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Cubs sign Cuban OF Jorge Soler for nine years, $30 million

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer
Cuban free agent outfielder Jorge Soler has signed a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Chicago Cubs, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has learned.

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Soler, 20, is a bit of an unknown entity, as are all Cubans upon first defecting. He is said to be a 6-foot-3, 205-pound right fielder, who could also play center, with "explosive bat speed and power potential," according to Baseball America -- which compared him to Royals prospect Bubba Starling and noted Soler may have been a top-five pick in last year's draft. Baseball Prospectus noted in the preseason that Soler would have been the 39th-ranked prospect in baseball, had he been signed prior to when the list was made.

We don't have to go back far at all to see a recent Cuban import play outfield. Yoenis Cespedes signed with the A's in the offseason. He's hitting .275/.338/.489 with six homers, 26 RBI, eight doubles and four steals in 35 games so far.

Soler, however, isn't as big-league ready as Cespedes was, according to those in the know. Scouting outlets all seem to agree Soler will need at least two years of minor-league seasoning before hitting the majors.

In that light, he makes a lot of sense for the Cubs. They are clearly in the middle of a full-on rebuild, looking to compete a few years down the road. The nine-year contract shows the Cubs are looking far into the future. It appears the Cubs' offensive core of the future will be Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson and Jorge Soler -- if things go as planned for Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer et al.

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