I am sorry to report the following news, but the Chicago Cubs have decided to cut super star prospects Javier Baez and Jorge Soler. Now, before you start having a panic attack, they did not release them from their contracts. They simply decided to reassign them to the minor league camps, a move which will be made official tomorrow.
Soler will be assigned to Class A Daytona tmrw, Baez will be assigned to Minor League camp. Both will play for #Cubs Mon
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 17, 2013
This was completely obvious, and expected from the very beginning. There was never any chance that either of them would break camp with the major league club, no matter how well they performed during Spring Training.
If you are wondering why the Cubs could be so foolish to not bring these kids up to the major league club to start the year on the major league club, I can easily supply you with an answer. Both players are still very young, and have not played in any form of pro baseball above single A ball. Making the jump from singe A to the major league team is very hard to do, and not too many teams are willing to rush a player through the system that quickly. If the player fails, that is a major blow to their ego and could set the player back a few years as he tries to rebuild confidence. That is something most clubs want to try and avoid.
Even though they have been crushing the ball at various stops last year in the minor leagues, and this year in Spring Training, they still have ways to go before they are major league ready. Theo Epstein tends to lean towards his players reaching 500 at bats in the minor leagues before he calls them up to the major leagues. Currently, Baez has 311 and Soler has 134.
If Epstein holds true to form, Baez could potentially be a September call up, but that would be extremely optimistic. The more likely situation with Baez would be to see him challenge for a spot on the 2014 roster and see him make his pro debut at some point next season. When that happens, Epstein and Jed Hoyer will have the fun task of figuring out what to do with the Short Stop position. Should Baez take over Short Stop, which would move Starlin Castro to a new position, or should Baez be pushed to third base? Thankfully, they have some time to figure out this move.
Soler though, if Epstein holds true to his 500 at bats, likely will not reach the major leagues until September of 2014, if not the start of the 2015 season. That fits in nicely with the expiration of Alfonso Soriano’s contract. With Soriano’s departure, Soler can easily slide in to replace him on the corner without the Cubs needing to move many pieces of the outfield around.
In short, don’t worry about the Cubs deciding to cut either Soler or Baez from the Spring Training roster. If they continue doing what they have done since joining the Cubs organization, they will reach the major league level within two years’ time. This is not even a minor setback, as their invite to Spring Training was only to give them a taste of what awaits them in the very near future.
The future looks bright with these two, and there is no need to rush them.