Opinion

The view from Chicago: Cubs got a ‘difference maker’ in Davis-Soler trade

Wade Davis (left) went to the Cubs, while the Royals got Jorge Soler (right).
Wade Davis (left) went to the Cubs, while the Royals got Jorge Soler (right).

It wasn’t the biggest deal at this year’s Winter Meetings*, but Wednesday’s trade that sent Royals closer Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Jorge Soler has certainly generated a lot of talk throughout baseball.

*Noted cut-up Chris Sale to the Red Sox is the tops

While much has been written and said about the trade in Kansas City (there were a few tears, too), here is what they are saying in Chicago.

Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune wrote: Jorge Soler once put a dent in the left field video board at Wrigley Field, giving us a taste of how much power the Cuban outfielder possessed.

But Soler’s promise never was fully realized during his brief career in Chicago, and the opportunity to get an elite closer like the Royals’ Wade Davis for a spare outfielder was an offer the Cubs couldn’t refuse.

The Tribune’s Mark Gonzalez wrote: The Cubs’ Joe Maddon, who managed Davis with the Rays from 2009-12 when he was primarily a starter, called his new closer a “difference maker.”

“You’re going to love him,” Maddon said.

The Cubs passed up a chance to re-sign Chapman or strongly pursue fellow free agent Kenley Jansen, but Davis (who will earn $10 million in 2017 before becoming a free agent) gives them financial freedom for the future.

The Tribune’s Steve Rosenbloom wrote: Davis’ acquisition means Soler is heading to the league he was made for. If you’ve watched Soler play defense, you’ve seen how much of a designated hitter he is. Power and potential burst out of his uniform so much that there’s no room for Gold Gloves.

Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald wrote: Soler leaves the Cubs with a legacy of having great potential but never fully able to shake nagging injuries.

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: Soler, who has been available in trade talks for more than a year, has exceptional power and for stretches has shown good plate discipline. But he has been unable to stay healthy for a full season since his first year in the minors, and his fielding struggles make him a more natural fit in the American League.

Jesse Rogers of ESPN wrote: Yes, Soler has potential, but did the Cubs trade away a possible superstar? Highly doubtful. Soler’s game has enough warts that have prevented him from getting to the next level. He reached base nine straight times in the 2015 postseason, but how long is he going to live off of that handful of games?

Soler’s fate may have been sealed on opening night, when Schwarber started in left field against the Angels while Soler was the designated hitter. Joe Maddon chose a converted catcher to play defense over a guy who has played outfield his entire career.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

  Comments