Probably just trying to drive down the price... that being said i havent seen any video or really read too much about Soler so i wont be angry at all if the astros dont want to pony up the cash thats needed to sign him
ESPN Rumor Mill has nothing on us being in the discussion...even the Pirates are mentioned. Not that they're never wrong, and maybe we're being subversive about it. But seems doubtful after likely spending the full draft budget?
Latest on Soler
Think back to the winter, when we'd first heard that two potential future outfield stars from Cuba were about to hit the open market. One, Yoenis Cespedes landed a nice four-year contract with the Oakland Athletics; the other, Jorge Soler, was never granted free agency, and thus, never signed.
While there had been precious little news on Soler -- who was linked primarily to the Chicago Cubs months ago -- over the past several weeks, word broke Saturday that Major League Baseball finally declared the 20-year-old a free agent.
The key here is that the new $2.9 million international bonus pools kick in on July 2 -- the date on which this year's class of international signees become eligible to ink contracts with MLB teams -- so Soler should have plenty of time to agree to a deal before those financial restrictions come into effect. As such, it's likely that Soler will net perhaps the last big-money deal handed out to a Cuban player, at least until any changes are made to the current CBA.
The Chicago Cubs have been mentioned as a heavy favorite for Soler's services. A report in Thursday's New York Post says the Cubs will land Soler.
The Red Sox, Orioles, Phillies and White Sox have also been linked to the outfielder. Rob Biertempfel reports Monday that the Pittsburgh Pirates have some interest, but it doesn't sound like they'll last long in a bidding war.
MLB.com's Anthony DiComo tweeted Wednesday night that the Mets position hasn?t changed and they have no plans to pursue Soler.
- Doug Mittler and Jason Catania
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Thursday that the club has interest in signing Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler.
Thursday was the deadline for teams to submit offers to Soler's agents, but Luhnow declined to say whether the Astros made a bid. "We continue to have interest in Soler and that's the most I can say right now," said Luhnow. "We're aware of the process and if there's anything report, we will let you all know." The Cubs are considered the heavy favorite to sign the 20-year-old outfielder, but the Red Sox, Pirates, Orioles, Phillies, and White Sox have also been mentioned as possible landing spots. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Thursday that the Marlins are not in the mix.
Chapman signed for $30+ million for 6 years by the Reds a couple of years ago. If the money approaches that, I would pass because of the risk. Give me 10 Ariel Ovandos for that price.
I remember on baseballamerica they talked about how the very top international prospects actually had a pretty high bust ratio. And that a lot of the impact guys signed for less than a mil. International market is indeed huge crapshoot and you better be damn certain to put your eggs in one basket.
It's a real, legitimate question whether Soler is worth the money. Considering the price tag, he may not be. Keep in mind he's the equivalent a #5-10 pick in this year's draft, but instead of paying him $3M it's going to cost $20M to sign him.
That said, he's the kind of player the Astros should be spending more money on right now--a guy who looks like he'll help in 2-4 years as opposed to right away.
Not only is Jorge Soler a resident of the Dominican Republic, he's apparently a resident of Haiti, too.
Jorge Soler May Be Using Haitian Papers
By Ben Badler
June 8, 2012
Jorge Soler may be a free agent, but the way in which he became one has raised eyebrows around the industry.
Soler, a 20-year-old outfielder, left Cuba last year and arrived in the Dominican Republic, where he has been living and working out for teams. However, according to a memo that Major League Baseball sent to teams, Soler is residing in Haiti.
Due to federal regulations governing American companies and Cuban citizens, Soler's agents must present either an unblocking license from the U.S. Office Of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or two permanent residency documents from a new country before Soler can enter into agreement with a team. Soler's agency, Praver Shapiro Sports Management, has told teams that Soler has the two permanent residency documents. Soler's agency has not responded to requests for comment.
While age and document fraud are rampant among players in the Dominican Republic, several sources in the international market have said that Haiti is a place perhaps even more notorious for shoddy paperwork and record keeping. As a result, some agents who have worked with Cuban players have said they would never consider trying to have one of their clients gain residency through Haiti. Multiple international sources have indicated that some Cubans may be having a more difficult time gaining residency in the Dominican Republic in recent months.
Since MLB has already declared Soler a free agent, it may not matter, though an MLB official contacted would not say whether MLB has already investigated and approved Soler's residency documents.
There is a rush for the 20-year-old Soler to sign before July 2, after which he would be subjected to new rules that limit teams to spending $2.9 million on international free agents, with a few exemptions that allow teams to go up to $3.2 million without penalties. However, before July 2, teams can sign Soler or any other international free agent for any amount without it counting against their international signing bonus pools. Soler's agents told teams they must submit their bids for Soler by yesterday.
Expectations are that Soler's deal could surpass the $15.6 million package the Rangers gave Cuban center fielder Leonys Martin last year. Soler is not as advanced as Martin, who was a standout in Cuba's top league, Serie Nacional, and had played on the Cuban national team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic when he was 21. While Soler has almost no experience in Serie Nacional, he was one of Cuba's up-and-coming young power hitters as a star on Cuba's national junior circuit and on the junior national team.
Haitian papers would be another red flag in the Soler saga. On Feb. 13, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs had an illegal deal in place with Soler prior to him being declared a free agent or receiving an OFAC unblocking license. The Cubs privately denied the report but declined Baseball America's request to go on the record at the time. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer emphatically disputed the report six weeks later.
The Praver Shapiro group is also involved in representing Dominican outfielder Jairo Beras, another player with paperwork questions. Beras had presented himself to MLB and teams as a 16-year-old, then signed with the Rangers for $4.5 million in February as a 17-year-old with a new birth certificate. The deal is currently pending MLB's investigation.
Astros, Cubs, Yankees, Braves, Dodgers, Pirates, Indians, Red Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays are all in on Soler.
Jerry Crasnick is reporting that MLB verified Soler's residency (note that that was all that was in question; questions about a true identity or age or anything like that have not been raised) itself before granting him free agency, so it's apparently a non-issue at this point.
Also, the Angels' GM came out and flatly said that they are NOT going to be in on Soler. Marlins and Mets are reportedly also NOT in on him (Miami being out is huge IMO, obvious reasons).
Also, Buster Olney is reporting that the Cubs, Yankees, Braves and Dodgers have been the most aggressive teams in on him so far.