The Cubs have signed 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, according to multiple media reports.
The signing comes as no surprise to many in the industry, as the Cubs have long been the only team seriously mentioned in connection with Soler. The Chicago Tribune reported in February that the Cubs already had an agreement in place with Soler before Major League Baseball had declared him a free agent and before he had been cleared to sign by the United States government. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer denied the deal six weeks later. Soler, who has been living and working out in the Dominican Republic, is claiming residence in Haiti.
Soler is a power hitter and considered one of the top young talents coming up through the ranks in Cuba before he left. Though he had minimal experience in Cuba's top league, Serie Nacional, he was the top player on Cuba's junior national circuit and excelled during international tournaments. He is represented by Praver Shapiro Sports Management, the group that is also involved representing Dominican outfielder Jairo Beras, whose $4.5 million contract with the Rangers is still pending a decision from the league.
Our January scouting report on Soler (for subscribers) explained that:
"Soler will take longer to get there, but he's also one of the better young players Cuba has produced in recent years with the offensive potential to be an above-average right fielder. Soler stands out for his thick, physical build and strength. Power is Soler's best tool, as he shows great bat speed, the ability to hit balls out to all fields and the potential to hit 25 home runs per year. While scouts like his power and some like his swing, he bars his front arm and the stiffness in his stroke is a concern for some scouts."
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