The Cubs were long considered favorites for Cuban phenom Jorge Soler, with reports circulating in February that they had gone as far as to have already agreed to a contract, but today was the day in which they outbid the New York Yankees by giving Soler a 9 year $30 million contract to come to join the Cubs organization. Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported the deal, and John Heyman reported the salary figures. The nine years of the contract make it a very tea-friendly deal despite the total salary that was once considered too high when it was believed to be just a four deal. Soler fits into the Cubs outfield plans that include Brett Jackson, Soler, and one of Matthew Szczur and Albert Almora. Soler is believed to be at least two years away from the majors and projects as a right fielder in the future.
BaseballProspectNation.com offers a scouting report:
Truly classic right field profile. Offers plus-plus raw power that has a chance to translate if the hit tool comes together. Good athlete with an impressive body. Runs well in the outfield and should be a plus defender with a plus arm. Many of the nuances of the game are in various stages of development and he will require refinement for all his tools to play at once in the US. Raw ceiling could be a .275-.280 hitter with 30 home runs in the heart of the lineup, all with very good outfield defense.
One looming question remains, where does Soler fit on the Cubs Top Prospects list? Anthony Rizzo seems to be locked in at the first position on the list, but the number two spot may just belong to Soler now. Almora has yet to sign, and thus does not qualify for the list yet, and Brett Jackson is regarded very highly. However, Soler has superior power and defensive potential to Jackson, and both have approximately the same ability to hit for a decent average. Temporarily, I will place Soler in the number two spot, with Jackson just behind him and Baez in fourth. Vitters ranks as a decent fifth.
Though most prospects do not pan out, Soler’s is considered to have a high floor, in a similar fashion to Gerardo Concepcion, and a lot of moves will be made this year and in coming years. However, I will go out on a limb with a 2016 projected lineup.