Jorge Soler, a Cuban defector who rates as one of the Cubs’ best prospects, was involved in an incident Wednesday at Single-A Daytona in which he grabbed a bat from his dugout and started to go after the other team.
CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney has all of the details that were available as of Wednesday night. The Cubs, for what it’s worth, are choosing to stay quiet until they have the full story.
Daytona and Clearwater, the Phillies’ Florida State League affiliate, were involved in a benches-clearing incident after Soler, who was on base, and infielder Carlos Alonso got tangled up at second base. Once the field cleared, Soler reportedly grabbed a bat from his dugout and started headed towards Clearwater’s dugout.
Bradley Emery, who was at the game, tweeted that Soler “was right in front of the dugout yelling and screaming god knows what” before coaches managed to drag him away.
Soler was, of course, ejected. One imagines he’ll be facing some sort of suspension from the Florida State League and maybe additional discipline from the Cubs.
After defecting, Soler got a nine-year, $30 million contract to sign with the Cubs last summer. The 21-year-old was off to a nice start for high-A Daytona, hitting .435 with two homers in 23 at-bats. In his pro debut last year, he hit .299/.369/.463 in 134 at-bats between Rookie and low-A ball.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.
The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.
Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.
As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.