Cuban outfielder update
The Cubs are apparently no longer in on Cespedes, according to Joe Frisaro. He and KG have heard from sources that the Cubs are making a "big, big push" for 19-year old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. According to Frisaro the Cubs are willing to spend $27.5m, though it is unknown over how many years.
Here's BA's report of Soler from a month or so ago, helpfully linked by Pezcore:
He's a 19-year-old athlete with five-tool potential. 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.
As for the 2012 Top 100 Prospects list, Soler is somewhat similar to Royals outfielder Bubba Starling, the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft. Starling has the advantages of being more athletic and a better bet to stay in center field. I'd see both of them sitting in the 11-20 range on our next Top 100.
Soler is four years younger and more talented than Leonys Martin, another Cuban outfielder who signed a $15.6 million major league contract with the Rangers in April. Once Soler is cleared to sign with a major league team, he's expected to top Martin's deal.
News in Z
Per Buster Olney, apparently Z has been clocked at 94-95 mph this winter. No word on whether he is in the best shape of his life, or whether that 95 mph reading came while Z was driving his car.
Is there a Cubs game today?
Player I wish was around to give quotes to spice up this eventless season.
Gronkowski is a grown man who’s allowed to do whatever he feels like doing. Just because you’re grieving as a New England fan, doesn’t mean all the players should be sitting in a hotel conference room alternating between crying and devising a plan to get Tim Tebow and his super magic in a trade.
The hats: Really scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but I think this is the most common complaint. MLB issues these spring training hats that are pretty universally hated. They usually have a silly line(s) on them so they’re different from the regular season hats, and the material feels like a wet dish rag if you sweat in them (which you will). Every day that you put them on, you get the same sad feeling Ralphie got in A Christmas Story when he’s wearing the footed pajamas.
(h/t to Mish and Tango)
Xanatos Gambit of the weekend
I seriously am half-wondering if Thoyer signed him [Concepcion] on behalf of some Japanese team or something who has a trade chip they’re after, thus rendering the MLB options and everything meaningless. That rule 5 thing they did flipping some random to the Monterrey Sultanas was so weird that I keep thinking that some equal and opposite weird thing is going to have to happen later that will make sense of it.
Has the Theo compensation been decided yet?
Speaking of The Simpsons
Apparently the Grammy awards were last night. I've never been a big fan of awards events but The Simpsons long ago cemented my opinion as to the relative worth of the Grammys.