The Miami Marlins have two players who have player options on next season, and will decide whether they stay or will test the free agent market. Those players are designated hitter Jorge Soler and first baseman Josh Bell. Soler's option is for $13 million and Bell's is for $16.5 million. The Fish are facing a major dilemma in 2024, and a GM search this off-season. Putting Bell's decision aside for this article, what if Soler opts out?
The Miami Marlins should let designated hitter Jorge Soler walk if he declines his player option.
Jorge Soler is coming off of a big season with the Miami Marlins. He batted .250/.341/.512, with 36 home runs and 75 RBI in 137 games and 504 AB. Soler is terrible defensively and was worth a very poor -1.5 dWAR. He was also worth 1.8 WAR in general, which is also not very impressive to be honest. That said, the power is obviously very very impressive.
If Jorge Soler picks up his player option, then there's nothing for the Miami Marlins to do, other then hope that he has another solid power year in 2024. If he declines it however, it's time to simply let him walk away. Why? He's just too inconsistent and injury-prone to commit multiple years to.
First off, will Jorge Soler actually decline his player option? I'm pretty positive that he will. He made $15 million this season, and I don't see why he would want to accept a pay cut. It's also a poor free agent market for hitters, so it doesn't make much sense for him to pass on a potential big pay day.
Jorge Soler has been amazingly inconsistent throughout his career, so much so that committing multiple years to see him is an incredibly high gamble. Soler started off as a top prospect for the Chicago Cubs. He seemed to be turning into a bust, as he batted just .258/.328/.434 from 2014-2016 while also failing to play over 101 games due to injury issues.
The Chicago Cubs traded Soler to the Kansas City Royals, who were hoping that he can finally stay healthy and live up to the hype with them. He failed to do that in the next two seasons, batting .228/.322/.403 in just 96 games for both seasons. Just when it seemed as if he was done, he finally lived up to the hype in 2019. That season he batted .265/.354/.569, with 48 home runs and 117 RBI in 162 games and 589 AB.
It seemed that Jorge Soler has finally broken out, but he was back to struggling in 2020. That season he batted .228/.326/.443. Was it due to the COVID restrictions? 2021 was the season to see if 2019 or 2020 was the fluke. He batted .223/.316/.432 split between Kansas City and the Atlanta Braves, making 2019 look like the fluke. That is if you look at the overall batting line, he batted .269/.358/.524 upon the trade. He also won the World Series MVP.
Kim Ng was impressed enough to sign Jorge Soler to a multi-year deal. The result? He was terrible in 2022, batting .207/.295/.400 in just 72 games and 270 AB. 2023 has of course been much better, but he still missed some time with injury.
Jorge Soler will likely be looking at something along the lines of 3 years/$15-16 million AAV. That's way too much for the Miami Marlins to pay an injury-prone and streaky poor defender. If he declines his option, the new GM should let him walk.