- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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Now that Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, he can negotiate with any of its 30 teams -- and he won't wait long.
According to a major league source, all teams have been asked by Soler's agents, Praver-Shapiro Sports Management, to get in their best bid for the 19-year-old, five-tool player by June 7. The going rate for Soler's services is expected to be between $25-35 million, according to industry sources.
The Cuban defector by way of the Dominican Republic must be signed before July 2 in order to get paid under baseball's previous collective bargaining agreement. The old agreement is not subject to the new taxes and sanctions that the new CBA will incorporate.
Reports surfaced early last winter that the Chicago Cubs had already agreed in principal to a deal that would have paid Soler $27.5 million. However, those reports proved false due to the fact that agents and major league teams are not allowed to discuss details of a contract for a foreign player until Major League Baseball declares him a free agent. Soler's free agent status was granted on Saturday.
"All clubs will have an equal opportunity to bring 'Soler Power' to their organization," agent Barry Praver said.
Soler is 6-3 and 200 pounds and the scouting report indicates he is a classic right fielder with plus-plus power, a strong throwing arm and above average speed.
The new CBA rules impact foreign players that are under 23 years of age and have less than three to five years of professional experience.