ATLANTA, GA - MAY 28: The St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves stand with members of the military during the Memorial Day celebration prior to the game at Turner Field on May 28, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Could the Braves be players for one of the world's best prospects?
Jorge Soler, a 20-year old outfielder from Cuba, is one of the hottest prospects in the world right now. Similar to Yoenis Cespedes, who signed with the Oakland Athletics for $36 million last February, Soler is expected to be very expensive for whichever team signs him. He has a ton of potential to become a superstar one day, but there is considerable risk.
Given his price tag, which is expected to be upwards of $20 million, it seemed unlikely that the Atlanta Braves would make a bid for Soler's talents. As Buster Olney tweeted on Friday though, it appears the Bravos may indeed be making a push to land the Cuban star.
You notice of those four teams mentioned that three of them typically have a ton of spending money each year, and that one, the Braves, typically do not.
This being said, Atlanta will have quite a bit of money coming off the books in the offseason. The retirement of Chipper Jones and various contracts either expiring (Derek Lowe) or unlikely to be picked up (Jair Jurrjens) will clear up some funds, but there will be plenty of other areas to address on the roster.
Soler is a great athlete and profiles nicely for right field, although he could play left if he would come to Atlanta. He projects to be a plus-defender and has the potential to be a true slugger at the MLB level, but his bat remains untested against tough competition. He is the definition of a high-risk, high-reward player, and apparently the Braves are interested.
My take: I don't think Atlanta will become a serious bidder for Soler due to his price tag, but general manager Frank Wren has never been afraid of being bold. This will definitely be a story to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
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