During the offseason, we continually heard about three international players that teams really wanted to get their hands on: Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish and Jorge Soler.
Cespedes and Darvish were both signed, but teams were unable to sign Soler until he was declared a free agent.
It's been a long time coming, but the 20-year-old outfielder was declared a free agent this morning, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Soler's agent still needs to produce some documents before a team can legally sign the talented outfielder to a contract, but you'd have to think that those are forthcoming.
In December, Baseball America's Jim Callis predicted that, if Soler signed with a team in 2012, he'd be ranked as a top-20 prospect heading into the 2013 season. In the same piece, Callis gives us a quick scouting report:
Six-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Soler has explosive bat speed and power potential. He also has plus speed and arm strength and profiles as a classic right fielder, though he runs well enough to play center. Because of his youth, he'll need some time to develop, but he should be worth the wait.
The rules regarding international signings in the new CBA don't kick in until July 2, but Soler's agent, Barry Praver, isn't planning on allowing the circus that will surround his client go on for long. According to Kevin Goldstein of BaseballProspectus.com, Praver has requested that all teams have their offers submitted to him no later than June 7—that's Thursday.
I expect Soler to eventually sign for somewhere between Dayan Viciedo's four-year, $10 million deal with the White Sox and Cespedes' four-year, $36 million deal with the Oakland A's, with the final deal closer to the Cespedes end of the spectrum.
Whichever team winds up signing Soler, it will have acquired a potential game-changer who would have been a top-five pick were he eligible for this year's draft.