Soler signing gives Giants consistent, matchup-proof power threat

Soler signing gives Giants consistent, matchup-proof power threat originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Midway through a lengthy first session with the media earlier this week, Bob Melvin let his excitement get the better of him. He quickly caught himself.

“Obviously, Soler is huge. Well …” Melvin said, his voice trailing off.

The three-year deal with Jorge Soler finally is official, after the veteran outfielder/designated hitter passed his physical. Soler will get $42 million with a $9 million signing bonus, $7 million in 2024 and $13 million in 2025 and 2026.

Melvin wasn't supposed to talk about his new slugger until after the physical, but he couldn't help himself earlier in the week as he talked about having more stability in the heart of the lineup. Soler is expected to be an everyday force for the Giants, providing much-needed power.

“He has always scared me, so hopefully he’s on our team scaring the other side," Melvin said on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old is coming off an All-Star season that included 36 homers, a .853 OPS and 75 RBI. Melvin wants more everyday players, period, but Soler in particular should be platoon-proof. He has a .865 OPS in his career against lefties and is at .774 against righties. Soler hit 22 homers against right-handed pitching last season and slugged .462, which would have ranked third on the Giants behind Wilmer Flores and Mike Yastrzemski. Against lefties, Soler had a .688 slugging percentage with 14 homers in 112 at-bats.

Flores figures to be the returning Giant most impacted by Soler's arrival. He was headed for right-handed DH at-bats but now primarily will play first base along with LaMonte Wade Jr. There was some thought that Michael Conforto could be a regular DH, but he should see most of his time in left field.

Soler has been set back by plenty of injuries in his career but played 137 games for the Miami Marlins last season and 149 for the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves in 2021, when he was the World Series MVP. The Giants plan to have him in the heart of their lineup every day, but when he does need rest, they know how dangerous he can be coming off the bench.

Soler pinch-hit against Logan Webb in the seventh inning last April 17 in Miami and hit a two-run blast to dead center, flipping the score and giving the Marlins a 4-3 win.

"I think every time I've seen him play or watched him play, he hits every ball hard, very hard," Webb said this week. "Sometimes very, very far. It's exciting ... it would be great to have him, obviously. That's a guy you can stick in the middle of your lineup every single day with the potential to hit 40 home runs. I don't think there's many guys in baseball that have the potential to do that every year."

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast