their second consecutive game in walk-off fashion. Last night, the Jays went into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 2-0, but a two-run home run by Justin Smoak followed by a solo home run from Kendrys Morales led to a 3-2 walk-off victory.
Thursday’s game was already interesting enough as starter Marcus Stroman, catcher Russell Martin, and manager John Gibbons were all ejected by home plate umpire Will Little. Despite the adversity, the Jays battled the A’s, tying the game at four apiece when Morales blasted a solo home run — his second of the game — in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the 10th inning, A’s reliever Liam Hendriks walked the bases loaded with two outs to bring up Steve Pearce. Pearce worked the count full before pulling a fastball down the left field line for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Jays an 8-4 victory to complete the sweep.
Before Pearce, the last Jays hitter to hit a walk-off grand slam was Gregg Zaun on September 6, 2008 against the Rays, per SportsNet Stats.