New York Yankees: 10 Benefits to Signing Jorge Soler

Bill Ford@billfordwritesCorrespondent IIIFebruary 21, 2012

New York Yankees: 10 Benefits to Signing Jorge Soler

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    Cuban right fielder Jorge Soler has generated quite a bit of buzz on the free-agent market. Although he is not a free agent yet, he likely will be in the near future.

    Unable to sign with any teams until his citizenship in the Dominican Republic has been finalized, he has worked out in the presence of a few teams to demonstrate his skills.

    As of now, eight teams have expressed an interest in Soler, according to The Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Marlins and the Yankees reportedly all have their eyes on him.

    The MLB Office of Foreign Asset Control has not cleared Soler to become a free agent yet, but assuming that those issues are cleared up, the battle for Soler could become fierce.

    Any team would benefit from signing Soler, but the New York Yankees are in an especially excellent position and have a huge opportunity to acquire strong talent that has not yet had a chance to develop.

    Soler is on the verge of the beginning of an amazing career, and the Yankees should pounce on the opportunity as soon as it becomes available.

    Take a look at the benefits of signing Jorge Soler to the Yankees.

Good Value

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    The Yankees have been well-known for spending huge amounts of money on talent to build a top-notch team.

    New York is trying to keep its salary expenses down to remain under the $189 million threshold. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports that Soler could sign a deal worth more than the five years, $15-$20 million most thought he'd go for.

    The math is simple here for the Yankees. Soler's value is better than Yoenis Cespedes' would have been for New York.

    Soler's lower price tag for his powerful skills makes him an enormous benefit.


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    Jorge Soler is only 19 years old. He is young, strong and powerful.

    One of the benefits of acquiring someone his age with his level of skill is that there is no rush to push him into the majors.

    The Yankees would have plenty of time to develop him in the minors, starting with Single-A. This would give them ample opportunities to coach, condition and refine his skills.

    Soler has never played against elite athletes in MLB, and this would enable him to prepare.

    Standing 6'3" and approximately 205 pounds, he is large and muscular, which will only increase as he develops in the farm system.

    For someone his height and weight, he is quite flexible.

    The Yankees would greatly benefit from the ability to take their time developing Soler throughout the minors.

Power Hitter

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    Scouting reports indicate that Jorge Soler is a powerful hitter with tremendous bat speed. He makes solid contact with the barrel of his bat and rarely strikes out.

    He has plus-power to his pull side and hits the ball the opposite way with his strength, as well.

    If the Yankees had the chance to work with him on his swing mechanics, they could harness his bat swing speed and increase his loft.

    His hitting is very consistent without trying to overpower the ball.

    The Yankees could easily turn Soler into a monster power hitter.

Cannon for an Arm

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    Nick Swisher has been a lot of fun to watch in New York, and he has been valuable. As much as I don't want him to leave N.Y., I don't see him wearing Yankee pinstripes for too much longer.

    Jorge Soler is a strong right fielder who can fill the void that Swisher will leave behind when that time comes.

    Soler has an incredibly strong arm with excellent velocity that allows him to be accurate on most of his throws. He grabs the ball and gets rid of it quickly, preventing extra bases and throwing out baserunners.

    The strength of his arm and the velocity with which he throws would make for some incredible highlight films, surprising runners and getting them out at home plate.

    Johnny Damon was a good fielder, but he didn't have the arm to make those plays. The Yankees need a cannon for an arm in right field.

Playing the Field

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    Many good outfielders exist in major league baseball. They all have different talents that make them good in the outfield, but Jorge Soler has a multitude of talents wrapped into one package.

    In addition to his arm strength, he has a great sense of every aspect and nuance of the game, allowing him to develop strong game instincts.

    He reads the ball very well when a batter makes contact and positions himself where he should be. He has developed a great deal of confidence in the outfield and never backs down from a challenge.

    The Yankees would benefit from a young player who has developed solid instinctive skills so early in his baseball career. With time in the minors to further refine those instincts, Soler could become unstoppable.


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    Athletes the size and weight of someone like Jorge Soler usually don't have much speed. However, Soler's speed is quite impressive, demonstrating explosive power.

    He has been clocked at 4.22 to 4.36 seconds, running from home plate to first base. He has the ability to get out of the batters box quickly after a hit and rush to first base.

    His speed to track down and chase balls in the outfield is impressive.

    One of his weaknesses, that the Yankees could work on with him, is reading pitchers more effectively when it comes to basestealing.

    He has the speed, but he hasn't developed that skill just yet. With some work, the Yankees could develop him into a basestealing threat.

Strong Future Projections

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    As Brian Cashman and the Yankees organization consider the possibility of acquiring Jorge Soler, it is important to pay attention to what professional analysts project for his future.

    His skills have generated a load of interest among numerous teams, and the buzz will continue to get stronger.

    With all of his talent that can be seen right now, it is definitely possible to project into the future. It's not always accurate, but often enough, projections are good indications of what a prospect has to offer.

    His strength and defensive skills will need to further develop in the minors. As he and the Yankees refine his skill set, it has been projected that he could hit .275-.280 and 30 home runs.

Highly Competitive

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    The Yankees want to win. They have a history of winning. They define the word competitive.

    Jorge Soler is fiercely competitive and has the skills and the knowledge of the game at such a young age.

    The Yankees have made some moves during this offseason to remain competitive and strengthen the team as a whole. Adding a young player like Soler, who has that highly-competitive edge, is exactly what New York needs and desires.

    Soler wants to win, and he plays each game intelligently. If the Yankees plant that seed in the minors, it will grow beyond what they could have imagined.

Work Ethic

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    Jorge Soler's reputation among baseball scouts is that he has a very strong work ethic. That sense of working hard is unusual in someone so young.

    The Yankees have catching prospect Gary Sanchez, who is quite talented, but over the last couple of years, he has shown some maturity issues.

    Soler is a similar age, but he seems to have a different level of maturity. He shows up and works hard, and seems to have an unassuming presence about him.

    As he develops in the minors and continues to progress, that work ethic will only strengthen. His ethic would be contagious and have a positive effect on his teammates, boosting the morale and productivity of the club.

    In addition to his work ethic, his positive performance would make him a fan favorite in New York.

Risk vs. Reward

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    As with any investment, the return is what matters, and investing in Jorge Soler is no different.

    Along with all of the positives that I've mentioned, there are risks involved.

    He's very young and is aware of the buzz that has been generated about him. Of course, he's excited about his future in MLB.

    Signing a teenager to a multimillion-dollar contract would be stressful for both sides. The Yankees would bank that money on the belief that Soler would deliver and live up to the hype.

    All information so far indicates that Soler would live up to the responsibility, but his youth and inexperience in MLB must be taken into consideration and could be risky. As good as he is, it also should be noted that he has never faced players of such an elite status like MLB.

    This is where the Yankees must decide if the risk is worth the gamble.

    After considering his skills, strength, power, speed and attitude, as well as many other factors, I believe that the potential rewards and benefits far outweigh the potential risks.

    The Yankees have the buying power, and the cost is not that high.

    Jorge Soler is worth any perceived risk.