MIAMI -- Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, who agreed to a nine-year, 30 million deal with the Chicago Cubs Monday, was never aggressively pursued by the Red Sox, several industry sources confirmed.
Soler, 20, has terrific raw power and impressive tolls and has been compared by some who scouted him to a young Gary Sheffield.
But the Red Sox were apparently wary of several factors, including his defensive skill set and the fact that he's hasn't played much against top international talent, and weren't in on the bidding.
Knowing that the Cubs and team president Theo Epstein were seen as the favorites to land Soler all along, the Sox expected the bidding to go beyond what they believed to be Soler's value.
Because Soler signed his deal prior to July 2, his contract was not subjected to the new limit (2.9 million) for international free agents as agreed to in the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last winter.
Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.
Terms of the deals were not announced.
It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with the team, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported.
Bradley, who turns 27 April 19, had his best season in 2016, hitting .267 with 26 homers and a league-best 29-game hitting streak. He also won his first Gold Glove. A Scott Boras client, Bradley isn’t eligible for free agency until 2020.
Friday at 1 p.m. was the deadline to reach deals to avoid arbitration.
Other arbitration-eligible Red Sox are infielders Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, left-handers Drew Pomeranz and Fernando Abad, right-handers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross and Tyler Thornburg and catcher Sandy Leon.