Jorge Soler is ready to play professional ball in the United States…
The 20-year-old Cuban baseball star, who defected from his native country last year, has reached a verbal agreement with the Chicago Cubs on a nine-year contract worth $30 million dollars, according to USA Today.
The 6-foot 3, 225-pound power hitter, who was declared a free agent last week, is expected to be a right fielder with five-tool potential.
The Cubs outbid several large-market teams, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cubs, who never bid on free agents like first basemen Albert Pujols last winter, believe Soler will be ready for the big leagues in two or three years.
Soler had previously played for the Cuba’s national baseball team in the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship, where he had a .304 batting average, .500 on-base percentage, and .522 slugging percentage. His nine walks were the second most in the tournament, where Cuba won the bronze. He also briefly played in the Cuban National Series.
The bid for Soler comes months after Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes signed with the Oakland Athletics. The 26-year-old Cuban centerfielder agreed to a four-year, $36 million deal in February.