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Jorge Soler Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
- Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus lists the game's top 101 prospects and Matt Moore, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Jurickson Profar and Julio Teheran lead the way. The entire list is worth checking out and it doesn't require a subscription.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law presents a different kind of prospects list — one based on potential impact in 2012. Moore, Devin Mesoraco and Jesus Montero occupy the first three spots on Law's list.
- The Marlins don't seem likely to pursue Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets. The Cubs appear to be willing to spend $27.5MM to land Soler and are the favorites to sign him.
- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman remains open to an extension, but he hasn't changed his stance on the timeline for a deal and the start of Spring Training remains an informal deadline, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. There haven't been recent developments regarding a deal for Zimmerman.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports lists five teams that aren't going to make the World Series in 2012: the Mets, Astros, Mariners, Athletics and White Sox.
- "Vladimir Guerrero has made it known to the Yankees that he wants their DH spot," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but Raul Ibanez remains the frontrunner. Ibanez had a slightly worse 2011 season, but the Yankees seem to prefer his left-handed bat.
- The Cubs and Red Sox submitted briefs regarding the Theo Epstein compensation issue, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and a decision could come this week.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told WEEI after the Ortiz settlement that he doesn't expect any major moves between now and when pitchers and catchers report Sunday, but added, "We're still working on some stuff." WEEI's Rob Bradford hears there's still no traction with Roy Oswalt.
- Orioles executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira will still fly to the Dominican Republic this weekend to scout six Cuban players, including outfielder Jorge Soler, he told Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. The Orioles had interest in Yoenis Cespedes, but Ferreira isn't surprised or disappointed about not getting him.
- Matt Moore, Dylan Bundy, Manny Machado, Travis d'Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Manny Banuelos, Xander Bogaerts, Gary Sanchez, Brandon Jacobs, Daniel Norris, Will Middlebrooks, Dellin Betances, Hak-Ju Lee, Anthony Gose, Jonathan Schoop, Noah Syndergaard, Ryan Lavarnway, and Mason Williams are the division's best prospects, based on Kevin Goldstein's recently-released top 101 prospects list for Baseball Prospectus. Jacobs, Norris, and Syndergaard didn't merit mentions on Keith Law's top 100 or his "just missed" list for ESPN. On the other hand, Law included Drew Hutchison, Chris Archer, Enny Romero, Mikie Mahtook, Taylor Guerrieri, Aaron Sanchez, and Blake Swihart on his list and Goldstein did not.
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.
- 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.
- Dayan Viciedo says he tried to recruit fellow Cubans Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler for the White Sox, tweets Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune. Cespedes appears to be drawing substantial interest from Chicago’s other team.
- The representatives for Vladimir Guerrero and Raul Ibanez contacted the Yankees about their DH opening, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff tweets. The Yankees have also been in touch with the representatives for Carlos Pena, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, though they aren’t inclined to spend big on a DH.
- Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com has the salary breakdown for Gio Gonzalez’s recent five-year, $42MM extension (Twitter link). The Nationals have two $12MM options for 2017 and 2018, Gonzalez’s second and third free agent years.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin said right fielder Corey Hart will be asked if he's willing to play some games at first base, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mat Gamel is the Brewers’ projected first baseman, since Prince Fielder will almost certainly sign elsewhere.
Four of the five American League East teams could use starting pitching depth and though the Rays have enviable rotation depth, they need a bat or two. Here are the details on the division, starting with Tampa Bay…
- Coco Crisp, who agreed to a two-year, $14MM deal with the Athletics yesterday, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the Rays were a finalist for him (Twitter links). Tampa Bay was “in heavy on” the outfielder, but Oakland presented the better offer, according to Slusser.
- Carlos Silva would earn a base salary of $1MM if he makes his way onto Boston’s roster, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Silva, whose minor league deal with the Red Sox was announced yesterday, “will be part of a competition in Spring Training” GM Ben Cherington said.
- The Red Sox have scouted both Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler, but they’re likely to pass on Cespedes and bid for Soler instead, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Red Sox are intrigued by Soler’s talent and they don’t like Cespedes’ asking price.
- Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima appears to seek a couple of million dollars per season on a multiyear deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Heyman points out that Eric Chavez is an alternative for the Yankees if they don't work out a deal with Nakajima by this Friday's deadline.
- Click here for details on the Orioles.