Jorge Soler Provides Boost to Incomplete Marlins Lineup

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 02: Jorge Soler #12 of the Atlanta Braves hits a three run home run against the Houston Astros during the third inning in Game Six of the World Series at Minute Maid Park on November 02, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Miami Marlins entered the offseason with one objective: add offense.

Miami did just that Saturday by inking outfielder Jorge Soler to a three-year deal worth $39 million, per Mark Feinsand of

The Fish were nothing short of dismal on offense in 2021, finishing 27th in team wRC+ and 29th in OPS. A major reason the offense was so dreadful was a stunning lack of power in the lineup. Their .372 slugging percentage as a team was 29th in the league and their 158 homers ranked 28th.

That need for power makes Soler a solid addition for the Fish. He has the type of power that no ballpark can contain, which is huge considering loanDepot Park is notoriously unkind to deep fly balls. In fact, Baseball Savant’s data suggests Soler would have added nine home runs to his tally last season in Miami.

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Soler has immense power and it was on display on the league’s biggest stage last year. He notched three home runs in the World Series on his way to winning series MVP. His blasts included this legendary three-run shot that gave the Braves the lead in the series clincher.

Sizing Up The Fish

The signing of Jorge Soler definitely makes the Marlins lineup better, but is it enough to challenge for a postseason spot?

It is hard to make that argument considering the massive improvements other teams in the NL East have made. The Phillies are much better, the defending world champions improved, and the Mets shook up the world with their signings.

However, there is no doubt the Marlins are significantly better on paper than they were last season. Assuming they get the same performance or better from returners, they are better at every position this year than last.

The biggest improvement by far this offseason has come behind the plate. Marlin backstops ranked 28th in the league with 63 wRC+ last season and led the league in passed balls. Miami’s 28 passed balls allowed were 10 more than the next team on the list, the Los Angeles Angels.

Miami made one of the biggest upgrades any team made this winter when they acquired Jacob Stallings from the Pirates. Even his 95 wRC+ from last season will make such a difference in the lineup for Miami.

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Not to mention, he is a Gold Glove defender and allowed zero passed balls in 2021. He is also the perfect guy to handle this young, talented pitching staff in Miami and provides a massive upgrade in the game-calling department.

In another keen move, the Marlins acquired Joey Wendle from the Rays. Wendle not only provides defensive versatility around the infield, but makes the lineup deeper. Wendle’s career 103 wRC+ is a vast improvement over what the Marlins were running out there when injuries occurred in the infield.

Improving the offense was a major task and involved upgrading not just the top part of the roster, but the bottom of it as well. The signing of Soler adds more depth and power to the roster and makes the lineup deeper.

All of a sudden, Miami’s lineup looks like a solid offense. Still, there is still one key addition they need to make.

Bigger Fish To Catch?

While the main priority was offense, under that umbrella was adding a center fielder. So far, the Marlins have not done that.

They have continuously said they feel comfortable enough with Avisail García’s defense to play him in center, but that is not the ideal option. Of course it should not be, Garcia has -10 defensive runs saved in center in his career. In the other two outfield spots, he is a perfectly average defender based on his zero DRS.

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Jorge Soler is not a center fielder either. He has never played there and is much worse defensively in the corers than García, posting a disastrous -48 DRS over his career.

For now, the plan seems to be playing García in center with Soler and Jesús Sánchez in the corners.

However, the best case is to acquire a center fielder that would allow Soler to DH and put Sánchez and García in the corners.

This presents an interesting opportunity in which either Garrett Cooper or Jesús Aguilar becomes expendable. For now they will split duties between 1B and DH, but both carry trade value. They could be good options to use either in a trade for a center fielder or to beef up the back end of the bullpen.

The Marlins have been aggressive in pursuit of a center fielder but have had no luck, per Craig Mish of the Miami Herald.

The Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds is a name that has been floated a lot, but a deal has been extremely difficult to find. Pittsburgh has no real reason to trade their star center fielder, who has four years of control left, unless the package overwhelms.

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The Marlins tried other options, such as the A’s Ramon Laureano, but decided against it according to Mish.

Miami’s roster is not complete until they lock down a long-term center fielder. Depending on who they acquire, it can easily launch them into a playoff contender. It will also make the acquisition of Soler look a whole lot better to fans. He would go from the Marlins big free agent signing to a nice complimentary piece alongside their new center fielder.

<a href="http://<!– wp:embed {"url":"\u0026amp;t=GKKakNqXITW4OScaBFmzzw","type":"rich","providerNameSlug":"twitter","responsive":true} –> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-rich is-provider-twitter wp-block-embed-twitter"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> </div></figure> Reports suggest the Marlins will continue their pursuit, but it gets increasingly difficult each day closer to Opening Day. They also still need to add bullpen help and are apparently looking to do so.

Jorge Soler provides a big boost to the Marlins, but it is not big enough. The team is close, one big-time acquisition could turn them into a contender for a playoff spot. It creates frustration among Marlins fans, who want to see their team make the move that can take them to the next step.

It is also because they know without a big move, it is a long way to look up at the rest of a terrifying NL East.