Soler stirring interest among Phils, others

Posted: February 17, 2012

CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies are definitely serious players in the Jorge Soler sweepstakes.

"Our scouts have seen him, and we like him," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Thursday. "It may come down to where he wants to play and, of course, the money."

Exactly what it's going to take to sign the 19-year-old Cuban defector outfielder remains a mystery that cannot be solved until he actually is declared a free agent. All kinds of rumors have circulated about Soler's price tag. Earlier this week, an incorrect report surfaced that the Chicago Cubs were on the verge of signing Soler to a $27.5 million deal.

A baseball source said there is no way to know for sure when Soler will even become a free agent. There have been reports that the New York Yankees also are seriously pursuing Soler. The baseball source said the Phillies have remained in close contact with Soler and his agents since he defected.

The source said he believes that whenever Soler is declared a free agent, every team - including the Phillies - will be aware of the offers being made by each team.

The Phillies' interest in Soler makes sense, because the farm system's biggest weakness is in quality position players. The system has been depleted in recent years because of trades that have sent some of the team's best minor-league prospects elsewhere for players such as Joe Blanton, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Hunter Pence.

At 19, Soler likely will spend considerable time in the minor leagues regardless of which team signs him.


Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at bbrookover@phillynews.com or @brookob on Twitter.

 

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