Dodgers @ Rockies June 2, 2012: Aaron Harang, Juan Nicasio… Jorge Soler?

Hey, I know there’s a righty on the mound, but any time you can take the opportunity to sit six of the ten hits you got yesterday, you have to go ahead and do it, right? I’m somewhat kidding, because James Loney always plays well in Coors Field and Bobby Abreu has been fine; as usual, it’s just seeing Adam Kennedy in the middle of a lineup which has been struggling that burns me more than anything. Still, this serves as a reminder that the left field group is becoming hilariously overcrowded, a problem which is only going to be exacerbated when we get the (unwelcomed, to me, anyway) return of Juan Rivera in the next few days. If you don’t trust Alex Castellanos to play second base yet, you can’t only play him against lefty pitching in left field, right? That doesn’t help anyone.

Anyway, turning to something far more big picture – and let me be clear here that what follows is nothing more than my own stream-of-consciousness – 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler has finally been declared a free agent today. This is notable because on July 2, the sections of the new collective bargaining agreement concerning international spending kick in, which greatly restricts the amount of money teams can throw at worldwide players who aren’t draft eligible. That means that Soler is almost certainly going to be the final beneficiary of bidding wars like we’ve seen in the past for Cubans such as Aroldis Chapman, Leonys Martin, & Yoenis Cespedes.

Soler’s status has been uncertain for months until today, with at least a dozen teams being linked in rumors and a story actually coming out in February that the Cubs had signed him. That turned out to be untrue, obviously (since it wasn’t even legally possible at the time), but at no point have we ever heard the Dodgers involved. Of course, those were the Frank McCourt Dodgers – the ones with a shameful record of international spending – and these are the Guggenheim Dodgers, the ones led by Stan Kasten, who has been clear about his intentions to find talent by all means possible.

As teams gear up to spend before restrictions are in place, Soler could potentially get a deal in the $40m range, an enormous sum for a 20-year-old who most have never seen in game action before. Still, the reports are glowing:

Jim Callis, Baseball America:

Six-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Soler has explosive bat speed and power potential. He also has plus speed and arm strength and profiles as a classic right fielder, though he runs well enough to play center. Because of his youth, he’ll need some time to develop, but he should be worth the wait.

Kevin Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus:

Protypical RF package with plenty of athleticism and raw power. If he was an American high school kid entering the 2012 draft, he’d be a single-digit pick.

Again, there’s no link between the Dodgers & Soler, and if they even get involved the chances of them winning out among so many bidders are minute. Still, for an organization lacking in top-end offensive potential, adding a player like that to the system would be fantastic.

Dodgers
Rockies
CF
Gwynn
CF
Fowler
3B
Herrera
SS
Scutaro
LF
Abreu
LF
Gonzalez
RF
Ethier
1B
Cuddyer
2B
Kennedy
RF
Colvin
1B
Loney
3B
Nelson
C
Ellis
C
Nieves
SS
Gordon
2B
LeMahieu
P
Harang
P
Nicasio

 

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