Jorge Soler: 10 Bold Predictions for Cuban Star's Cubs Career
After months of speculation, it appears that Jorge Soler is on the verge of officially inking a nine-year, $30 million deal, according to Comcast Sports Net.
This marks the first major signing in the Theo Epstein era, providing monstrous expectations for the 20-year-old.
With that said, what is there to realistically expect for the Cuban's Cubs career?
Here are 10 bold predictions for the Cuban outfielder's Cubs career.
He Won't Be in the Majors in the Next Five Years
When Bryce Harper was drafted, some thought he could've started in right field the next day.
That isn't the case for Soler.
Soler is much more of a project. Despite being pegged as a top five talent by ESPN's Keith Law, he will take much longer than the average early draft pick.
The league Soler is coming from is worse talent-wise than that of Low-A ball. The competition he's faced isn't close to what he will soon see.
He's going to have to dominate the lower levels before his time comes in the majors, and that will take longer than expected.
He Will Carry More Pressure Than Albert Almora
Albert Almora will carry the prize as Epstein's first Chicago Cubs draft pick, while Soler is the first major signing.
Epstein passed at signing big names in his first season such as Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and CJ Wilson, but he couldn't pass on a bidding war with the New York Yankees for Soler.
That's a lot to live up to.
Almora is one of a group of draft picks, but Soler is alone in free-agent signings at the moment. If he doesn't pan out, doubt may creep in on the Epstein regime and its eye for talent.
He Will Set the Barometer for the Epstein Era
Epstein's recent run of signings haven't worked out, as I'm sure Boston Red Sox fans will be the first to mention.
Carl Crawford and John Lackey were seen as busts early on. That's a lot of money to commit to nothing.
The same could be said for Soler. If Soler fails to perform, the pressure on Epstein heats up hotter than ever, perhaps making it harder for the President of Baseball Operations to walk across Lake Michigan.
The draft is one thing, but spending millions of dollars on players who couldn't perform lately is what sent Jim Hendry packing, despite the many favorable things he did during his tenure.
Epstein has time, but if Soler doesn't pan out, the sun may set before night for Epstein.
He Will Put the Heat on Brett Jackson
With Anthony Rizzo now presumably up for good, Brett Jackson moves into the No. 1 prospect spot previously held by Rizzo.
Almora has a spot, and I expect Matt Szczur to hold one as well. But if Jackson's struggles mount in the big leagues as they are in Triple-A, then he will be the odd man out, and just another dartboard in a bitter fan's basement as another Cubs outfielder who never made it. (See Patterson, Corey or Pie, Felix among many others.)
Jackson will have time to establish himself, but if Soler comes around sooner rather than later, he'll be nipping at Jackson's heels.
He Will Open Up a Direct Line to Cuban Defectors
The Cubs missed Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes, but landed lefty pitcher Gerardo Concepcion along with Soler.
The addition of the two, specifically Soler, will only positively impact the recruiting of future Cuban prospects.
As the Cubs continue to build Cuban relationships with players, word can spread about the organization in, hopefully positive, ways that will affect the decisions of future defectors.
With the new CBA limiting spending, money will no longer be the biggest factor in where a Cuban signs. Instead, it will be his feel for the situation along with what he hears from his fellow countrymen.
His Signing Starts a Free-Agent War with the New York Yankees
When a top-tier free agent hits the market, there's always one team involved, regardless of the player.
The New York Yankees.
Add a bleepin' or two in there if you wish, the "Evil Empire" is at the top of the mountain when it comes to reeling in the top players.
For a brief moment, the Yankees took a step, even just a small one, backwards as the Cubs snatched Soler from New York.
This marks the beginning of what should amount to quite the competition in the future between the two for major names down the road. With Epstein already having ties competing with New York, hopefully Soler isn't the biggest name the Cubs take away from the Yankees.
He Will Never Make an All-Star Team
I might be in the minority, but I don't see Soler making an All-Star team in his Cubs career.
For one, I'm not sure what exactly he will amount to. Does he have the potential to be there every year? Probably. But I'm just not buying that he will get there.
He's too young and inexperienced with so few people outside of the front office having any idea of what he has to bring.
This is without mentioning Bryce Harper, who surely has a permanent lock on a spot for the next 10+ years. And with Almora, Soler might not even be the best outfielder on his own team.
Soler may cash in on a bigger deal after this one, and perhaps make an All-Star game then. But it won't be in a Cubs uniform.
But hand a 20-year-old $30 million, and I imagine that work ethic seems like less of a priority. (But just in case, someone give me $30 million and I'll let you know if it does or not.)
He Won't Play More Than His Nine-Year Deal with the Cubs
One contract that most Cubs fans wish wasn't lived out was that of Alfonso Soriano.
He won't see a new deal from the Cubs, and neither will Soler.
Soler will either reach his potential and likely test free agency where someone will overpay for the outfielder. Or he will be a bust and give the Cubs no reason for the Cubs to resign him.
Yes, Epstein has shown the willingness to overpay for his man, but hopefully the Cubs will have plenty in the tank to replace him with. The plan, after all, is to reload through the draft and not overspending in free agency.
He Won't Be the Five-Tool Player as Projected
Ryan Braun may be the premier five-tool player in baseball at the moment.
Soler is projected to be one as well, but he better develop a sixth, because don't expect speed to be one of them.
Soler is a lanky 6'3'' 180 pounds dripping wet. With a proper diet and weightlifting program, as well as naturally (hopefully) growing into his frame, the added development will likely hinder his speed.
But if such is the case, there will be no issue in trading power for speed. As long as the power is consistently there.
PS. Feel free to add any Ryan Braun jokes you'd like in the comment section. I'm sure we could all use a good laugh.
He Will Prove to Be a Bust
There are just far too many unknowns about this young kid from Cuba. I've heard the word "potential" enough to understand what it means. And that's virtually nothing.
Potential is a nice way of saying that he isn't good. Maybe he will be one day. Maybe he won't.
I'm leaning towards the latter.