Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Soler on the Phillies' radar

Add Jorge Soler to the list of free-agent outfielders drawing the Phillies' interest.

Soler on the Phillies' radar

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Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has shown some interest in international players this offseason. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has shown some interest in international players this offseason. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

Add Jorge Soler to the list of free-agent outfielders drawing the Phillies' interest.

If you're not familiar with Soler, don't feel bad. There's no chance the Cuban-defector will be roaming the outfield in Citizens Bank Park next season.

There is a chance, however, that he could end up being in a Phillies uniform some day.

While most of the attention this offseason has gone to Cuban defector Yoennis Cespedes, a 26-year-old outfielder whose chiseled body was on display during a freakishly impressive workout that briefly circulated on YouTube, Soler has also quietly drawn interest from quite a few big-league teams, including the Phillies.

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Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever was extremely impressed by Soler during a recent workout at the team's Dominican Republic training facility. Cespedes, considered to be a major-league ready player, also took part in that workout.

Soler, 19, is not considered major-league ready and the price tag will not be nearly as high for him as it is for Cespedes. It still figures to be substantial, however, and the Phillies have almost never been a team that gets in bidding wars for international players.

Of course, the Phillies never used to have the highest payroll in the National League either, so the landscape has obviously changed in a lot of ways in recent years.

There have been reports that the Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers are also interested in Soler. Given the fact that the Phillies have traded away so many minor-league prospects in recent years and are in serious need of some position-player prospects, Soler could be worth the high-risk, high-reward gamble that accompanies a huge signing bonus for any young player.

 



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