Jorge Soler Rumors

Astros Keeping Tabs On Jorge Soler

The Astros are keeping tabs on powerful Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler as he nears free agency, GM Jeff Luhnow told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.  Soler, who is represented by Praver/Shapiro, is not yet a free agent, but Luhnow has seen him and is in contact with his camp.

Baseball America ranks the Astros' farm system 17th in the game, but ESPN's Keith Law has them 27th.  With 11 picks in the first ten rounds of the 2012 draft including the first overall, the Astros have MLB's second-largest allowance at $11.1777MM, according to Baseball AmericaBA's Jim Callis would rank Soler 43rd on their top 100, better than any Astros prospect aside from Jonathan Singleton.  With the new $2.9MM international spending cap beginning with the 2012 July 2nd class, Soler represents the last chance for any team to bid eight figures for a raw international free agent. 


Cafardo On Soler, Gonzalez, Ibanez, Abreu, Kazmir

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the Red Sox's shortstop position after the trade of Marco Scutaro.  Major league evaluators are skeptical that Mike Aviles and Nick Punto can get the job done, which could leave the door open to prospect Jose Iglesias getting the nod.  All eyes will be on manager Bobby Valentine to see how he handles the club's shortstop situation this spring.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • Two GMs told Cafardo that Jorge Soler will go for more than the five years and $15MM-$20MM most thought he would settle for.  Some of the clubs who elected to stay away on Yoenis Cespedes because of the hefty price and question marks about his game have decided that Soler is a better value.  The Red Sox are one of about eight teams in on Soler.
  • Mike Gonzalez is likely headed to the Rangers if they can trade Koji Uehara.  The A's have also been connected to the free agent reliever recently.
  • The Yankees prefer Raul Ibanez to Johnny Damon because of cost.  Damon is seeking about $5MM while Ibanez will likely be in the $1.5MM-$2MM range.
  • Angels veteran Bobby Abreu would have gone back to the Yankees in an A.J. Burnett deal.  The Halos have a logjam with Kendry Morales returning and Albert Pujols at first base and Abreu has been offered around.
  • The Red Sox didn’t attend Scott Kazmir’s workout on Friday and have no plans to watch Brandon Webb throw when he is on display.  That's because Boston decided not to delve into the rehab market for pitchers.  The club has tried a number of pitchers coming back from serious injury and in most cases, it hasn't worked out.
  • Cafardo wonders if Cardinals backup Tyler Greene is worth a look for the Red Sox shortstop mix.  The 27-year-old was once a promising prospect and is out of options this year.

Phillies Notes: Soler, Valdez, Wigginton

Here's the latest from the City Of Brotherly Love…

  • "Industry insiders" consider the Phillies to be a longshot for Jorge Soler, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.  Though the Phils are known to be one of Soler's top suitors, the team has never been big spenders on the international market and may balk at Soler's price tag.  Salisbury hears from one baseball executive who predicts Soler will end up with the Cubs, who are reportedly ready to offer the 19-year-old Cuban outfielder as much as $27.5MM.
  • The Phillies traded Wilson Valdez to the Reds since GM Ruben Amaro felt his team already had several other utility options in place, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki as part of a reader mailbag.  Zolecki says he was personally a little surprised by the Valdez deal.
  • One of those other utility options, Ty Wigginton, is excited to play for a contender, reports Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  In that piece, Amaro mentioned that Wigginton had been highly regarded by several Phillies scouts over the last few years.
  • David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News looks at five key questions surrounding the Phillies as they open Spring Training.


Latest On Jorge Soler

At least seven teams have interest in 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, according to the most recent rumblings from around MLB. The Yankees and Phillies are said to have serious interest, and the Blue Jays, Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs and White Sox also appear to be in the mix. Soler isn't a fully fledged free agent yet, but that hasn't slowed the rumor mill down. The latest:

  • GM Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed the Phillies' interest to Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It may come down to where he wants to play and, of course, the money," Amaro said.The Phillies have stayed in close contact with Soler, taking him to dinner several times, according to Brookover.
  • The Indians have worked Soler out at their Dominican academy several times, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets.
  • Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN The Magazine tweets that he would be very surprised if the Yankees sign Soler.

Latest On Jorge Soler

7:57pm: The Yankees and Phillies are in hardest on Soler now, Yahoo's Jeff Passan tweets.

5:21pm: Marlins president David Samson said on 790 the Ticket that the club doesn't have interest in Soler, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets.

2:51pm: The Marlins are interested, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal hears Soler's power is comparable to that of Miami outfielder Mike Stanton — high praise to say the least.

12:59pm: The Blue Jays watched Soler and others Wednesday at the team's complex in the Dominican Republic, writes MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.  The Orioles will be in the D.R. to watch him Sunday.  Sanchez lists the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Phillies, and Cubs as other interested parties.

WEDNESDAY, 8:26am: The Phillies are also interested in Soler, reports Olney.

TUESDAY, 2:18pm: The Yankees have serious interest in Soler, ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweets.

12:33pm: Many teams remain involved in the bidding for 19-year-old Cuban prospect Jorge Soler, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The Cubs have been extensively linked to the outfielder, but they’re not the only club involved. 

The Yankees are in on the bidding, tweets David Kaplan of CSN Chicago, and Heyman suggests the Marlins could be involved. Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald hears that “a good number” of teams have interest (Twitter link). Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus explained yesterday that Soler would rank 38th or 39th on his list of top prospects.


Quick Hits: Prospects, Soler, Zimmerman

Yahoo's Jeff Passan presents the projected 2012 payroll for every MLB team, from the Yankees ($204MM) to the Pirates ($46MM). Those two clubs are currently working on a trade and, oddly enough, the Pirates would be the ones absorbing salary. Here are tonight’s links…


AL East Links: Vlad, Theo, Red Sox

One AL East player has avoided arbitration in designated hitter David Ortiz, and another is close in reliever Casey Janssen.  The latest from the division:


Marlins In Lead For Cespedes, Cubs Focused On Soler

The Marlins are exchanging contract figures with 26-year-old Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and two National League sources tell MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that the Cubs are no longer seriously in the mix. Chicago has apparently shifted its focus to 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, though he is not yet eligible for free agency.

Upon his recent visit to Miami, the Marlins made Cespedes an offer that was initially reported to exceed $40MM. That number has since been denied, and Frisaro confirms that the offer was under $40MM, saying the Fish are comfortable with a number in the $30-35MM range.

The Cubs, meanwhile, are willing to spend as much as $27.5MM to land Soler, though Frisaro's sources are unclear on the number of years they'd offer. New Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have already made one significant international splash this offseason, signing 18-year-old Cuban Gerardo Concepcion to a $7MM contract with another million dollars of incentives.


AL East Links: Red Sox, Chavez, Ibanez, Soler

The Yankees inked Bill Hall to a minor league contract earlier today, creating some competition in Spring Training. Here's the latest from the AL East…

  • The Red Sox signed 17-year-old Australian Daniel McGrath, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. The left-hander will visit Boston's Spring Training camp for a week before returning to finish high school in Australia. Bradford hears 15 MLB teams had interest before Boston completed the deal.
  • Even after signing Hall, the Yankees continue to be focused on Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Last night we learned that they were in serious talks with Ibanez, and Heyman says the Yankees are in excellent position because all of their targets have interest in playing for a contender.
  • Meanwhile, Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports that the Yankees are not offering more than $2MM for a DH-type and might not even want to spend more than $1MM.
  • Orioles executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira will watch Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler in the Dominican Republic when he travels to watch Yoenis Cespedes play, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports.

Quick Hits: White Sox, Guerrero, Gonzalez, Hart

By this time tomorrow, we'll know whether the Rangers were able to work out a deal with Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish. In the meantime, here are tonight's links…