Update, 4:21 pm: Ruben Amaro told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the interest in Soler is very real.
Amaro told the Inky, “Our scouts have seen him and we like him. It may come down to where he wants to play and, of course, the money.”
Bob Brookover writes that whoever signs the young outfielder will have to stash him for a while. Are you willing to spend in upwards of $20 million on a guy who might not be here for at least one year?
Thursday 8:14 am: On Wednesday, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweeted that the Phillies had interest in Cuban standout Jorge Soler. On Thursday night, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reiterated that, saying the Phillies and Yankees were “in hardest” on Soler.
CSNChicago.com also reported that the Phillies were hot on the trail of the 19-year-old outfielder. The Cubs were said to have offered Soler a four-year, $27.5 million deal, but the team called that “ludicrous.”
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus ranks Soler as the 39th overall prospect in baseball.
That supposed $27 million deal is interesting. In the past, the Phillies have shown a reluctance to get involved in high-prices, foreign talent. Perhaps it was because of their own spending limitations. However, if that dollar amount is anywhere near a ballpark figure, the Phillies are truly out of their league and are stepping into unknown territory, both from a team aspect and regarding the player.
While I’m all for the Phillies spending some money to lure talent from outside the U.S., this would stand as a ballsy move. You’d be shelling millions out to an relative unknown who hasn’t even reached a legal drinking age (we think). That puts pressure on the kid to play at a high level now and puts pressure on the team to get as much out of him over the life of that enormous deal as possible. That could be playing with fire.