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Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler is officially a free agent

Jun 2, 2012, 11:56 AM EST

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Let the bidding begin.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler is now officially a free agent and can sign with any team.

We haven’t heard much on Soler over the past couple of months, as he has been waiting to be cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The 20-year-old Cuban defector isn’t major league ready like A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, but he is highly-regarded for his raw power potential. The Cubs, Red Sox, Orioles, Phillies, Yankees, White Sox and Indians are just a few of the teams who have been mentioned as possible landing spots.

The timing on this is key, as Soler won’t be subjected to the collective bargaining agreement’s new international spending rules if he signs before July 2. In other words, MLB teams can bid as much as they want on him for the next month. He’s expected to receive a contract north of the $15.5 million deal the Rangers gave Cuban center fielder Leonys Martin last year.

UPDATE: Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that the Cubs have “done their homework” on Soler and are very interested in him. There was a report back in February that the Cubs were expected to sign Soler, so this doesn’t come as a big surprise, but it’s safe to call them one of the favorites.

UPDATE II: Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that while Soler is a free agent, he technically can’t sign with a team yet because his agent must first produce an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or two permanent residency documents. However, MLB likely wouldn’t have declared him a free agent if this was going to be a problem.

  1. romoscollarbone - Jun 2, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Yanks need to open the checkbook and roll the dice. Cashman has been stacking pitching prospects but our OF guys arent overly promising. I know this years FA class has a few options,but this team is OLDDdD, and needs an infusion of youth. With the way guys train now,their bodies are ready sooner, ala Bryce Harper. Soler could mature for two yrs and be the starting right fielder in 2014 or 15

    • jwbiii - Jun 2, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      Not really. Since WWII, Major League position players have averaged between 450 and 475 minor league games played before their debut. This season, it’s 457 so far. It’s on the low end this season due to Norichika Aoki, Yeonis Cespedes, and Munenori Kawasaki having no minor league experience.

      He may be the last big bonus Caribbean prospect for a long time.

  2. buffalo65 - Jun 2, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Sorry, he’s already a blue jay. Just crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s. To be announced next week.

  3. marc127 - Jun 3, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    He would definitely be a nice piece of the Cubs youth movement if he is as good as advertised. Theo has done a good job of cutting payroll so it would be nice to see them get a guy who is young and who they can continue to build their roster around.

  4. pogodog7 - Jun 4, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    He is probably closer to 30 than 20 years old.

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