Months after rumors persisted that the Cubs had agreed to a deal with Jorge Soler, the 20-year-old Cuban outfielder has finally been declared a free agent, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
In February, it was reported the Cubs and Soler had agreed to a 27.5 million deal, although that turned out to be inaccurate. Per David Kaplan's report, though, Soler is close friends with Gerardo Concepcion, who signed with the Cubs in the offseason and is currently pitching with Single-A Peoria.
About a month later, more reports surfaced that the Cubs had inked Soler. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was quick to shoot the reports down, though, calling them "completely bogus."
But the Cubs have done their homework on Soler, according to CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney, and are very interested in him.
The Cubs, Indians, Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees and White Sox have all been linked to Soler -- although White Sox GM Kenny Williams played coy when asked despite his left fielder admitting to reaching out to Soler and then-free agent Yoenis Cespedes earlier in the month.
Soler is expected to sign in the next month, as the new MLB collective bargaining agreement puts restrictions on international spending after July 2. Until then, teams can bid as much as they want for Soler, so it'd be in his best interests to ink a deal before that date.
27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.
The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.
In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.
Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.
Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.
But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.
While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:
4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen