The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fox News Latino: Yankees Making A Push For Cuban Defector Soler

New York, NY –  After taking a back seat while other teams chased international stars such as Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes, the New York Yankees are making a strong push to land Cuban defector Jorge Soler, sources confirmed.

Teams were expected to make their final bids Sunday night for the 20-year-old outfielder, with a decision expected to come as soon as Monday. He is expected to get a four-year deal that could be worth $20 million.

It sounds like the Yankees are making a pretty strong push for Soler.  He’s probably at least two years away from being a contributor in MLB, but the Yankees certainly have a need for outfielders with Nick Swisher’s contract up after this year and Curtis Granderson’s up after 2013.  Soler’s likely to be the last international free agent that will be signed before MLB’s newly imposed limit on signing bonuses for them takes place, so the bidding could get pretty high.  The Cubs are considered the favorites from most of what I’ve read, but hopefully the Yankees snag him.

Here’s one scouting report on Soler, from Baseball Prospect Nation.

Body: Very physical (6-3, 200) with explosive strength and athleticism. Muscular but maintains flexibility and shows fast-twitch ability. Plus athlete.

Power: Arguably the highlight of his game. True plus-plus raw power to the pull side, along with the strength to drive the ball out the opposite way.

Arm: Classic right field arm. Gets rid of it quickly with plenty of velocity and good carry on all throws.

Summation:  Truly classic right field profile. Offers plus-plus raw power that has a chance to translate if the hit tool comes together. Good athlete with an impressive body. Runs well in the outfield and should be a plus defender with a plus arm. Many of the nuances of the game are in various stages of development and he will require refinement for all his tools to play at once in the US. Raw ceiling could be a .275-.280 hitter with 30 home runs in the heart of the lineup, all with very good outfield defense. 

Sounds good to me.

--Posted at 8:39 am by SG / 40 Comments | - (0)


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Sounds good, but how about the outfield prospects in the farm system? Is anyone “in the way”?

Nope. Especially not in right field. Corner outfield prospects are one of the rarest commodities in baseball right now, I think.

Mason Williams is probably the best OF prospect, and I’m guessing he’s at least two and half years away.

Williams’s Charleston teammate Tyler Austin might be better and is a corner OF, but he’s probably on the same time table.


Fox News Latino is like, an actual thing?  Learn something new each day I guess.

I’m not hearing OBP in the above.  If there’s any value of having power per se in a lineup, I’m unaware of it.

Maybe SG could run a simulation of a typical lineup vs that lineup with the same wOBA at each position but OBP maximized.

I would like them to sign Urrutia as well.  He’s more now interesting.

[7] Power is very valuable, maybe not as valuable as OBP, but it’s up there, and it’s not like the guy is Adam Dunn in the field.

Maybe SG could run a simulation of a typical lineup vs that lineup with the same wOBA at each position but OBP maximized.

This is an extreme scenario, but it’s interesting.

A lineup of nine hitters who hit .246/.293/.468 for a wOBA of .325 would score 736 runs over 5805 PA and 4104 outs made at the plate.  A lineup of nine hitters who hit .249/.357/.351 for a wOBA of .325 would score 723 runs over 6381 PA and 4104 outs made at the plate.

This doesn’t seem right to me, but it’s what the numbers say.  I’ll fudge around with different values to see if it changes.

Plate discipline is something you can learn when you are that young.

I really hope the Yankees sign that kid. Seems like a no brainer sign to me, given the new rules.

More numbers:

A .278/.323/.501(.352 wOBA) team would score 841 runs over 3942 outs vs. a .276/.391/.379 (.352 wOBA) team that would score 842 runs over 3942 outs.

A .295/.338/.567 (.382 wOBA) team would score 976 runs over 3852 outs vs. a .306/.429/.407 (.382 wOBA) team that would score 989 runs over 3852 outs.

So it seems like the higher the OBP, the more its relative value increases vs. SLG.

But yeah, having low OBP guys that can hit for power is not necessarily a bad thing.

[6] Is it like espn deportes, where they speak in english but with a spanish accent?

[13] This made me laugh inappropriately hard.

I like this.  It makes a lot of sense to make a push for Soler.

Also, [13] might be the post of the month.

[4] Austin might still be a 3B, too.  If he’s promoted to Tampa soon they may play him at 3rd.  Also, Rob Segedin (currently in Tampa) looks like he may be soon due for a promotion.  Same deal; plays 3rd but they’re also working him in the corner OF spots.  Segedin right now is a fringy prospect since he’s a little old for his level and isn’t destroying it.  But if he gets promoted to Trenton soon and finishes the year strong he could start to get on some lists. 

Probably no one else who will be ready any time soon besides those three.  And since one is a true CF (Williams) and the other two can play IF, no one will be blocking Soler.  I’d imagine if they signed Soler, offer Swisher a qualifying contract (probably should anwyay).  If he takes it, you’re covered in 2013 and have the year to evaluate Soler.  Hopefully Soler progresses quickly and is an option in 2014.  If Swisher denies try to find a RF for 2013 and get a pick.

[3] & [4] and either of those guys contributing ~2+ WAR in a season, will probably be longer.  Austin should move up to high A this year.  He’s had three months there between this season and last and hasn’t had any problem hitting the ball.  I’m not sure what his defense in RF is like though.  He’s coming from 3B.

An alternate possibility is picking up some scraps from Toronto.  They have about 30 OF prospects last I checked.  I wonder if Travis Snider could be had for cheap.  Unfortunately, he is in Toronto and the Yankees don’t have much in the way of prospects to trade.

Bubba Crosby will be our CFer.

[15] I like this.  It makes a lot of sense to make a push for Soler.

Not to split hairs, but don’t you mean it makes a lot of sense to get Soler? They are on brink of the an era where their money is substantially less relevant (even if that’s based on self imposed goals.) Go buy this guy and hope he pans out.

And since one is a true CF (Williams) and the other two can play IF, no one will be blocking Soler. 

I never thought talent acquisition below the MLB level was about specific needs at the MLB level. If Soler is great and so are Williams and Austin, just trade somebody.

[18] - Depends on the price.  If Dr. Evil is his agent and demanding 1 billion dollars, no.

[20] Um, yeah, I guess if he costs $1B, you pass. I was referring a more realistic scenario.

[21] - You don’t think it could realistically get to a level where it no longer makes sense?  What about Darvish/Dice-K money?  What about Cespedes type deal?  What if he wants a MLB contract and no arb offer after 4 years?

SG has explosive brainpower with a plus-plus math tool.

[22] When compared with the financial constraints they are about to be faced with, and considering the financial constraints that the other bidding teams actually have (because they are not the Yankees), I think that scenario isn’t very likely.

What about Darvish/Dice-K money?

Darvish and Matsuzaka played pro-ball for years before being bid on and the system is different. Not a realistic comparison.

What about Cespedes type deal?

Again, not realistic, but probably getting warmer. Cespedes is 27 and was known to be MLB ready.

I think you’re looking at a Chapman situation here, and if you have to beat other offers by 20%, you do that because your window to blow everyone away financial is closing in days, literally.

[24] Agree.

Doesn’t it matter what sort of deal he is getting? If he gets a major league deal then he takes up a spot on the 40 man, it contributes to luxury tax, and it counts against them for the luxury tax in 2014 even if he isn’t on the ML team yet. I think it makes sense for them to pay him extra to make him accept a minor league deal, right? But if it is a major league deal then the taxes and restrictions make it a lot less attractive.

Meanwhile, let us all make the appropriate sacrifices to the appropriate deities to ensure that Ivan Nova doesn’t have some sort of baserunning mishap down in Atlanta.  My solution is to order him not to swing, of course.

We didn’t need him anyway. Sherman says Cubs win-for once

Cashman not paying the price for international free agents again. He rather pay Burnett to play for the Pirates.

espn reporting 9 years/$25-$35 mil

Cubs website touting the fact that Starlin Castro is third and LaHair fourth in All-Star voting.  Yeesh.

[29] I don’t know ... the Cubs had a deal in place with before that was voided.  Sometimes its money, sometimes it’s a comfort level with a particular person in the organization, and sometimes it’s a World Wide Wes type of guy that deals in favors.

I assume 9/30 is much more than people here would want Cashman to spend on a guy of uncertain promise who’s not even MLB-ready?

Hmm, $30M means he’d have to be worth about 6 WAR in total.  Seems like a pretty safe bet to me, especially if it’s paid in a way that minimizes the hit on the salary cap.

I mean, sure he could be worth nothing, but if enough teams saw enough promise to bid for him I’m guessing that’s not likely.

It’s better to pay for that type of talent rather than to pay large contracts to average MLB players past their prime.

[35] I think that if there were no draft and teams could bid on players, the top-5 guys every year would get deals like this.

Again, not realistic, but probably getting warmer. Cespedes is 27 and was known to be MLB ready.

I don’t think this is true.  Most of what I saw thought he should in AA.

(38) Yet he’s playing at the MLB level, and playing well (with some injury issues.)

Oh and it looks like Soler got paid about what I thought he would - $30M.

But that’s not the point.  At the time most thought he wasn’t ready yet and would need to start him in the minors.  One team disagreed and bid like he was MLB ready.  Given that, the bidding went to a different level than most teams were anticipating.

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