Jorge Soler Coming to the Chicago Cubs a Sign That Things Are Changing
Ken Rosenthal reported earlier today on FoxSports.com that Soler has decided to bring his wares to the Cubs with a nine-year, $30 million contract, and that's even more good news. Before the signing, word was coming out that it would likely be no longer than a four-year contract.
With Soler probably starting in the low minors, it's going to take him at least a few years to get to the big club. This contract allows them to bring him along gradually instead of rushing him up to validate the signing.
As for the money, it doesn't matter how much he received. It only matters that the Cubs won. Soler is the last big-name player in the international market where you could go around the new boundaries MLB set in an attempt to level the playing field for everyone.
While the agreement accomplishes that, it takes away an advantage the Cubs were expecting to exploit with Theo Epstein in charge. He was able to utilize it to the Red Sox' advantage in Boston, but the Cubs got their legs cut out from them shortly after he came on-board, so this was an important signing for the team.
Soler and first-round pick Albert Almora (assuming he signs) give the Cubs a solid-looking outfield down the line.
With Anthony Rizzo on the horizon and Brett Jackson not too far behind (assuming he can find his stroke), you can kind of see how things are shaping up. Then you add in first-round infielder Javier Baez from last year's draft, Dillon Maples and some of the other draftees with an upside, and suddenly, the future doesn't seem quite as dim as the present.
Even former first-round pick Josh Vitters is starting to stroke the ball.
Add in next year's first-round pick, which could be No. 1, along with prospects the Cubs get in the likely trade of Ryan Dempster and possibly Matt Garza, and you're starting to look at one of the best farm systems in baseball.
Of course, prospects are just prospects. You know they're not all going to pan out. It's even possible Soler won't turn into the $30-million man the Cubs are hoping for, but you can finally see the plan starting to take shape.
Getting the talent is the first step, but developing it is the key. That was the downfall of the Jim Hendry regime, along with most others through the years for the Cubs.
You would always hear names like Brooks Kieschnick, Corey Patterson and Felix Pie. They were going to be the next big thing.
Instead, they would end up the next failed prospect in a litany of failed prospects.
Soler is said to be a five-tool player with a big power bat, a strong arm and a hole in his swing. Hopefully with the right coaching, they can emphasize the positive and overcome the shortcomings.
This signing is all about hope. That's all Cubs fans have had to hold on to for so many years. It's always "Wait Until Next Year."
Now the possibility exists there might someday be a "Next Year."
As astronaut Neil Armstrong said after becoming the first man to walk on the moon, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Think of this move that way.
With how poorly the Cubs have been playing this year, doesn't it feel good to finally win something?
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