We touched on the very high interest the Chicago Cubs had in 19 year old outfielder Jorge Soler earlier today, and now there is even more to add. According to the Chicago Tribune this evening, the Cubs are ready to put pen to paper and add Soler to the club. Again, I’m not entirely sure that a deal can be done yet because of the same issues Cespedes had with coming over from Cuba. But, judging by the information the Tribune has, Soler is as good as a Cub once he is officially able to sign with a major league team. We will obviously have more news on this as we inch closer to spring training so check back often for the latest developments.
From the Trib article…
Soler, according to one report, will be making $27.5 million with the Cubs for three or four years. He may have been courted by Cubs ownership and front-office officials while they were visiting their new Dominican academy earlier this month.
If this is actually the case, what a tremendous deal for the Cubs, they get “Cespedes light” for the same amount of years and less money. Not to mention Soler’s best baseball is ahead of him, and he could develop into a flat out superstar. Again, nothing 100% official yet, but sounds like it’s only a matter of time.
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– George Cotugno
According to several sources the Oakland Athletics have agreed to sign Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a 4 year $36MM deal. This is a big surprise as it appeared the Miami Marlins were well on their way to signing him to a six year
deal. This contract will enable Cespedes, who is said to be 26, a chance to become a free agent once again at 30, giving him a possibility of cashing in on a second big contract. According to Peter Gammons, Cespedes’ representatives “felt the A’s wanted him more than anyone else.” For the A’s this is a nice signing considering they have been looking for offense anyway they can get it, plus they are looking for some excitement in hopes of getting a new ballpark soon.
What does this mean for the Cubs? As we discussed in the Soler article it appeared the Cubs were out of the Cespedes running anyways, but does this mean the Marlins will focus their attention towards Soler having missed out on Cespedes? Only time will tell.
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With all the press and stories about Cespedes, the Cubs apparently have been doing their homework on 19 year old Cuban Jorge Soler, and appear ready to strike. It seems as though the Cubs have realized that a continued pursuit of Cespedes is pointless given the Marlins offer to him, and Cespedes’ desire to play in Miami. Soler is not a free agent as of yet, he has to go through the same process that Cespedes had to go through to become a major league free agent. Once that does happen, it is being reported that the Cubs are going to be very aggressive to sign the 19 year old.
The biggest free agent remaining on the market is now officially in play for all teams, and the Marlins have struck first making the highly touted Dominican a 6 year, $40MM offer. Cespedes made his way to the United States last week on Thursday, and met with the Marlins. At that time Marlins president David Samson said that it was possible that the Marlins would make an offer to Cespedes at said meeting, apparently that’s exactly what happened.
Cubs claim 24-year old Adrian Cardenas off of waivers from the Oakland A’s. Cardenas was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in
the first round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. Oakland acquired Cardenas in 2008 in the Joe Blanton deal. He has spent his first six first seasons in the minor leagues, including last year where he played second, short, third, and left field at the Triple-A level. The left-handed hitting Cardenas hit .314 with and OBP of .374. He has shown little power thus far in his career, however has been a career .303 hitter with an OBP of .368. In order to make room for Cardenas on the 40-man roster the Cubs designated 26-year old Blake DeWitt for assignment. DeWitt, a former 2004 first round pick by the Dodgers, came to Chicago in the deal that sent Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers in 2010. In his career DeWitt has a line of .260/.305/.385. The Cubs avoided arbitration with DeWitt this offseason agreeing on a $1.1 MM deal for the 2012 season.
Around the League: January 30, 2012 – February 5, 2012
For the remainder of the off season, we will provide you with a quick trip around MLB to recap what has happened in the past week, thanks for following.
Monday, January 30, 2012
- Victor Martinez had micro-fracture surgery to repair the medial and lateral meniscus in his left knee. He expects to have ACL surgery in six-to-eight weeks, officially ending his 2011 season before it started.
- Pat Burrell retired at the age of 35 due to chronic foot injury.
- Manager Ron Washington received a two-year extension through 2014.
- Orioles sign RHP Pat Neshek, C Ronny Paulino, and 17 year old LHP Seong-Min Kim to minor league contracts.
- Brewers sign former Cub outfielder Corey Patterson to a minor league contract.
- Yankees sign RHP Manny Delcarmen to a minor league contract
Pitcher Matt Garza, and the Chicago Cubs beat the arbitration clock this morning by agreeing to a one year deal for the 2012 season. Garza will make $9.5 million as well as performance bonuses included in the contract. A common ground was found after the Cubs were looking to lock Garza up for $7.95 million and Garza was looking for $12.5 million according to a Major League source.
According to Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald, the Cubs have signed Cuban left handed pitching prospect, Gerardo Concepcion to a $7
million guaranteed contract. Concepcion, 18, was declared a free agent last week by Major League Baseball. It is believed he had several teams interested in him, before he ultimately chose to sign with the Cubs. Reports have the 6-foot-2 lefty featuring a low 90s fastball to go along with a curveball and change-up. Concepcion was named the Cuban National Series Rookie of the Year, posting a 10-3 record and a 3.36 ERA.
By all reports this is a nice signing for the Cubs. This will give them another young pitching prospect which they desperately need and should help the Cubs in the future. Reports have Concepcion with the potential to be middle of the rotation starter in the big leagues, but how his skills will translate to the major league level is yet to be seen, but at 18 there is a lot of time to mature and grow.
Might the Cubs sign another Cuban before spring training? It is possible, they, as well as several other teams have shown interest in outfielders, Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler. With the first of the three Cuban players signed, when will the other two go and where?
There has been a lot of talk about the newest free agent in major league baseball. If we know one thing, this man has one hell of a production staff, I mean look at this quality (Click to open the 20 minute Cespedes showcase video, yes 20 minutes, there’s a pig on a spit at the end, not sure why, but if you are against that type of thing, please don’t watch). The video in it of itself is impressive, there is no denying that, it’s just hard to get past the “second coming” feel it has to it. What we also know is that the Cubs have been consistently mentioned as one of the 6 teams that are showing serious interest, along with the Marlins, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers (not so much since Prince?), and a mystery team. When we really take a look at who he is, does the baseball talent warrant the hoopla surrounding the latest Cuban defector? Let’s get to know him.
Matt Garza will have an arbitration hearing tomorrow to determine how much he will earn this upcoming season. The two sides have not been able to come to an agreement and are quite far apart as the Cubs offered $7.95 million while Garza is looking for $12.5 million for the 2012 season.
Last year, Garza made $5.9 million and was the Cubs best starting pitcher posting a 10-10 record with a 3.32 ERA. At 28 he is under team control through the 2013 season, thus making him arbitration-eligible again next year.
Tomorrow we will discuss the arbitration decision and what the future might hold for Matt Garza.