Jorge Soler, Marlins reach agreement

Jupiter, Florida – Jorge Soler, MVP of the past fall with the Braves, has agreed to a three-year contract with the Marlins, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The deal is worth $36 million, according to Feinsand, adding that Soler has to opt out after both 2022 and ’23. Miami has not confirmed the deal.

Since the start of the first season, the Marlins have made adding bats mid-ranking a priority after finishing 29th in the OPS and running, as well as 28th in the Homers, in 2021. Before closing, Miami tackled comfortable bats signed Louis Head (Reese) and companion player Joey Wendell (Rice) with Avicel Garcia on a four-deal deal, signing ace Sandy Alcantara and shortstop Miguel Rojas to extensions. The Marlins have reportedly expressed interest in players Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, who eventually signed with rival Phillies. Miami also inquired about Pirates All-Star Center player Brian Reynolds, whose asking price is likely too high.

Between the acquisitions of Soler and García, Marlins picked up the second best (3.6) and fifth best (0.4), in terms of the 2021 WAR, in the free agent market. This duo combined for 56 Homers and 156 RBIs last season.

A native of Havana, Cuba, the 30-year-old Soler originally signed with the Cubs in 2012 and made waves as the best prospect his 6-foot-4, 235-pound tire could unleash the power of a light tower. But between injuries and inconsistent performances, it wasn’t until 2019 – after three seasons of a deal from Cubs to Royals – that Soler put it all together.

The past few seasons have been a rollercoaster ride. In 2019, Soler played in all 162 games for the Royal Family, scoring 0.922 OPS and leading the MLS with 48 home games. But he couldn’t match that level of production during the shortened 2020 campaign for the pandemic, and then started slowly in ’21. By the time royals sent him to the Braves in a trade deadline deal, Soler was only hitting .92 with a .658 OPS.

But he really started to change his season in Kansas City, and that continued in Atlanta. His production in 55 regular season games there — .269/ .358/ .524 with 14 homers and 33 RBI — looked similar to what he did during the 2019 breakout period, and then there was the post-season, when Soler earned a World Series MVP honor for his role in the victory Braves on the Astros, having fired three home runs and an 800 in a 20 at-bat.

While this strength is key to Soler’s game, it’s also prone to swinging and failing. But when Soler touches the ball, he often crushes the ball, as evidenced by his 82nd barrel average. His 43 hurdles of at least 420 feet since 2019 are the most in the majors.

However, defense is not a strength for Soler, who has started over 200 matches in his career as a designated hitter. As a cornerback (353 games on the right field, 60 games on the left), he has earned an above-average 17-Outs since 2016, including a minus -6 last season. In 2021, Soler ranked second in footballer jump, per Statcast, and scored minus -11 defensive flushes saved, according to FanGraphs.

As things stand, Miami is still without a natural midfielder on the 40-man roster after being assigned the job, Monty Harrison. For now, rhe’s plan is for several players to see time in the center: Jesus Sanchez, Brian de la Cruz, companion players John Berti and Garcia. Roman Quinn and Dillino Deshields Jr. are at camp with invitations from non-registers. Prior to Soler’s signing, Garrett Cooper and Jesús Aguilar were set to split time in first base and DH, although Soler would be more suited to the latter role due to his defensive responsibility.

“Ideally, we want a midfielder who is an offensive threat,” general manager Kim Ng said on Friday. “That would be our primary goal. If that’s not possible, and you’re not betting the future for anyone, I think you should go to Plan B. And Plan B, there are some good offensive players out there in the market. Like I said the day before when we acquired Avi Garcia, we had He played some midfield. Brian de la Cruz played some midfield. We’ll mix and match and look at our options.”

With the 40-man roster filled, the Marlins would need to make a similar move to make room for Soler.

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