Soler Should be First of the Core 4 to the Majors (UPDATE: WILL be)

Soler Should be First of the Core 4 to the Majors (UPDATE: WILL be)

None of the Core Four's stock has taken as big of a hit as Jorge Soler. Albert Almora and Javier Baez have both underperformed so far this year, but by being able to stay on the field the dubious honor belongs to Jorge Soler. Jason Parks probably had the best lines recently to characterize Soler's slide out of the Core Four as Alcantara and Schwarber are threaten to move into that group.

 


None of the Core Four's stock has taken as big of a hit as Jorge Soler. Albert Almora and Javier Baez have both underperformed so far this year, but by being able to stay on the field the dubious honor belongs to Jorge Soler. Jason Parks probably had the best lines recently to characterize Soler's slide out of the Core Four as Alcantara and Schwarber are threaten to move into that group.


The biggest question with Soler is health, but there are some that question his abilities as well. I am not certain what those people have seen, but I don't have enough to directly contradict them either. Soler's performance has been stellar when he has played for the Cubs as his career minor league slash line of .300/.368/.492 can show. He was told to take it easy during the Arizona Fall League by the front office due to the injury concerns. However, some have questioned his maturity (which the bat incident rightfully raises) and questioning his ability to adjust. Again, I think the larger question is can Jorge Soler stay in one piece through a baseball season.

 

So if Soler's health issues are behind him then he should be a September call up. The reason for this is simple. In the past four years he has had less than 500 at bats in games. The minor league season ends in early September even if the team makes the postseason. Soler can and probably should go to the Arizona Fall League to make up some of the at bats he lost, but he needs as many as possible at this point because time is a factor with Soler unlike any other Cubs prospect due to his contract. Soler signed a nine year 30 million dollar major league contract. Those important roster rules are going to come up here again.

If you already have a grasp over how options work you can skip over this paragraph. A player on the 40 man roster can be optioned to the minors off of the 25 man roster and that costs a player an option year. Once that has happened a player can be sent down back and forth between the minor leagues costing a player just one option year. Most players are granted three option years, but due to some circumstances that Jorge Soler meets he has been granted a fourth option year. Calling a player up does not cost a player an option year, but the act of sending him down does.

Now it is important to remember that Jorge Soler signed a major league deal in 2012. That means he was optioned down to the minors in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Due to Soler being granted a fourth option year that means that he can only be sent down in 2015 before having to stick on the major league roster. The Cubs do not have the luxury of following a typical development plan with Soler, and are going to be forced to try to get something out of him sooner than later. The other aspect of Soler's unique roster situation is that he doesn't have those cheap pre-arbitration years that are so valuable. The incentive to keep him down for longer isn't present.

In fact the way his contract is structured there is actually an incentive for him to reach Super 2 status. Soler's contract is 9 years but he can opt out whenever he reach arbitration. Soler will do this because arbitration virtually guarantees a raise. Arbitration is based on comparable players but also a player's previous year salary. His salary jumps from 3 million to 4 million between the 2017 and 2018 season. At worst the salary implications are neutral for when Soler hits arbitration unlike any of the other top prospects for the Cubs.

Jorge Soler's stock has taken a tremendous hit this year with his inability to stay on the field, and unfortunately the clock is very much ticking for the Cubs on this situation. That is why Soler getting called up over Bryant or Baez shouldn't raise an eyebrow if it does happen.

 

UPDATE 7/22 11:15 PM: Dabynsky wins the internet.

 

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  • In essence, you're saying that Soler isn't developing as planned, but will be called up to the MLB team before Bryant and Baez anyway because of his contract?

    It's far too early to write him off as a bust. His time at AA, assuming he's sent there from AZ, will tell a lot about how he'll pan out. He'll need to do exceptionally well to make the MLB club before a September call up in 2015. Bryant and Baez should be well established by then.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Essential that is my argument. There aren't the reasons to keep him down longer in the case of Bryant and Baez due to it. And the more important factor is that MLB is the only place to get competitive ABs during September which Soler desperately needs as many as possible to be ready by 2016.

  • So if Soler has one year remaining of options with less than 500 ABs in the minors, why would the Cubs bring him up before Kris Bryant? Soler will not be a September call up this year, but Bryant will be a starter day 1 next year. Even though waiting until June gives them another year of protection for the Cubs, you can't keep him down that long. He is just that good...

  • Thanks for the comments folks. I think the idea here is that because Soler had a special contract (similar to Matt Szczur's), every year he stays in the minors is a burned option. At some point he HAS to be up in the majors or else they risk him becoming a free agent. So that's part of the theory we're talking about here. He's still hitting whenever he's healthy though, so seeing him at Wrigley isn't that bad methinks.

  • I agree that Soler is in need of competitive at bats and that the major league team will be the only place he'll be able to get those when the minor league season ends. That's just a fact, but his contract has no impact on any decision to call him up this year.

    So, taking the contract out of the equation, the question is will 3 weeks of major league at bats help his development? That's debatable. It is far from imperative or essential that he be brought up. But nice click fodder headline, Gunther. ;-)

    I do agree that the AFL should be a destination for him again this off season. Depending on how he does after returning to Tennessee, he will likely spend most, if not all, of next season in AAA which is the real medicine his oft-injured career truly needs.

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    I could see Soler getting the call in Sept because he's on the 40 and I see the contract as not pushing him to the bigs, but not hindering his call like it would for traditional contracts.

    The way I see it is why not bring him up? He might not get a ton of AB's, but he'd get a taste, and the instruction from the big club would be valuable for 2015.

    Soler is not a bust. Whenever he plays he has a great approach, low K's great power. He just needs experience. I'd like to see him get a cup and then hit AFL at full strength and then see what AAA looks like next year.

  • Thanks for the comments folks. I think the contract artificially speeds up Soler's timeline whether we care to admit it or not, and Soler can actually force the issue based on how he does once he gets back to Tennessee as well as if he can actually stay healthy.

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    Soler has fewer than 30 ab's in AA and only had barely over 200 in high A. He's signed for another 6 seasons. Whether he can be sent down or not after 2015 has no effect on his being called up or not in 2014. He's done nothing to show he's ready for the majors. He's not coming up in September. To think otherwise is delusional.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    The clock is ticking on Soler and his contract length has no effect on that. The lack of at bats you cited is precisely why it should be on the table. Soler's development cannot follow the same path as normal prospects because once he is out of options the only way to go back to the minors is to be placed on irrevocable waivers first. The conservative route is to just send him to Arizona Fall League, but he only managed to get 90 or so PAs last time there. Is that really going to make up for the 60 games he has missed this year on top of all the development time he has lost already?

    The case for this is very simple. Soler needs at bats. As many as he possible can get. In September the only place to get those at the MLB level and calling him up has at worst a neutral effect on his contract status. Do I expect the Cubs front office to take this route? No, but it is far from delusional course of action.

  • "The case for this is very simple. Soler needs at bats. As many as he possible can get. In September the only place to get those at the MLB level and calling him up has at worst a neutral effect on his contract status. Do I expect the Cubs front office to take this route? No, but it is far from delusional course of action."

    This I agree with. The inclusion of his contract in the article was confusing and unnecessary in my opinion, but his need for at bats is clear and, indeed, the only place to get them for 3 weeks will be in the big leagues. The question is whether he is ready to succeed at the big league level. Will facing that level of competition at this point in his development be of service to him? The answer to that question is murky.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    The contract situation is very relevant. If Soler is healthy and rakes, there's little chance he won't be claimed by another smart organization looking to make a gamble if the Cubs attempt to outright him off the roster after he runs out of options.

  • In reply to Rice Cube:

    Wow, okay. That's obvious...to everyone. But that's not until 2016. How does his contract apply to the decision to give him some MLB at bats this September?

    If he ran out of options after this season, then, of course, bring him up so that the Cubs can evaluate him against major league competition. But, as Gunther pointed out himself in the above article, that's not the case.

    I honestly don't see where you are coming from here. I'm open to seeing what you see. I'm trying, but there is just no reason I can comprehend why Soler running out of options after his 2015 season would influence one way or another bringing him up for 3 weeks of at bats at the end of this season.

  • The reason for not bringing him up is he's not ready. This is not about his contract status.

    September ABs are not a big deal if he gets AFL ABs. Also if he's at a minor league team that goes to the playoffs, he will get September ABs.

  • In reply to ddevonb:

    He may get early September ABs from the MiLB playoffs, but if he's good enough they could let him start at MLB afterwards. The option is already burned anyway.

  • I win... http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/cubs-promoting-jorge-soler-and-albert-almora

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Updated! Holy crap!

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Don't count your chickens before they hit incredibly long HR's onto Waveland and Sheffield

  • In reply to jseltzer:

    Never said that he would be productive but the fact that he is in line to be promoted in September is significant.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    In all seriousness, the only reason Soler shouldn't get a September call-up is if he's overwhelmed at Iowa. On the other hand, as much as i'd love to see it, I'm unsure as to whether its wise to take 100 AB's away from Baez's 2015 season by bringing him up. Of course, you could argue that the brief major league experience is meaningful to his continued evolution

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    UPDATE: Won't be...

  • In reply to Pittsburgh Dad:

    Ha!

  • In reply to Pittsburgh Dad:

    Well played...

    I am still claiming victory if he is a call up this year.

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