Giants agree to three-year deal with free agent designated hitter/outfielder Jorge Soler, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The agreement is pending a physical examination. Soler is a client of MVP Sports Group.
Talks between Soler and the Giants have been going on for at least the last week. This morning, the Giants were still in the race, but had balked at Soler’s request for a guaranteed third season. This seems to have changed throughout the day.
Soler, 32, opted out of the final season of his three-year, $36 million contract with the Marlins in November after hitting 36 home runs while hitting .250/.341/.512 at during the season (126 wRC+). Soler posted the second-best walk and strikeout rates of his career at 11.4% and 24.3%, respectively, and Statcast ranked him in the 81st percentile or better in average exit velocity, hard hit rate and barrel rate.
This is the type of power profile the Giants have been lacking in recent years. The 2023 Giants ranked 19th in the Majors in home runs (174), 24th in runs scored (674), 28th in average (.235), 24th in on-base percentage (.312), and 27th in on-base percentage (.312). of shots (.383). The Giants famously haven’t had a single player have a 30-homer season since Barry Bonds in 2004, and they’ve had just one 20-homer hitter in their lineup in each of the last two seasons (Joc Pederson with 23 in 2022 and Wilmer Flores compared to 23 last year).
Soler brings a whole different brand of power. Last year’s 36 big flies were only the second-most total he’s hit in a season. Soler led the American League with 48 home runs for the Royals in 2019, and although injuries limited him to just two 30-homer seasons in his career, he averaged 32 home runs per 162 games played during his career. career. Dating back to that 2019 breakthrough, Soler ranks 17th among 302 qualified hitters with an isolated power mark of .248 (slugging minus batting average). Overall, he hit .240/.331/.488 during that time.
The path Soler takes to reach his production is not the simplest. He is a consistent in-season hitter and volatile from year to year, with his 2019 and 2023 production excellent while his 2022 numbers were significantly below average. Even during the 2021 season that saw Soler catch fire following a trade with Atlanta and be named World Series MVP, he was hitting just .198/.288/.377 in 360 plate appearances at the time. Kansas City traded him. He slashed .269/.358/.524 following the change of scenery. A three-year contract with Soler comes with its fair share of ups and downs, but he’s the type of bat that can almost single-handedly carry a lineup for brief periods, given his high-end power. range.
Although he has plenty of experience at outside corner, Soler likely won’t spend much time there in San Francisco. His defensive ratings continued to decline over the years, and the Marlins played him only sparingly in right field – including just 241 innings last year. Soler has only reached 500 defensive innings played in a season twice. He will be the Giants’ primary designated hitter, although it is possible he will make occasional appearances in left or right field.
This is especially true given that Soler provides a nice right-handed complement to left-handed corner outfielders like Michael Conforto And Mike Yastrzemski. Production against left-handed pitchers, in particular, has been an issue for the 2023 Giants (.245/.306/.376). Soler’s mammoth .277/.393/.688 production against lefties last year represents a huge boost for San Francisco in such situations.
Adding Soler to the lineup likely reduces playing time by JD Davis and or Wilmer Flores against right-handed opponents, but it’s a trio of powerful right-handed sticks for trotting against opposing left-handers. New backup receiver Tom Murphy (career 126 wRC+ against lefties) should also help in that regard, as should a full season of catcher hitting switches. Patrick Bailey, who feasted on lefties but struggled against righties. Generally speaking, San Francisco’s lineup seems much more equipped to handle left-handed pitching than last year’s club.
Even if the financial conditions are not yet known, the question of payroll should not pose a problem for the Giants. Before the Soler deal, San Francisco’s approximate $155 million payroll was more than $33 million above its 2023 levels and more than $46 million south of the NFL’s record payroll levels. team franchise. Even if Giants ownership isn’t willing to set a new record on player payroll, it would be possible to add both Soler and another high-profile free agent. To that end, it’s worth noting that the Giants have been linked to high-profile names like Blake Snell, Matt Chapman And Jordan Montgomery these last weeks. An agreement with Soler should not prevent them from continuing these activities.
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