With Yoenis Cespedes officially signed and sealed by Oakland, the market for fellow Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler is really beginning to heat up. And two early front-running suitors have been identified.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the teams “in hardest on” the 19-year-old Soler at this time are the Yankees and Phillies. The Blue Jays had a private workout in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday morning with Soler and the Orioles are scheduled to meet with him Sunday. The Red Sox, Cubs and White Sox have also been linked.
Soler has yet to establish residency in the Dominican and must do so before being granted free agency by Major League Baseball. But it appears the courting process is already well underway. He won’t top Cespedes’ four-year, $36 million deal in total value, but Soler does seem likely to beat him in length.
The Mets have signed catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal, SNY’s Andy Martino reports. The total value of the contract is $19 million, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman.
Ramos, 31, split last season between the Rays and Phillies, putting up one of the best offensive seasons among catchers. In 416 total plate appearances, he hit .306/.358/.487 with 15 home runs and 70 RBI.
Ramos will presumably get the lion’s share of plate appearances behind the plate with Travis d'Arnaud backing him up. Grandal was made a qualifying offer, so the Mets would have had to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. And, of course, Realmuto would have cost prospects. Ramos simply costs money.
The Mets were aggressively pursuing a catching upgrade, having been involved in rumors surrounding J.T. Realmuto and Yasmani Grandal, but ultimately settled on Ramos. New GM Brodie Van Wagenen has made a significant impact on the team already, having also added second baseman Robinson Canó and closer Edwin Díaz from a trade with the Mariners.