The Miami Marlins continued to add proven bats to their lineup for 2022. Over the weekend, the club came to an agreement with veteran slugger Jorge Soler on a three-year, $36 million deal. The eight-year, Cuban-born corner outfielder comes to Miami following his World Series MVP run with the Atlanta Braves.
The 2021 season found Miami mired near the bottom in most impact offensive categories. This offseason spending spree (by Marlins’ standards) goes a long way to addressing some of those failings. The addition of Soler, as well as those of Avisail Garcia, Jacob Stallings, and Joey Wendle, provides Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly options to consistently field a competent lineup.
— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) March 20, 2022
Soler Provides Power to Marlins Lineup
Jorge Soler provides the punchless Marlins offense with some real power. The 30-year-old led the American League in home runs (48) in 2019 while playing with the Kansas City Royals. He helped propel the Braves to their World Series title last season, connecting on three blasts during the six-game series.
SOLER HAS LEFT THE BUILDING. pic.twitter.com/IOc5wXreRb
— MLB (@MLB) November 3, 2021
Soler struggled to start last season in Kansas City, but once he made it to the Braves, he broke out. With Atlanta, Soler slashed .269/.358/.524, with 14 homers and 33 RBI. In the World Series, he slashed .300/.391/.800 with those three homers. His performance earned him MVP, joining Marlins pitcher Livan Hernandez (1997) as the only Cuban-born winners of the honor.
His addition to the lineup can only improve last year’s results. Miami languished near the bottom in most offensive metrics. The Marlins ranked 29th in RBI (594), Runs (623), Slugging Percentage (.372), and OPS (.670). Miami finished 28th in Home Runs (158) and 27th in Doubles (226).
The Marlins signing of Jorge Soler continues an offseason push to add more pop at the plate. Prior to the lockout, Miami inked Garcia to a four-year, $53 million deal. Since the start of 2019, those two have combined to hit over 150 home runs.
Miami wasn’t the only team in on Soler, either. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand noted more than a half dozen teams showed interest, including the Braves, Padres, and Rockies. Soler becomes the 11th Cuban-born player in Marlins history and first outfielder. (10th, if don’t count RHP Yoan López who the team claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies last week.)
Marlins Might Not Be Done
Last Friday, Marlins general manager Kim Ng said the team still sought “a center fielder who is an offensive threat.” Ng called it the team’s “primary objective.” She noted they were ready to pivot toward “Plan B,” which apparently was the signing of Jorge Soler.
Jesus Sanchez now looks like the potential Opening Day centerfielder, flanked defensively by Soler in left and Garcia in right. That’s not to say the Marlins are done dealing, though.
Reminder: Soler is a big addition but necessarily the final one. Trades still possible. Reynolds still in picture. Even if not Opening Day, trade deadline could revisit. Meanwhile other CF trade scenarios in works and bullpen also to be addressed. #Marlins @ManOn2nd
— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) March 20, 2022
Efforts to acquire Pirates centerfielder Bryan Reynolds seem to have stalled, with the Marlins balking at Pittsburgh’s asking price. According to Man On Second’s Joe Frisaro, the Marlins “weren’t planning on” trading either J.J. Bleday or Max Meyer in a package for Reynolds.
The teams could still circle around toward a deal, especially since Reynolds has reportedly turned down multiple extension offers from the Pirates. The Marlins have already made a trade with Pittsburgh this offseason, acquiring catcher Jacob Stallings in exchange for RHP Zach Thompson, and two of Miami’s Top-30 Prospects, RHP Kyle Nicolas (No. 16) and OF Connor Scott (No. 23).
With the lineup seemingly set, the Marlins should look to secure another high-leverage arm for the bullpen. At present, Dylan Floro and Anthony Bender stand as Miami’s primary options at closer.
Floro pitched well last season, posting a 2.81 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, with 15 saves (all coming after the July trade of Yimi Garcia). He did have six blown saves, though. Bender posted a 2.79 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, with three saves and two blown saves as a rookie.
Some interesting names remain among free-agent relievers, including several former Marlins. Miami could turn to the trade market here once again, maybe for someone like White Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel, who’s in a suddenly crowded bullpen in Chicago.
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