Defected Cuban slugger Jorge Soler is expected to sign a contract sometime in the next few hours, the New York Post reported Sunday. Citing an "industry source," the report says that Soler, who defected from Cuba in 2011, will sign a four-year deal.
ESPN's Buster Olney added Sunday morning that Soler's representative was calling teams for their final bids. Olney listed the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers as the four teams to watch in the Soler bidding. The Post cited the Yankees and Cubs as the favorites to land Soler.
Just more than a week ago, the 20-year-old Soler was cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and became eligible to sign as a free agent. Soler has been compared with Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, a fellow 2011 Cuban defector that signed a four-year ,$36 million deal with the A’s in March. Some teams thought in the offseason that Soler actually had more upside than the 26-year-old Cespedes.
In its report, the Post broke down why Soler would make sense for the Yankees:
The Yankees don’t have Nick Swisher’s replacement in the system if he leaves via free agency and Soler would represent a smaller investment than chasing free agent Josh Hamilton.
Meanwhile, Chicago SportsNet reported back in March of the rumors that the Cubs and Soler had some sort of "handshake" agreement. But general manager Jed Hoyer called those rumors false.
“He’s not a free agent. The rumors that we have a deal with him are just completely bogus. I don’t know where that started, but you guys [in the media] should not run with those rumors. They’re just rumors and they have no merit.”