Source: Sox high on young Cuban outfielder

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Source: Sox high on young Cuban outfielder

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Over the winter, the Red Sox were conspicuous by their absence when it came to bidding on Yoenis Cespedes, the flashy Cuban outfielder who defected and became a free agent.

They don't plan the approach with Cespedes's countryman Jorge Soler.

Soler is close to achieve residency in the Dominican Republic, after which he will file a request with Major League Baseball to become a free agent.

When he's granted that right, he'll get auctioned off to the highest bidder. The Red Sox have signaled that they intend to be right in the middle of the bidding, according to an industry source.

Why the interest on Soler, but not Cespedes, who signed a four-year, 36 million deal with the Oakland A's? In a word: age.

While Cespedes is 26, Soler is just 20.

"With the other guy (Cespedes)," said an industry source, "any time spent in the minor leagues is a negative. You're paying big money for him to develop."

It isn't clear whether the Sox -- and other teams -- believe that Soler projects as a better player than Cespedes. What is clear is that, given the talent and the age, the potential is there for a bigger upside.

Said a major league executive who has watched Soler: "I see him as a high impact guy with huge power. His upside is as a right fielder; the downside is as a left fielder."

Asked for a comparable player for Soler, one talent evaluator said: "Ron Gant."

Gant played 16 seasons in the big leagues, many with the Atlanta Braves. He finished his career with 321 homers, 1,008 RBI, 243 steals and an OPS of .803.

While the market for Cespedes never materialized as projected -- Oakland didn't emerge as a factor until the very end -- it's thought that interest in Soler will be greater, chiefly because of his younger age and room for growth.

A number of big-market teams are expected to make bids, including the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.

It's likely that Soler would begin at Single A ball, but the expectation is he could leapfrog through the minors is relatively short order -- somewhere between two and three seasons.

Patriots-Rams inactives: Slater, Coleman, Richards out

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Patriots-Rams inactives: Slater, Coleman, Richards out

FOXBORO -- The inactive lists for today's Patriots-Rams game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
S Jordan Richards
WR Matthew Slater
DL Woodrow Hamilton
RB D.J. Foster
T LaAdrian Waddle
DL Darius Kilgo
CB Justin Coleman

PATRIOTS-RAMS PREGAME

LOS ANGELES RAMS
WR Tavon Austin
DE Robert Quinn
QB Sean Mannion
TE Temarrick Hemingway
OL Rodger Saffold
DB Steve Williams
OL Pace Murphy

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.