The 32-year-old Soler opted out of the final year and $13MM of a three-year, $36MM deal with the Marlins at the beginning of the offseason. That seemed like a foregone conclusion after the 2019 American League home run leader (48) posted one of his best seasons in 2023. Serving as a part-time right fielder and regular DH in Miami, Soler .250/.341/.512 (126 wRC+) with 36 home runs. Last year’s 11.4% walk rate and 24.3% strikeout rate were both the second-best marks of his career, and Soler continued to deliver his typical brand of loud contact. His 91.3 mph average exit velocity (81st percentile) and 48% hard-hit rate (84th percentile) both placed him among the best in the game.
A fit in San Francisco seems fairly obvious. Soler would immediately become the top power threat in a generally light-hitting Giants offense. Last season, San Francisco 19th in the big leagues in home runs, 24th in runs scored, 28th in average (.235), 24th in OBP (.312) and 27th in slugging (.383).
While Soler likely won’t see much time in the outfield, he’s a nice right-handed complement to left-handed corner outfielders like Michael Conforto and Mike Yastrzemski. Production against left-handed pitchers, in particular, was a problem for the 2023 Giants (.245/.306/.376). Soler’s mammoth .277/.393/.688 output against lefties last year would represent an enormous boost to San Francisco in such situations. Soler could join Conforto and Yastrzemski in a rotation through the corner outfield spots and designated hitter, spending more time at the latter.
From a payroll vantage point, the Giants can easily accommodate Soler or just about any free agent on the market. Their offseason trades shipping out Anthony DeSclafani, Mitch Haniger and Ross Stripling have helped to drop the payroll to a projected $154MM — well shy of the franchise-record $200MM. They’re similar well-situated with regard to the luxury tax — about $37MM shy of the first threshold, per Roster Resource.
Soler has drawn interest from teams several teams this winter, but many have since filled their designated hitter vacancies with more affordable free agents. The Mariners (Mitch Garver, two years/$24MM), Blue Jays (Justin Turner, one year/$13MM) and Diamondbacks (Joc Pederson, one year, $12.5MM) have all gone in other directions. Pederson, notably, was one of the top power hitters on the same Giants roster that’s now said to be in talks with Soler. His departure only further underscores the need to replenish the lineup with someone capable of hitting in the middle of the order.
The Giants have been active in free agency this winter but were unable to secure top targets Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, both of whom not only signed elsewhere but landed with the archrival Dodgers. San Francisco did lure top KBO outfielder Jung Hoo Lee to Oracle Park on a six-year, $113MM contract, and they’ve also signed flamethrowing Jordan Hicks with an eye toward moving him from the bullpen to the rotation. Backup catcher Tom Murphy also inked a two-year, $8.3MM deal. Generally speaking, however, it’s been a tough offseason in terms of player acquisition for the Giants. Adding Soler would be the biggest boost the team has made to its lineup thus far, though time will tell whether a deal ultimately comes to fruition.