Cubs sign OF Jorge Soler

The Cubs, making one of their first major splashes under new team president Theo Epstein, have signed Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler to a nine-year, $30 million deal. Although previously reported on FOXSports.com, the deal became official with the team’s announcement on Saturday.

Soler, 20, has been compared to the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton by a number of scouts. He will require time to develop in the minors, unlike fellow Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who joined the A’s immediately this season.

The Cubs were long considered the favorites for Soler, in part because Epstein and his front office are intent on restocking the organization with young talent.

The new restrictions on amateur spending in the domestic draft and international market will prevent Epstein from working the system the way he did with the Red Sox and spending top dollar for amateur talent.

Soler was not subject to the new restrictions.

Although the deal is worth $30 million over nine years, Soler could stand to make significantly more.

Once Soler becomes eligible for salary arbitration, he will have the right to choose arbitration instead of the annual salaries specified by his contract, according to a major-league source.

In other words, if Soler develops into a productive major leaguer, he can opt out of the financial terms of his deal and negotiate even better salaries with the Cubs.

Soler, 20, is likely to begin his career in Single A. He could be several years away from the majors. The year-by-year breakdown of his salaries is not yet known.

But if, for example, Soler made his major-league debut in 2015, he would become eligible for arbitration for the 2018 season. If he figured to receive a higher salary in arbitration than the number mandated by his contract, he would simply choose arbitration.

On the other hand, Soler will be protected if he does not develop as expected, drawing the annual salaries that he negotiated into his deal – and getting no less than $30 million either way.