Can Jorge Soler Help SF Giants Break This Two-Decade-Long Drought?

jorge soler oracle park

Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Matt Musico

The SF Giants made their latest strike in free agency on February 13 by signing outfielder/designated hitter Jorge Soler. It’ll cost them $42 million over three years, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The hope is he’ll bring the kind of power this lineup hasn’t seen in 20 years. Literally.

The last time a Giants hitter produced a 30-homer season was in 2004. It was done by Barry Bonds when he slugged 45 dingers. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reminded us of this shortly after news of the agreement hit the internet.

Giants HR Projections Get a Much-Needed Lift

Before coming to terms with Soler, San Francisco was in a sad club all by itself. FanGraphs’ ZiPS projections had the Giants as MLB’s only team without a player expected to hit 20-plus homers in 2024. Infielder David Villar was the projected leader with 18 homers. Adding Soler moves him down a spot, though. ZiPS is pegging the right-handed slugger for 23 homers this upcoming season.

Of course, Soler has flashed elite power in the past. He’s hit at least 27 homers in a season three times. This includes 48 in 2019 for the Kansas City Royals and 36 last season for the Miami Marlins. Moving to a pitcher-friendly venue like Oracle Park could put a damper on his power numbers. However, he has the kind of strength that can fight through that each year.

Even With Soler, the NL West Is Still an Uphill Climb

Signing Soler was necessary for the Giants’ offense. They may not be done, either. The club has also been linked to free agent third baseman Matt Chapman this winter (although it’s unknown if adding Soler changes things).

Even if San Francisco keeps spending money, the organization’s main focus is probably on competing for one of the three NL Wild Card spots. That’ll happen after the Los Angeles Dodgers spent $1 billion this offseason and the Arizona Diamondbacks are fresh off a World Series appearance.

Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA standings project the Giants to produce an 80.5-81.5 record while also having a 31.3% chance of qualifying for the postseason. Soler certainly helps San Francisco’s cause, but multiple things will have to go their way to be in contention down the stretch.

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