The Marlins and outfielder Jorge Soler agreed to a three-year, $36 million deal, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports (Twitter connections). Soler has opt-outs after each of the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Soler is represented by MVP Sports.
Soler will earn $12 million in the first year of the contract, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). Provided he doesn’t opt out of the deal, Soler is expected to earn $15 million in 2023 and $9 million in 2024. Various playing time-based incentives could significantly increase that 2024 salary, as Soler receives An additional $500,000 for reaching the 350-plate appearance and 400 AP thresholds, then a $1 million bonus for reaching 450 AP, 500 AP, and 550 AP.
The deal represents the second big free agent spree of the winter for the Marlins, who also signed Avisail Garcia to a four-year, $53 million pact before the lockdown. Miami entered the offseason with a stated need for on-field help and more roster pop, and the result is two players who have combined for 154 home runs since the start of the 2019 season.
Soler led the AL with 48 home runs this 2019 campaign, one of the highlights of what has been an inconsistent eight-year run at the majors for the 30-year-old. Both sides of Soler’s experience were on display in 2021, when he started the season just .192 / .288 / .370 with 13 homers in 360 plate appearances with the Royals.
However, after the Braves picked up Soler at the trade deadline, the switch seemed to be flipped. Soler then hit .269/.358/.524 with 14 homers on 242 AP for his new team and then topped that strong performance in the World Series, hitting .300/.391/.800 with three longer balls for 23 PA in the Fall Classic. With Atlanta winning the championship, Soler earned World Series MVP honors.
There was a lot of interest in Soler on the open market this winter, when the Braves were interested in a reunion, and clubs like the Rockies, the Padres joined the Marlins as known suitors for the slugger. MLBTR ranked Soler 25th on our list of the top 50 free agents of the winter and correctly predicted Soler’s actual three-year, $36 million contract. (Our Anthony Franco took the prognosis a step further and even picked Soler to sign with the Marlins.)
The challenge for any interested club, of course, was figuring out how much to bid for a player whose production has fluctuated over the years. By that same logic, Soler and his reps obviously wanted a solid deal that wouldn’t sell the outfielder for years to come if he returned to that 48 homer pace. The two opt-outs allow some flexibility in both cases, because if Soler enjoys a big 2022 season, he will be able to test the market again next winter.
If Soler ends up being a Marlin for only one season, the team might prefer flexibility, given the continued uncertainty of Miami’s center field situation. General manager Kim Ng said earlier in the day that the team were looking for a center field assist, although Garcia was mentioned as a possible center field candidate at the time of his signing.
With Soler now added to the mix, it looks like Garcia will be tapped for at least one semi-regular center field serve, barring another move for the fish. Jesus Sanchez can also get work at center and will play regularly as a corner fielder, while Soler will play every day in the other corner slot or as a designated hitter. Garrett Cooper will probably get the other good field / DH point that Soler does not occupy, with Cooper and Jesus Aguilar equally sharing time at first base.
Bryan De LaCruz will secure a spot on the outside bench, while minor league signings Delino DeShields and Roman Quinn could fight for another bench role. Given that DeShields has a stronger defensive record, that could give him the job-earning advantage, especially if the Marlins seem to prioritize hitting over glove work with their other outfield picks.
The tastes of Brian Anderson, Joey WendleWhere Jon Berti could also factor into the outfield picture, and future acquisitions can’t be ruled out during what has been a very aggressive offseason for the Marlins. Between the Soler/Garcia signings and the exchanges for Wendle and Jacob Stallings, the Fish are making a concerted effort to improve, and the free agent deals are a notable expense for a traditionally low-wage team. Due to some reports that Derek JeterThe surprising departure of as CEO was due to a change in the ownership’s willingness to spend, Soler’s contract will calm some criticism directed at the franchise in the wake of Jeter’s decision.
If Soler doesn’t step down and he meets his 2024 incentive clauses, the total value of the deal will reach $40 million over three years, which isn’t a huge expense compared to other agent deals. free. That said, Miami native Nick Castellanos was another alleged Marlins target, and the Fish might have simply felt that spending $36 million (or as little as $12 million) on Soler was a better investment than going over the $100 million contract on five years that Castellanos had received from the Phillies. Castellanos also reportedly cost the Marlins a draft pick via the qualifying offer, while Soler was not tied to any draft compensation.
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