As the Cubs make Jorge Soler one of the faces of this rebuilding project, the $30 million Cuban defector will have a target on his back.
Just look at the reactions across Twitter and the national headlines made out of an advanced Class-A game. The Florida State League slapped Soler with a five-game suspension on Thursday and fined him an undisclosed amount for that bench-clearing incident. It almost certainly won’t be the last time Soler will be provoked.
Team president Theo Epstein indicated Soler lost his cool after a Clearwater player said something about his family. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound “specimen” grabbed a bat and had to be restrained on Wednesday night in Daytona. That moment’s definitely not part of the franchise’s carefully crafted narrative.
“If you’re going to come play here in Chicago, New York, L.A., any big city, you have to understand it’s not going to go your way all the time,” Jeff Samardzija said. “You got to be able to handle that. If you can’t handle that, then you’re not going to be around too long.
“You can’t lose your emotions like that. You got to stay under control. And if you do (lose it), you definitely can’t use a bat.”
Samardzija played in Daytona in 2007, not long after ending his All-American football career at Notre Dame and signing a $10 million contract with the Cubs.
“They knew who I was,” Samardzija said, “and they wanted to prove that I shouldn’t be on the baseball field. So there’s definitely a chip on his shoulder for other guys that are trying to prove themselves.
“You understand that you’re going to get everybody’s best and you’re also going to get everybody’s worst. You need to learn how to deal with both.”