Mets Sign Cuban Defector Alay Soler

Friday, August 27th 2004, 8:19 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Mets signed Cuban defector Alay Soler on Friday, giving the pitcher a three-year deal worth $2.8 million.

Soler, 24, was an ace for the Cuban national team last year, going 10-4 with a 2.01 ERA in 18 games. He defected last November with three other players.

Soler had been working out at the Mets' complex in the Dominican Republic while paperwork was completed on his contract. When he gets his visa, he will travel to the United States and join the Mets' instructional league Sept. 19 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

``Soler is a big, strong right-hander with a power arm,'' Mets general manager Jim Duquette said. ``He has command of all of his pitches _ fastball, curveball, changeup and a slider. We are happy to add a pitcher with Alay's international experience.''

While in Cuba, Soler pitched on a team with Chicago White Sox right-hander Jose Contreras.