Not So Fast on Soler … and Other Cubs News and Notes

Three days until Cubs’ pitchers and catchers officially report to Fitch Park … The Cubs organizational meetings begin Wednesday in Mesa and will conclude on Thursday. The annual meetings were pushed back from November until the week before camp opens due to all of the changes with the team. It will be a who’s who in Cubs baseball for the next two days at the Cubs’ complex at Fitch Park.

The reports Monday night and Tuesday morning from the mainstream media that indicated the Cubs had come to an agreement with Jorge Soler have been shot down.

As has been reported by the CCO, Jorge Soler must establish residency in the Dominican Republic before he can apply to MLB to become a free agent. Once he is granted free agency by Major League Baseball he can talk to teams and even negotiate a contract … but he cannot sign a contract until he receives an unblocking license from the OFAC (U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control).

Here is the update that includes more on Jorge Soler … plus, are the Cubs talking contract extension with Matt Garza?

Jorge Soler
Before getting further into Tuesday’s news surrounding Jorge Soler, the pronunciation of his last name has nothing to do with a power source but rhymes with the last name of one of the two first basemen on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, Bryan LaHair.

David Kaplan debunked the reports that the Cubs had an agreement in place with Jorge Soler. While it is difficult to follow every move made, it is safe to say that in the world we live in if Jorge Soler had established residency in the Dominican Republic it would be all over the Internet and Twitter. Soler has not established residency, which is the first step in the process of him becoming eligible to sign a contract with a Major League Baseball team.

As Baseball America pointed out, if Soler had a deal in place with the Cubs, as the Tribune reported, it would be a violation of MLB rules and without the unblocking license in place an agreement with a MLB team could also violate federal regulations.

From Baseball America: Any team that enters into agreement with a Cuban player who still needs to be unblocked would be potentially subject to an OFAC fine and, in theory, disciplinary action from MLB. The league has its own department of investigations, but whether it will look into the reported deal remains to be seen. An MLB official said the league was currently looking into whether Soler has established his residency anywhere yet.

The Cubs are considered to be one of the many teams interested in signing the 19-year old outfielder, who turns 20 in ten days (February 25). The Yankees, Phillies, Rangers and Marlins reportedly have interest … and reports from the Dominican Tuesday night indicated Alex Anthopoulos, the Blue Jays’ GM, would be in the DR to see Soler on Wednesday.

Kaplan confirmed the Cubs have been to the Dominican multiple times to see Soler and have spoken with his agent, Barry Praver, about him but the Cubs are looking for a longer term deal with Soler, according to Kaplan’s sources, than the three-four year deal that was reported Monday night.

Jorge Soler could end up signing with the Cubs and end up in their system this season … but there are steps in the process that must be followed first, regardless of what the mainstream media is reporting.

Cubs at the Cell
Multiple reports Tuesday shot down the notion that the Cubs could play their home games during the 2013 season at U.S. Cellular Field. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the team does not have a renovation plan in place yet for Wrigley Field.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on Here are the highlights:

  • According to Levine, most think Jorge Soler would have been a top five pick in last year’s draft, if he would have been eligible. The Cubs appear to be the frontrunner to sign Soler but as Levine pointed out, the Marlins were considered the frontrunner at the end to sign Yoenis Cespedes.
  • The Cubs have been working on an extension with Matt Garza, whether they can get a deal done depends on how reasonable both sides will be. The Cubs could still do a sign and trade with Garza because Theo Epstein does not give out no-trade clauses in long-term deals.
  • Levine does not see a Geovany Soto for Wade Davis deal happening right now. Levine is not convinced that Soto will not be moved at some point during the season.
  • The Cubs are building past the 2012 season and the new regime wants flexibility with “this makeshift group.” The Cubs could be busy at the trade deadline in July as a part of the process of building a championship team.
  • Marlon Byrd has been the subject of trade talks since November and Brett Jackson’s role this season might clear up a little if they are able to trade Byrd.
  • Jeff Baker is Bryan LaHair’s backup at first base right now.
  • The Cell could be an option for some of the Cubs’ home games in 2013 if the Cubs shutdown Wrigley for a season. The Cubs could possibly use Miller Park as well but the renovation to Wrigley will likely take place over three to four seasons so the Cubs can play at Wrigley.
  • If it was Levine’s decision, he would have Steve Clevenger back-up Geovany Soto when the season begins and let Welington Castillo spend the year at Triple-A Iowa
  • According to Doug Padilla, the White Sox had interest in Jorge Soler … but do not have the cash to grab him.

News and Notes
According to multiple reports, the White Sox finally signed Kosuke Fukudome. The Sox were one of the teams that went down to the wire with Fukudome four years ago before Kosuke agreed to the four-year deal with the Cubs. Fukudome signed a one-year deal with the Sox Tuesday worth $1 million … the Sox will pay Fukudome only $500,000 for the 2012 season. The contract also includes a club option for the 2013 season worth $3.5 million (with a $500,000 buyout).

For those that are curious with all of the talk surrounding the big money TV deals other teams are signing, the Cubs are locked into their current deals with WGN TV until after the 2014 season and with Comcast SportsNet until after the 2019 season.

MLB Fan Cave
Brian Pasnik, a Cubs’ fan, is one of the finalists in the MLB Fan Cave contest and is asking Cubs’ fans for their vote.

Click Here to Watch Brian Pasnik’s video and vote for him to spend the season watching all 2,430 games in the Fan Cave.

WGN Radio Contest

WGN Radio has asked the CCO to help promote their latest contest … write the official WGN Radio Cubs Song for the 2012 season. For those baseball fans that are also musicians this could end up being your bring break.

All entries must be submitted by February 29, 2012.

Click here for more information and the official rules from WGN Radio.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • Vivid_Reality

    I think holding on to Geo is the right move for now. His value has a better chance of going up than down over the season barring injury. He could net a nice package at the deadline if he has a bounceback season.

  • cubs1967

    So the Cubs don’t have a renovation plan yet for the Dump. Let’s see; Pk Ricketts and family had almost 3 yrs for the sale to be complete and are now on their 3 yr of owning the team…….6 yrs is not enough to figure it out??…..really sad and shows their incompetence.

    maybe someday… fans wil not have to urinate in troughs like farm animals!

    • Tony_Hall

      Your negative slant on anything written gets so old…

      Where does it say they don’t have a plan?

      A reporter is “speculating” where games “could” be played “IF” the Cubs have to play games elsewhere “IF” during a 3 or 4 year renovation, they “need” to play somewhere other than Wrigley.

      Just because they don’t hold press conferences to tell us all the details of everything, doesn’t mean they don’t have a plan.

    • J Daniel

      Watch the games at home and then you don’t need to worry about it

    • Anonymous47701

      Stop Comparing Tom Ricketts with PK Wrigley, it is just plain ridiculous.

      • Henry

        I agree!  P.K. Wrigley had no interest in the Cubs.  He was held to a deathbed promise to his father to never sell the Cubs.  He never had an interest in Baseball and it showed!  This helped contribute to 100+ years of futility.  
        Tom Ricketts loves baseball and would like nothing better than to see the Cubs become a consistent winner/World Series Champ!  While we may not always agree with his methods we can certainly agree that he is making an effort to move the Cubs to a spot that would make everyone on this site happy!

      • cubs1967

        let’s compare the 2:

        pk wrigley; had a history of bad teams
        pk ricketts; in 2 yrs; team has worst record each year; with very likely 3rd in a row this year

        pk wrigley offered ladies day and other day pricing specials.
        pk ricketts has offered none of those and in fact has increased tix prices since becoming owner.

        pk wrigley had a history of bad GMs
        pk ricketts took 2 yrs to remove JH

        pk wrigley did not spend on the ballpark
        pk ricketts wants public handouts in the form of freezes on entertainment taxes for 30 yrs to avoid spending his money

        pk wrigley won divisions; made the WS w/ multiple teams
        pk ricketts has NO playoff appearances

        pk wrigley introduced the urinating trough to wrigley
        pk ricketts kept the troughs during his bathroom “remodel”

        pk wrigley asked for public money to build HoHo Kam
        pk ricketts did the same to build a new HoHO Kam

        pk wrigley lowered payroll repeatedly
        pk ricketts has lowered the payroll 3 yrs running; this year by $25M

        seems to me lots of similiarities; and i’m sure lots not and pk ricketts has years to be different; but to date
        too much alike………

        • Henry

          Just for the record P.K.Wrigley took over the cubs in 1932 when his father died.  P.K. passed in 1980 or 81.  Division play started in 1969.  the cubs did not win their 1st division until 1984.  They did make a world series appearance in 1938 with leftovers from teams P.K.’s Dad ran.  they also made it to everyone’s surprise in 1945.  Those were the only 2 post season appearances P.K. presided over.  

    • joejoed

      Really don’t mind the troughs. Less wait time…

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is a list of players who have less than 5 years of service time who will have to clear waiver (out of options) to be sent to the minors (if the player doesn’t make the 25 man roster).  There are obviously many names that will make their team for sure. 

    Here are the Cubs listed:

    Marcos Mateo, Jeff Samardzija, Geovany Soto, Bryan LaHair

    Neil – What about Wells and Baker?  Any idea why they wouldn’t have been listed as well?

    • Neil

       Tony, I am not sure why Baker was not listed. He is out of options. Wells has a minor league option left but he would have to clear optional assignment waivers to be sent to the minors due to service time. With that being the case, most are looking at him being out of options because if healthy someone would pick him up or he may want to try another organization.

      Here is a link to the 40-man roster I keep that shows all minor league options, service time and salary.

      • Tony_Hall

        Makes me question how many other players they missed.   

        Use the 40 man roster page all the time, it the most complete source for all Cubs roster and player info I have seen.

        • Neil

           Thanks Tony, I know you do. Used your comment as an excuse to post a link.

          • Tony_Hall

            Kind of figured you did, was thinking the same thing as a chance to plug just how good the 40 man roster page is for information.  

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Mateo , samardizja. , Soto. ,and lahair are out of minor league options.

    • J Daniel

      Thanks for the repeat information

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        I didn’t read the comments before I posted sorry for the inconvenience.

        • J Daniel

          just being sarcastic, no big deal

      • Rational Logic

        thanks for the meaningless post.

        • John_CC

           how ironic

  • Neil

    Cubs have released RHP Robinson Lopez, who was seen as a nice prospect when he came from Atlanta in the Derrek Lee deal. 

    • Tom U

      The injury bug bit Lopez hard last season, and it ended up leaving Peoria in a lurch. 

      After a few starts, Lopez was seen as the team’s closer, and actually performed well in that role. However, his injuries forced the Chiefs to look elsewhere. It actually ended well, with the organization picking up Dan Berlind, who may have a future.

      Robinson Lopez is still young enough at 20 to catch on with another organization. Hopefully, this can be a wake-up call for him.

  • Will

    So did the cubs sign dejesus based off his past years?  They paid him $4mill more than kosuke for basically the same numbers last year.  For a fill in player i thought they could have saved a lil more money for nearly the same numbers from last year..

    • John_CC

       Yes.  Look at their respective career numbers.

  • John_CC

    O Know! You mean to tell me that the speculative rumors about an international baseball player spread via Twitter weren’t true?

    I don’t know what to believe and not believe anymore!!

  • Neil

    Ramon Ortiz signed a minor league deal with the Giants

  • paulcatanese

    As Shakespere would say,”Much ado about nothing”.

  • Anthony

    Well, it seems nobody can get the weight of Soler accurately, reported anywhere from 195 to 225, but as I mentioned before, not a CF, and Rosenthal mentions “slated for 1B” soon enough, so that eliminates one of the 5 tools, speed(or lack thereof).

    Soler played lots of LF for the Cuban JNT, and if his reported weight is 225, the 1B makes sense in the long run.

    Some have reported the typical hole in the swing, lots of K’s, and currently struggles with Uncle Charlie, which is expected for someone 20 years old who is pull happy, so as of now, make that 3 tools as the hit tool hasn’t gotten rave reviews yet.

    If he already outgrew the outfield and is relegated to 1B, then the defense can be construed as average at best in the outfield since his frame can make him sedentary.

    A power hitting first baseman. Don’t the Cubs have a few of them already in the system?

    “Soler does not run as well as Stanton, however, and ultimately could end up at first base.”

    When you look at the sole internet picture, he already looks 225, if not more.

    • joejoed

      The Cubs organization has more information on Soler than us AND Ken Rosenthal, who’s wrong as often as he’s right. 

      They went and watched him multiple times, so if they think he projects for LF/1B, that’s part of their rationale. 

      Also, he’s 20 years old, almost…

    • cc002600

      If this guy is such a bust, according to you, then why the heck are there so many teams drooling over this guy ?  The cubs are not the only team that wants this guy.

      Gee, there must be a ton of really dumb scouts out there, if we go by your assessment.

      Can you explain that ?????