3 Landing Spots for Jorge Soler
The market for veteran impact bats and designated hitters is heating up in the wake of Joc Pederson signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks and rumors that a decision by Justin Turner is likely to happen quite soon. Last week I covered potential landing spots for J.D. Martinez, which leaves a discussion open for a comparable player in Jorge Soler.
Soler, 32 in February, hasn’t been the most consistent bat during his career but has proven to be a quality power bat in the lineup when he is hot. 2023 was evidence of one of his best seasons, batting .250/.341/ .512 with 36 home runs and 75 RBI for the Miami Marlins. Soler’s market, much like Martinez’s, will depend on the fact that he is going to spend the vast majority of his time as a DH, meaning that he will either be a in part-time role or could be in a platoon situation. Still, his bat is intriguing enough to stick in the middle of the lineup for any team looking for a boost in offense. This brings up the question; who could be the best suitor for Soler?
Toronto Blue Jays
It’s been reported recently and is widely considered that the Toronto Blue Jays are quite interested in acquiring Soler’s services and remain the favorites to land him. It’s been an understandably disappointing offseason for the Blue Jays on the free agent front. They remained deep in the race for Shohei Ohtani but came up empty while having to settle for minuscule additions to their roster in the form of Isiah Kiner-Falefa and the re-signing of Kevin Kiermaier. They have made some moves on the pitching front, but they have had a hard time replacing the bats of Whit Merrifield and Matt Chapman. Danny Jensen is currently projected to be the regular DH for the Blue Jays after a respectable 2023 campaign that saw him hit 22 home runs and .240/.320/.462 in a type of platoon situation with Brandon Belt. Soler would likely take over full-time as the DH, leaving Jensen’s role in question, but his wRC+ of 126 from 2023 would certainly help the Blue Jays should he replicate it.
Los Angeles Angels
After losing Ohtani, the Angels have found themselves without their primary DH and will not look to replace that production. Brandon Drury is currently slated to be the DH, but his versatility on the infield is likely reason for the Angels to look for a primary DH as he only had nine games as the DH last season. Soler’s 24.3% strikeout rate was similar to Ohtani’s 11.4% walk rate was quite an improvement by his own standards. While not comparable to the talent level of Ohtani, Soler fills the role of a bat-first type of player who slides in nicely on a cheaper multi-year deal. He walked away from a $13 million deal with the Marlins, but it’s unclear how much he’d be able to eclipse that deal in teams of AAV but he’s bound to get another two or three-year deal and the Angels could easily afford it.
New York Mets
Steve Cohen and the New York Mets have seen a change of pace from the lucrative contracts they have dished out the past few offseasons. David Stearns is making sure to be wiser with the allocation of funds as he acquires talent. This still leaves the door open for the acquisition of Soler, however, as the team could have need of a DH. Despite a decent showing from DJ Stewart in various roles last season, he appears penciled in by RosterResource as the starting DH for the 2024 season. Soler presents a clear upgrade over Stewart in terms of power and prowess at the plate. A power duo of Pete Alonso and Soler is an intriguing proposition, even if some of their downfalls reflect on another. A multi-year deal with Soler could also act as a safety net for the Mets should they fail to extend Alonso, thus keeping a shadow of his production in the lineup for 2025.