After bringing home World Series MVP honors last fall with the Atlanta Braves, former Cubs standout Jorge Soler is joining the NL East rival Marlins on a three-year, $36 million deal that includes opt-outs after both 2022 and 2023.
Atlanta acquired Soler mid-season last year – and, at the time, he was really struggling. Through his first 97 games (spent with the Royals), he batted just .192/.288/.370, striking out in nearly 27 percent of his plate appearances. But once he joined the Braves, everything changed and he batted .269/.358/.524, reducing his strikeout rate to below 19 percent in the process.
Come the postseason, he struggled in the first two rounds, but in the Fall Classic he torched Astros pitching to the tune of a 1.191 OPS over 23 plate appearances. And who could forget this prolific blast in Game 6 in Houston?
We’d heard all offseason that Miami wanted to add a power-hitting outfielder to the mix. The team reportedly had interest in another former Cubs outfielder, Nick Castellanos, but he wound up joining Kyle Schwarber in Philadelphia on a five-year, $100 million deal. Obviously, Soler comes at a fraction of the cost – but also carries a lot more risk.
We’ve already looked at his tale of two halves in 2021 – but that inconsistency spans virtually his entire big league career. Is he the guy who blasted 48 home runs back in 2019 with Kansas City or is he more the league average offensive presence he’s been more often than not? For the Marlins’ sake, they’d better hope it’s closer to the former than the latter.
As the rebuild continues down in Florida, the Fish face an uphill battle when it comes to getting back to the postseason. That division features the Phillies who have added a pair of big-time power bats this winter, the Mets, who, under Steve Cohen, have shown no regard for luxury tax thresholds in totally remaking their roster and the reigning World Series champion Braves – who have been busy this winter, as well.
Jorge Soler never really panned out the way the Cubs once envisioned
Soler had some big moments in his three years on the North Side, but never really put it all together in the way Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer envisioned when they inked the Cuban outfielder to a nine-year, $30 million deal. His tenure with the Cubs ended when Chicago traded him to the Royals prior to the 2017 season in exchange for closer Wade Davis, who took over ninth-inning duties after Aroldis Chapman re-joined the Yankees in free agency.
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Hopefully, he’ll put it all together down in Miami. Just 30 years old, if all goes well and he mashes, he could hit the open market again next offseason. If not, he’s got himself a healthy deal closer to his homeland and should be set for life regardless.