News: Soler Reports to Port St. Lucie

…well look at who has finally arrived…

MLB.com’s Kevin Czerwinski reports that Alay Soler arrived in America last Thursday and began working out at the Mets Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla, today…

It has been 16 months since the Mets first signed the 26–year-old Cuban All-Star to a three-year, $2.8 million deal…

“I’m very appreciative that the Mets were able to believe in me and my talent,” Soler is quoted as saying.  “The most difficult part for me was that I wanted to help the team. To see them get so close in the Wild Card and not be able to contribute in the Minor Leagues or at the big league level really bothered me.”…

Former Mets GM Jim Duquette, who signed Soler, tells MLB.com, “When we saw him, he was at the peak of his conditioning and we thought he had a chance to be a solid No. 4 starter…

“He had two-plus pitches in his fastball and slider and we felt, at the time, that his signing changed the perception of the Mets in the Dominican Republic with the guys who tend to find and work for high-profile players. Before that signing, people didn’t consider us as players in that market, but the main people on the island knew we were going to be players after that…

“Realistically, if he pitches the way I think he can, in the middle of the season, he should be on [the Mets] radar.  He’s going to have to go through some level of education in the Minor Leagues, but he’s a guy that can move fast.  I think he can be a starter or a reliever, but I don’t know how much he’s done out of the ‘pen. But he has legitimate stuff.”…

…welcome aboard alay…and good luck…