It appears that the Houston Astros are in the market for an additional outfielder after it was reported they are in talks with the reigning World Series’ Most Valuable Player, Jorge Soler.
This was reported by MLB insiders, Héctor Gómez and Mike Rodriguez, who also listed the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers as other teams with interest.
Soler’s name is likely still embedded in the heads of Astros fans, as he was absolutely on fire during the Atlanta Braves’ World Series Championship run. In the 2021 World Series, Soler won the MVP award after putting together a slash line of .300/.391/.800 with six hits (three of them homers) and six RBI against the Astros.
Soler was the Braves’ offense during some of the biggest moments of the series. He hit a home run to lead off the top of the first inning in Game 1. He smacked what would end up being a game-winning homer as a pinch-hitter in Game 4. He provided another three-run homer in the third inning of Game 6, which was all the offense the Braves needed to win that particular game.
Nothing about Soler’s career numbers standout when compared to other outfielders presently on the market. The exception to that being his tremendous power potential. The right-handed outfielder hit 48 home runs for the Kansas City Royals in 2019 and 27 home runs for the Royals and Braves in 2021.
However, the offensive tear he went on after being traded from the Kansas City to Atlanta shined light on his potential for many teams. Prior to the trade, Soler was slashing a less-than-aspiring .192/.288/.370 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI through 90 games with the Royals.
In his other 55 games with the Braves, Soler matched his power and production numbers with 14 home runs and 33 RBI with a much improved slash line of .269/.358/.524.
Where would Jorge Soler fit into the Astros outfield?
Defensively, Soler’s fit with the Astros is a bit of a puzzle. He is primarily a right fielder. Not a very good one either.
In 2021 alone, he sported a -11 DRS, -6.9 UZR and a DWAR of -1.4. The Astros could move resident right fielder, Kyle Tucker, into centerfield allowing Soler to cover right.
Soler has also been getting a lot of buzz as a potential designated hitter for many teams with the league moving to a universal designated hitter. So, there is the option of moving Tucker to centerfield, Michael Brantley to right field and moving Yordan Alvarez into left field, opening the designated hitter position open for Soler.
Why would the Astros be intersted in Soler without a definite position to slot him in? It likely has to do with his value.
Soler isn’t going to command a massive contract. From my guestimate, I would project his contract to be a short-term deal with an AAV of around $10 million to $12.5 million. He packs a lot of punch for a contract of that size.
Oddly enough, the Astros did have interest in Soler when he was an international free agent long ago, prior to him signing with the Chicago Cubs.