Jorge Soler: Last-Second Odds of Every Bidder Landing the Cuban Star
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Cuban free-agent outfielder Jorge Soler is expected to make a decision on which team to sign with sometime later on Monday.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, final bids for the slugger were expected to be completed on Sunday, with a decision to come within the next 24 to 36 hours.
Speculation is running rampant as to which team might have the edge in signing Soler, and there has certainly been no shortage of suitors. Heyman connected at least nine teams to Soler; however, there could be more.
Here are the odds of each known team looking to add Soler to their roster.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Zero Percent
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The Los Angeles Dodgers are now a team with very deep pockets, and with signature stars Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw likely ready to lead the team into the future, that future could also include Cuban outfield sensation Jorge Soler.
The Dodgers have yet to make a decision on whether or not to re-sign Andre Ethier, and left field has been somewhat of a black hole in recent years. Adding Soler to the mix could go a long way toward restructuring the outfield and adding another power bat in the future to support Kemp.
However, this just in: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that the Dodgers are out of the running are no longer engaged.
Jorge Soler is going somewhere, but not to L.A. Dodgers are no longer engaged. Cubs, Yanks, Jays (per @JonHeymanCBS), mystery team?— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) June 11, 2012
Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Percent
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The Philadelphia Phillies have a couple of high-profile players that need to be re-signed, including center fielder Shane Victorino.
While it's likely they're very interested in Soler, I'm not convinced they'll throw out an offer that compromises what they need to do to sign their current stars at this point.
Boston Red Sox: 6 Percent
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The Boston Red Sox have a couple of outfielders in the fold (Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford) who are working their way back from injuries, and once fully healthy, they will be able to provide an instant upgrade to a Red Sox outfield that has been patched together since early April.
Adding Jorge Soler would be a nice get for the Sox, and an outfield consisting of Ellsbury, Crawford and Soler would certainly look formidable in the future. However, much like the Phillies, I'm not convinced that the Red Sox are ready to throw huge money Soler's way.
Pittsburgh Pirates: 6 Percent
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I don't think there is any question that the Pittsburgh Pirates would absolutely love to add Jorge Soler to their outfield mix along with current center fielder Andrew McCutchen.
If Soler hits half as well as everyone thinks, he would be an instant upgrade over who the Pirates currently have in the outfield.
However, Soler likely isn't ready for the majors, and he may not be for a while. The Pirates also have top prospect Starling Marte waiting in the wings as well.
Baltimore Orioles: 8 Percent
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The Baltimore Orioles have been quietly lurking in the background in terms of teams looking to sign Jorge Soler, with no current rumors that strongly tie them to the bidding process.
However, new GM Dan Duquette is a strong evaluator of international talent, and there should be no doubt whatsoever that the O's are likely in the mix.
Atlanta Braves: 8 Percent
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Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn is playing for a new contract, and with the way he is playing right now (.320 average, 16 stolen bases), that figures to be a pretty hefty new deal.
The Braves will no doubt be interested in signing Bourn, but they could also be looking to add Soler to the mix, especially if they lose out on signing Bourn to an extension.
Toronto Blue Jays: 17 Percent
Photo courtesy chicagotribune.com
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Toronto Blue Jays are still major players in the Jorge Soler sweepstakes.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) June 11, 2012
While I agree with Heyman that the Jays have some interesting corner outfield prospects, Soler's potential could be even greater than the players currently in the Jays' system.
New York Yankees: 20 Percent
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The New York Yankees have some interesting decisions of their own concerning free agents, including right fielder Nick Swisher.
Jorge Soler certainly represents the future for any team that signs him, and the Yankees seem to be looking toward the future and considering offering Soler what he apparently wants, which has been reported to be somewhere in the vicinity of four years and $25 to 35 million.
Rumors have swirled that the Yankees are very interested, but so are several teams who view Soler as a type of player to build around. But the Yankees do have the deep pockets.
Chicago Cubs: 30 Percent
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The Chicago Cubs and their new management team of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are clear in their direction for the Cubs: build through the draft and make prudent signings that make sense. For them, signing Jorge Soler makes sense.
With Alfonso Soriano likely gone sometime soon along with his albatross of a contract, Soler represents the future in Chicago. If the Cubs are successful in signing him, it represents a huge splash for Epstein as he tries to remake a team that has known nothing but losing for 103-plus seasons.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.