The San Francisco Giants fell apart last year in large part due to their offense, which was among the worst in the league in nearly every category. And now they’ve addressed some of it.
On late Monday night, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reported that the Giants had agreed to a three-year contract with right-handed slugger Jorge Soler.
Jorge Soler has agreed to a three-year deal with the Giants I’m told.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 13, 2024
While terms of the deal have not yet been announced, it’s worth noting that MLB Network’s Jon Morosi had said earlier in the day that the stalemate between teams and Soler was over whether or not to include a third year. The Giants apparently felt it was worth going there to seal the deal.
Soler had a sensational offensive season for the Miami Marlins in 2023, slashing .250/.341/.512 for a 128 OPS+, with 36 home runs. While he occasionally plays a corner outfield, he’s a player that the Giants will almost certainly plan on using nearly exclusively as a designated hitter.
And hey, what kind timing … just a few hours ago, I wrote about why I think adding an honest-to-goodness DH is a great idea!
Soler comes with some question marks, as he was rather pedestrian form 2020 through 2022, and has had a few injury concerns in his career. But his underlying metrics last year — lifted in large part by figuring out how to hit offspeed pitches — were enough to make the projection systems think that his 2023 success is sustainable. Fangraphs projects him to have a better hitting season than any of his new teammates.
And fans who have been clamoring for the Giants to get someone who hits the ball hard can rejoice: Soler has been in the top 6% of the league in maximum exit velocity every year of his career.
Unlike the person he replaces (Joc Pederson), Soler is a good hitter against both righties and lefties. He was a comfortably above-average bat in same-handed matchups last year, sporting a 110 wRC+. And he was one of the most dominant lefty mashers in the league, with a 181 wRC+ that was fifth-highest in the league, trailing only Yandy Díaz, William Contreras, Mookie Betts, and Ryan Mountcastle (and finishing a hair ahead of Aaron Judge).
With Soler in the fold, it seems likely that one of J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto, and LaMonte Wade Jr. may be seeing their time with the Giants come to an end. But that’s a problem for another day.
Welcome to the Giants, Jorge! Have you heard about the 30-homer curse?