The Miami Marlins have agreed to a three-year contract worth $36 million with reigning World Series MVP Jorge Soler, CBS Sports' Jim Bowden confirmed. The contract includes opt outs after the first and second years. The team has not yet confirmed the deal.
Soler, 30, hit .223/.316/.432 with 27 home runs in 149 games split between the Royals and Braves last season. He hit 48 home runs in 2019, and during the 2021 postseason, Soler went 8 for 33 (.242) with three home runs in 11 games around a COVID absence. That includes two clutch home runs against the Astros in the Fall Classic.
Our R.J. Anderson ranked Soler as the No. 39 free agent on the market this offseason. Here's his write-up:
Sometimes, baseball makes no sense. When Soler was traded to the Braves at the deadline, he was hitting .192/.288/.370 with 13 home runs in 94 games. His ball-tracking metrics indicated better times were ahead. Sure enough, they were. He batted .269/.358/.524 the rest of the way, even launching 14 homers in his final 55 contests. Here's the catch: his exit velocity with the Braves was nearly three ticks lower than it had been with the Royals. Go figure. Soler remains a poor defensive outfielder who should be used as a DH as frequently as possible. One development with his game worth monitoring: he cut into both his strikeout and whiff rates. Even if those gains prove unsustainable, his walking and bopping will keep him in the lineup.
Last month Derek Jeter stepped down as Marlins CEO, reportedly because ownership was unwilling to spend an additional $10 million to $15 million on the payroll after the lockout. The Soler deal shows that was not the case. The Marlins were connected to Miami native Nick Castellanos before he agreed to a five-year contract with the NL East rival Phillies.
Soler fits best at DH, meaning Garrett Cooper is likely to return to the outfield alongside pre-lockout signing Avisaíl García and either Bryan De La Cruz or Jesús Sánchez. In addition to García, Miami added catcher Jacob Stallings and super utility man Joey Wendle prior to the lockout to boost an offense that ranked second to last in runs scored in 2021.
The Marlins went 67-95 last season, their third straight 162-game season with at least 95 losses. Miami went 31-29 and qualified for the postseason during the 60-game 2020 season.