Cubs win! Or, at least get Cuban prospect Jorge Soler
BY RICK MORRISSEY Twitter: @MorrisseyCST June 11, 2012 2:55PM
Updated: June 12, 2012 9:05AM
The words “Cubs win” don’t exactly roll off the tongue, do they?
But those two words are bouncing around Chicago on an off day in an otherwise forgetful season. The Cubs reportedly won a bidding war for 20-year-old Jorge Soler, a hard-hitting outfielder with what we’re told is a bright future. They reportedly gave the Cuban defector a nine-year, $30 million contract.
So, yeah, a little light in the dreariness for a fan base forced to watch a team chasing a franchise record for losses in a season. Scouts say Soler can run, throw, field, hit for average and hit for power. Now is not the time to say that Cubs scouts said similar things about Felix Pie, whose five-tool abilities are on display with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate.
We finally have some real evidence that Theo Epstein is hard at work with the overhaul of this franchise. The recent draft was nice, but no one is ever sure how baseball prospects will fare. It might be the most inexact of all inexact sciences.
So here comes Soler. What do we know about him? Not much. He’s raw. It’s probably going to take a few years for him to make it to the big leagues, even if his talent matches the Cubs’ opinion of it. But look for him to start in Single-A.
In a way, I feel sorry for the kid. You know what’s going to happen. If star minor-leaguer Anthony Rizzo already is feeling the loving gaze of thousands of impatient Cubs fans, imagine what Soler will go through. How long before the faithful start wearing ”Soler Powered” T-shirts in anticipation of his imminent (they hope) promotion from the minor leagues?
This season has made it clear that not only do the Cubs have a long way to go, but that they’ll have to be creative to make up ground. The big-league club is a mess, with three or four players in the lineup who shouldn’t be starters. Epstein has begun the arduous job of building up a minor-league system that is behind the times.
But Monday was a start. The Cubs won.