Astros may pursue Cuban outfielder Soler

Astros may pursue Cuban outfielder Soler

HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Saturday the club is considering pursuing Cuban corner outfielder Jorge Soler, who was declared a free agent Saturday and is expected to sign with a club in the next few weeks.

"It would be safe to say that we're looking into it," Luhnow said. "We like the player, and it's just a matter of how much competition there is going to be and where it's going to end up, but we're definitely looking into it."

Soler must sign with a Major League club before July 2 or he will be subject to new CBA guidelines that will limit spending on international prospects to $2.9 million per team without penalty. Luhnow expects the signing process to happen quickly.

"It's a milestone that all 30 clubs have been waiting for," he said. "Now that there's an opportunity to engage his representatives and figure out what they're looking for, I think it's going to be a fairly quick process. We're aware of what's happening and we're going to be involved to the extent it would make sense for us."

Soler applied for residency in the Dominican Republic earlier this year -- the first step to becoming eligible for free agency -- and was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball on Saturday. All players who are declared free agents must still be legally cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control before they can sign a contract.