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Initial bids for Soler must be in Thursday; Yanks one of many teams in mix

Cuban star outfielder Jorge Soler's representatives have asked interested teams to submit intial bids by Thursday, and the Yankees are known to be one of many interested teams in the mix for the young power hitter.

The agents, Praver Shapiro Sports Management, aren't tipping their hand about interest for the player seen as a prototypical big-hitting, big-armed right fielder. But one team executive, in answer to a question about which teams may have interest, responded with a brief but telling response, "I assume everyone.''

Soler's greatest strength is seen as his hitting power. But his real power may come in his timing.

International players who sign before July 1 won't count toward the new $2.9 million annual bonus limit. So it's obvious Soler, who was rumored months ago to be going to the Cubs (who are still perceived as a favorite based on time spent scouting Soler), will have a team before July. And for a lot more than $2.9 million.

Soler has been compared to Yoenis Cespedes, who received a $36-million, four-year deal from the A's, although Soler just turned 20 and is thought to be a couple years from major-league play. One executive guessed that Soler would top $20 million but might have trouble beating Cespedes' take -- although that timing of his can't hurt.

International phenoms have delivered lately, as well, and that could be another plus for Soler. Cespedes looks like he has special talent, and Yu Darvish and Aroldis Chapman certainly do.

Beyond the Yankees and Cubs, many other teams have been tied to Soler, including the Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Pirates, Marlins and more. The number of teams that seek power is extensive.

But the real power comes from the calendar. Soler is the last major international player who will be able to flex his muscle and leverage into a big-bucks deal.
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