Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Here we go again: Blue Jays and Red Sox viewed as finalists for Jorge Soler
1 month ago
Are the Blue Jays on the precipice of making their first major move of the off-season?
According to Jon Heyman (so take it with a grain of salt), it appears that the Jorge Soler sweepstakes is coming down to two teams, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox.
Last season with Miami, the 31-year-old slashed .250/.341/.512 with 36 homers in 580 plate appearances for a 126 wRC+, the second-highest in his career with a minimum of 100 plate appearances. Soler’s 1.9 fWAR was also his second-highest of his career, behind the 3.7 he registered in 2019.
Speaking of 2019, that remains Soler’s career-best season. With the Kansas City Royals, the then 27-year-old slashed .265/.354/.569 with a career-best 48 home runs in 679 plate appearances for a 136 wRC+. If the Jays were to sign him and get that version of Soler, watch out.
Soler has been rather inconsistent throughout his career, but that’s partially to blame due to injury. He’s only had 400 or more plate appearances four times in his career, and anytime he’s had over 550 plate appearances, he’s had 27 or more home runs. In fact, in Soler’s 10 years in Major League Baseball, he only had five seasons with more than 300 plate appearances.
The 31-year-old has all but become a designated hitter. The Cuban only played 241.2 innings in the outfield, all in right field, during the 2023 season and had -5 Defensive Runs Saved and -3 Outs Above Average. For his 4017 innings in the outfield, Soler has -55 Defensive Runs Saved and -2 Outs Above Average, so he’s a pretty bad fielder.
This off-season’s free agent class for hitting is quite weak, with only a handful of impact players such as Shohei Ohtani, Cody Bellinger, and Matt Chapman. One position that’s stacked to the brim is designated hitting, as guys like Rhys Hoskins, J.D. Martinez, Joc Pederson, Justin Turner and Brandon Belt are still on the market. The Blue Jays can afford to take their time and sign the right player to replace Belt’s 136 wRC+ he had in 2023.
Either way, Soler would be a big get for the Blue Jays and may spell the end of their free agent pursuits. Thankfully, it seems like they are still active in the trade market, and who knows, maybe they will swing a big deal for an outfielder or a third baseman through that avenue.
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