CHICAGO -- Reading between the lines of the Chicago Cubs' most recent roster move, it’s clear that a new arrival is set to embark on his Cubs career.
Although the Cubs have not made it official, the fact that they designated Randy Wells for assignment Wednesday instead of optioning him to Triple-A Iowa means they are opening up a spot on the 40-man roster.
The Cubs recalled Rafael Dolis to take Wells’ spot on the major league roster, but he was already on the 40-man.
Jorge Soler is expected to take that open 40-man roster spot, with his official signing set to come as soon as late Wednesday or at least by the weekend. Soler has already agreed in principle to a nine-year, $30 million contract, but he has yet to sign the agreement in person.
The unfinished deal is running alarmingly close to a deadline that could cost the Soler camp some $27 million. According to the new collective bargaining agreement, any international signings finalized after July 2 can be for a maximum of $2.9 million.
Before Soler can complete the deal, he must finalize the specifics of his work visa. Then, he must arrive in the Unites States and sign the contract after routine physical exams are complete.
Where the 20-year-old Cuba native begins his Cubs career is another question. The outfielder is expected to begin play at a level below Triple-A, and the expectation is that he will get at least two years of minor league experience before he plays in the major leagues.
When he does arrive in the majors, he is expected to join the core of players the Cubs are trying to build around. That core includes shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who made his Cubs debut Tuesday.