With the signing of Cuban sensation Jorge Soler on Monday, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have, in a small way, expedited the rebuilding process by acquiring a young player with huge upside without having to give up anything more than money.
Think of it this way: it is similar to how contending teams use free agency to add that final piece to the championship puzzle by going out and buying talent. That's essentially what the Cubs have done, although there is certainly no championship coming near-term for this team.
But if the Cubs are going to stick to the plan to build a consistent winner, using the international market certainly makes a lot of sense, though rules changes will make this much harder going forward.
The international market is how the Cubs found Starlin Castro and with Soler, they are taking advantage before the CBA changes the international free agency signing pool in July.
I haven't seen Soler play, other than video highlights. But ESPN's Keith Law opines that Soler would be equal to a top five pick in the draft.
At this point, everything the Cubs do should be about building for the future. And through the draft, and by signing Soler, the Cubs are inching closer to that future vision taking shape.
Don't get me wrong—Soler is still a few years away, and the lack of starting pitching in the Cubs system is a concern. But after drafting Albert Almora with the first pick in this month's draft, Jason McLeod took a lot of pitching.
Meanwhile, don't expect the Cubs to sign any pricey free agents. Their plan is to continue to build through the draft and by trading assets for multiple prospects.
So right now, assuming they all work out well (a big assumption of course), the Cubs have a first baseman, two shortstops (Javier Baez and Castro), and three outfielders in their system who can contribute for a long time. They still need a catcher, second or third baseman (Baez or Castro?), and pitching.
But the signing of Soler was a big step in the right direction.
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