Cubs turn attention back to Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com June 6, 2012 7:55PM
Updated: June 6, 2012 7:56PM
MILWAUKEE — On the day the Cubs concluded the three-day draft, they also turned their sights back to touted Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler, who worked out for many teams — including the Cubs — on Wednesday.
“We’ve obviously scouted him extensively. A lot of teams have,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “We had a similar situation with [Yoenis] Cesepedes this winter. It’ll be intriguing. But certainly we’ve done our work on him.”
Sources said in November that the Cubs targeted Soler, 20, more than Cespedes, who eventually signed a four-year deal with the Oakland Athletics for the same $36 million the Cubs were offering over six years.
Soler, a Cuban defector who became an eligible free agent this month, has until July 2 to sign a deal before baseball’s new restrictions on international free-agent signings take effect.
“Judging from all the information we’ve gathered and articles I’ve read, I think [the field of interested teams] is very wide,” Hoyer said. “It’s not surprising. He’s really talented. And there is that July 2 uniqueness that adds to it.”
Meanwhile, the Cubs finished off a pitching-heavy draft Wednesday. They used 22 of their 42 picks on pitchers, including 13 of their first 19.
“It went about according to plan as far as we talked about adding pitching depth to the system,” Hoyer said. “We really pounded away on pitching after we took [center fielder Albert] Almora with the first pick.
“I think a lot of teams feel good about their draft today. Everyone had a good draft, and we’ll find out in five years if we were right.”