Blue Jays Interested In Jorge Soler
The Blue Jays have shown interest in free agent slugger Jorge Soler, joining a list of clubs linked to his market this winter.
Blue Jays Join the Fray
The Blue Jays have entered the competition to sign free agent Jorge Soler, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. In addition to Toronto, other clubs such as the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Nationals, and Marlins have expressed interest in Soler throughout the offseason.
Toronto's interest in Soler comes as no surprise since the team has been actively exploring free agent and trade options on the position-player side. After missing out on top targets Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto, the Blue Jays have focused on adding more defensive-oriented players like Kevin Kiermaier and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. However, there is still room for an upgrade in the outfield or designated hitter position.
During a recent media interview, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins stated that the team may add just one more bat, with a preference for an outfielder or designated hitter. Soler, with his power hitting and experience in the outfield, could be a suitable candidate.
Soler's Fit with the Blue Jays
Jorge Soler is primarily seen as a designated hitter rather than a regular outfielder. He has made limited appearances in the outfield in the past two seasons, spending time in left field and right field for the Marlins. Public defensive metrics have criticized Soler's work in right field, but he has been slightly better in left field.
As the Blue Jays already have left-handed hitters Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho, Soler's right-handed hitting could provide a valuable option for the team when facing left-handed pitchers. In such scenarios, one of Kiermaier or Varsho could move to the bench, allowing Soler to play in left field. Given his offensive contributions in 2023, the Blue Jays would be willing to accept any defensive shortcomings in exchange for his power at the plate.
Soler's performance for the Marlins last season was impressive, hitting .250/.341/.512 with 36 home runs in 580 plate appearances. This translated to a 126 wRC+, which led him to opt-out of his contract and pursue free agency. Despite his strong season, Soler's career has been characterized by inconsistency, with some standout offensive years and others with closer to league-average performance.
A Potential Bargain for the Blue Jays
MLB Trade Rumors projected Soler to sign a three-year, $45 million deal, considering the uncertainty surrounding his offense and his limited defensive value. However, if Soler can replicate his hitting performance from 2023, this price tag could prove to be a bargain for the Blue Jays.
Furthermore, Soler's move away from the Marlins' loanDepot Park, known for its spacious dimensions, might benefit his offensive numbers. However, Toronto's Rogers Centre, despite being slightly more hitter-friendly in 2023 according to Statcast's Park Factor metrics, may not provide a significant advantage. Other factors, such as the Blue Jays' pitching and defense, as well as the outfield dimensions due to the team's ballpark renovations, could impact Soler's performance.
Ultimately, the Blue Jays' interest in Jorge Soler indicates their desire to strengthen their lineup with a power hitter. If a deal is reached, Soler could provide an offensive boost to a team that aims to contend in the upcoming season.