The Cubs may have lost out on Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who agreed to sign with the Oakland Athletics on Monday, but other reports say that they are very much in the mix for one of his countrymen.
That outfielder is Jorge Soler, who is only 19 years old -- seven years younger than Cespedes -- and considered to be a five-tool prospect. Sources told MLB.com that the Cubs would be willing to spend $27.5 million on Soler, but the sources were not sure how many years that would be spread over. Soler, who is in the Dominican Republic, has not been declared a free agent yet.
The Cubs have been interested in Soler, who figures to end up as a corner outfielder, for as long as they had been tracking Cespedes. When contacted by ESPNChicago.com on Monday, Soler's agent, Barry Praver, declined to comment. Praver, who also represents Carlos Zambrano, and the new Cubs front office of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer shared a car ride on Nov. 14 from Chicago to Milwaukee to attend the general managers meetings. At that time they began to talk about Soler who was living in the Dominican Republic, waiting to become a full-time resident.
Most scouts believe Soler would start at high Class-A after signing.
Cespedes, who visited Miami last week and said he would like to sign with the team, agreed to a four-year, $36 million contract with Oakland.
The Cubs already signed a Cuban defector, 19-year-old pitcher Gerardo Concepcion, this offseason.
ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine contributed to this report.