Up until the last moment, the Toronto Blue Jays had been showing interest in corner outfielder/designated hitter Jorge Soler. The 31-year-old has largely been viewed as one of the more dangerous power hitters on the open market in an otherwise weak free agent pool.
In a late night announcement, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle said that Soler is signing a three-year contract with the Giants. He will now join catcher Tom Murphy and outfielder Jung Hoo Lee as the Giants' newest additions to their offense. The club has also been aggressively tied to Matt Chapman, who is an ideal fit for both the Giants and the Blue Jays.
Earlier in the offseason, it was rumored that he was picking between two teams and the Jays were one of them. That goes to show how quickly things can change, as his new team is not either of the ones he was reportedly choosing between. The 31-year-old has largely been viewed as one of the more dangerous power hitters on the open market in an otherwise weak free agent pool.
Soler's game is rather one-dimensional, but he brings a ton of value in his own way. He's a streaky hitter who is typically either very hot or very cold at the plate, but the bat is always going to bring 30-homer pop to the yard. Last year, he made it into 137 games and rewarded the Marlins with 36 homers and 75 RBI along with an OPS+ of 128.
Durability has been an issue for the slugger over the years, which could've played a role in teams not striking on the chance to sign him earlier. In a big league career spanning 10 years, Soler has appeared in over 100 games just four times, including a 162-game showing in 2019. When he's healthy, he has shown time and time again why he keeps getting paid: he's got some serious thump.
In 2023, Soler finished in the 93th percentile in xwOBA, 94th in xSLG, 91st in Barrel % and 83rd in BB %. He is a legitimate offensive threat and is going to be a powerhouse in the middle of the Giants' lineup.
As for the Blue Jays, this leaves them in the "just short" category once again. Unfortunately, this is a continuation of a pattern we've been seeing all offseason. Virtually every top player on both the free agent and trade markets have been "on the radar" of the Jays' front office, but they have yet to secure any fish bigger than the likes of Justin Turner, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Kevin Kiermaier.
Moving forward, Cody Bellinger and J.D. Martinez are the last two big power bats left on the market. Bellinger is younger and has more upside, so he's likely to command a high-dollar, multi-year pact, while Martinez, who is closer to 40 than he is 30, could be had on a short-team deal that may fit the Blue Jays' plans better.