When Jorge Soler was declared a free agent last week, agent Barry Praver sent an email to all teams to inform them that the deadline for initial bids was June 7. That indicated a quick negotiation window, and that window closer on Monday afternoon with Soler closing a nine-year, $30 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.
Without getting into the dynamics that went into such a deal, and future dynamics such as the potential for arbitration outs, let's focus on Soler the player. On a scouting level, Soler has a classic right-field profile. He's athletic, with at least average speed, and has decent instincts in center, which should serve him well in right, as well as a plus or better arm. His calling card offensively is raw power that has earned 70+ scores from scouts, but opinions are his pure hit tool are quite varied. There is clearly some swing and miss in his game, but he's shows the ability to make adjustments in international play. There is some stiffness to his swing, but it clearly has worked for him so far.
In the 2011 draft, Soler could have been a top ten pick. In the 2012 draft, he certainly would have been among the top eight, and likely top five. As for Soler's development, he will likely get acclimated to beisbol en Estados Unidos by spending some time at the Cubs complex in Arizona before getting shipped out to play somewhere in the neighborhood of six weeks in the minors before instructional leagues begin. A big league debut in 2014, while not out of the question, would be the most optimistic of scenarios. He has easy impact potential, but there are plenty of potential speed bumps between Soler reporting to camp and him reaching the big leagues.
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