It’s been six weeks since Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs were going to sign Cuban defector Jorge Soler, yet the 19-year-old outfielder remains unsigned and still hasn’t even officially been granted free agent status.
And today Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com not to believe the hype about Soler being destined for Chicago:
He’s not a free agent. The rumors that we have a deal with him are just completely bogus. I don’t know where that started, but you guys [in the media] should not run with those rumors. They’re just rumors and they have no merit.
Pretty strong words, although that certainly doesn’t rule out Soler eventually winding up with the Cubs when he’s finally declared a free agent. Mooney writes that “there’s no denying that the Cubs have targeted Soler for months and done extensive background work on the prospect.”
And as long as he signs before July 2, he won’t be subjected to the collective bargaining agreement’s new international spending rules. Earlier this month the Cubs did sign fellow Cuban defector Gerardo Concepcion, giving the 20-year-old pitcher $6 million, but the “completely bogus” rumors surrounding Soler have him costing more than $20 million.
CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney reports that the Cubs have signed Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion to a five-year, $6 million contract.
Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald reported in early February that the deal was done, but it apparently took a little while to make everything final.
Concepcion, 20, was named Rookie of the Year in Cuba’s Serie Nacional last season after posting a 3.36 ERA in 101 2/3 innings. He defected from Cuba to Mexico in June and became a major league free agent in mid-January. The Cubs will probably get him started this year at a lower rung of Single-A.
UPDATE, 3:18 PM: According to beat writer Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, the deal comes with a $3 million signing bonus and the other $3 million is spread across the five-year deal.
When it comes to Cuban free agents, everyone’s attention has been on Yoenis Cespedes. But, as the man said, there is another. His name is Jorge Soler. He’s and outfielder who profiles as a corner guy, long term. He has the same sorts of tools as Cespedes. He’s much younger too: 19.
And according to Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune, he’s going to be a Chicago Cub:
The Cubs are expected to add 19-year-old outfielder Jorge Soler after acquiring 19-year-old pitcher Gerardo Concepcion, according to multiple reports from the Dominican Republic, where Soler is staying … Soler, according to one report, will be making $27.5 million with the Cubs for three or four years.
He’s raw, so he’s probably a couple of years away, but that’s fine given where the Cubs are at the moment: building.
From reporter Jorge Ebro of Miami’s El Nuevo Herald comes word that Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion agreed to a “multimillion dollar” contract on Thursday evening with the Chicago Cubs.
Concepcion was named the Rookie of the Year in Cuba’s Serie Nacional for 2010-2011 after posting a solid 10-3 record, 3.36 ERA and 53/43 K/BB ratio across 101 2/3 innings of work. The 18-year-old southpaw defected in June to Mexico and officially become a major league free agent in mid-January.
Concepcion also drew interest from the Yankees, Phillies, Royals, Marlins, Giants, Blue Jays and Red Sox this offseason. But the aggressively-rebuilding Cubs were able to outbid the competition.
He’s likely to open the 2012 season at a low level of Single-A. Or maybe it’ll be rookie ball.
UPDATE, 8:12 PM: Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes says Concepcion’s deal is worth $7 million.
Gerardo Concepcion, the 18-year-old pitcher who established residency in the Dominican Republic to become a free agent after defecting from Cuba, worked out for the Rangers yesterday.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that team president Nolan Ryan was part of the Rangers group on hand to watch Concepcion in the Dominican Republic, adding that “the club is among the favorites to sign the Cuban left-hander.”
Concepcion’s agent, Jaime Torres, previously said that the Rangers, Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, and White Sox have shown the most interest, but Sanchez says the Royals, Marlins, Giants, Blue Jays, and Red Sox are also in the mix.
Torres indicated that Concepcion will likely choose a team within two weeks, which would be a speedy timetable considering he wasn’t officially declared a free agent until last Wednesday. Concepcion doesn’t light up radar guns like fellow Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman and isn’t considered an elite prospect, but the fact that he’s only 18 should lead to a sizable deal.