A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has been the exception when it comes… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)
When you’ve been through several years of watching the Dodgers stand impotently on the sidelines while other teams made impact free-agent signings, significant trades without priority placed on incoming salary and aggressively pursued international players, encouragement is not hard to come by.
So it is today that fans of the Dodgers can take some solace in knowing they are apparently in on signing Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler.
Which is not to say they will win this bidding war, but at least they’re in the running, which is light years away from where they would have been if still owned by Frank McCourt.
I can’t even promise you signing the highly regarded Soler would be a stupendous thing, given the mixed results of Cuban defectors in the majors. He’s just turned 20, but many believe he would have been a top 10 pick if he’d been in the recent June draft.
He’s not at the level of Cuban Yoenis Cespedes, at least not yet, and Cespedes signed a reported four-year deal with the A’s for $36 million in the off-season. Cespedes is currently hitting .275 with the A’s with six homers and 26 RBI.
Baseball’s new collective-bargaining agreement, which puts a $2.9-million limit on international signings, goes into effect July 1, so Soler’s timing is fortuitous. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman has estimates of Soler signing a four-year deal anywhere from $20 million to in excess of Cespedes' contract.
Regardless, it’s going to take a lot of money, the kind of waters McCourt never delved into. Final bids are reportedly due tonight, and he could make a decision by Monday. Heyman said 10 teams have shown interest in Soler, although ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the most active teams have been the favored Cubs, Yankees, Braves and Dodgers.
If nothing else, the Dodgers are in the game. And after the past few years, that’s progress.
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