It has been tough to gauge the interest of all the aforementioned eight MLB teams have on Jorge Soler because the 20-year-old Cuban defector still hasn’t received citizenship status in the Dominican Republic. Until he does that, he is unable to officially become a free agent. There hasn’t been much news of late from any of the projected frontrunners because not much else can happen until Soler gains his residency, but both the Orioles and the Red Sox have been linked to the young outfielder this weekend and have grabbed some headlines.
Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette did not comment on Friday about the rumors that Baltimore was set to meet with Soler this weekend, but the front office doesn’t see the point in making any comments and letting the rest of the league know their interest level of the most sought after international prospect at this point. According to Baltimore manager, Buck Showalter, the team will need to make anywhere from 2-4 moves before Spring Training is finished, and they lead all teams with ten players that are out of options. So, it is clear that they need to bring in some young players that have time to develop in their system. Rumors have it that the Orioles did fly to the Dominican Republic this weekend to not only see Soler, but to scout five other Cuban prospects as well. Soler isn’t expected to hit for a high average like Yoenis Cespedes is, but he has been projected as a 30-home run threat once he matures, which would translate well to hitter-friendly Camden Yards.
Meanwhile, it seems that the Red Sox interest of Soler has been increasing of late, and there are rumors that GM Ben Cherington and the Boston front office are going to make a stronger push to land the Cuban defector within the next two weeks. All of Boston’s top talent evaluators are valuing Soler higher than Cespedes because he is seven years younger than his fellow Cuban, his raw power, and putting him in the minors to develop his power, amongst other skills, would be attractive to a team like the Red Sox, who virtually have a full outfield.
It looks as if this will be a roller coaster ride for all of the interested teams as they wait patiently to negotiate with the Cuban defector. For a while, the Cubs seemed to be the clear-cut favorite to land Soler, but with seven other teams in the mix, the bidding war is going to be heating up quickly. Throwing $20 million at a 19-year-old ballplayer that hasn’t stepped foot in the US to play baseball is pretty risky, but with the raw talent he possesses and the potential that he has, talent evaluators see it as a risk worth taking.