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.
Four of the team's top-10 prospects and a former All-Star are among the 19 nonroster invitees to White Sox big league camp this spring.
The team announced Monday that prospects Michael Kopech, Zack Collins, Zack Burdi and Spencer Adams have all been invited to camp next month. Everth Cabrera, an All-Star in 2013 for the San Diego Padres, Cody Asche, Cory Luebke and Geovany Soto are among the eight minor league free agents who also received an invitation. Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 14 while the team holds its first full-squad workout on Feb. 18.
Kopech was acquired in the Chris Sale trade in December while Collins and Burdi were both selected in the 2016 amateur draft. Adams was drafted in 2014.
Signed earlier this month, Soto is expected to earn a spot on the 25-man roster. Soto, who played for the White Sox in 2015, finished last season with four home runs and an .809 OPS in 86 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Angels.
Cabrera, who produced 4.6 Wins Above Replacement between 2012-13, hasn't played in the majors since he appeared in 29 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. Luebke, who has twice had reconstructive elbow surgery, finished with a 9.35 ERA in nine games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Asche blasted 31 homers with a .240/.298/.385 slash line in 1,287 plate appearances since 2013 with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Other minor league free agents include: left-handed pitcher David Holmberg, right-handers Blake Smith and Anthony Swarzak, and catcher Roberto Pena.
White Sox minor leaguer pitchers Aaron Bummer, Brian Clark, Jace Fry and Matt Purke, infielders Nicky Delmonico and Danny Hayes, and outfielder Courtney Hawkins also have been invited to camp.