Jorge Soler could be a great addition to the Chicago White Sox
By Chip Egan
In a perfect world, the Chicago White Sox would have landed a player the likes of Marcus Semien, Javy Baez, or Trevor Story to fill in the void at second base and then taken care of their right field opening with a Kris Bryant, Nick Castellanos or Michael Conforto. The problem is, the lockout has put a freeze on any deal-making and several of those names (Semien, Baez) are already off the board.
While the names remaining are very intriguing and would make excellent additions to the club, questions abound as to how active the Sox will be in pursuing one of those players. Certainly, none of them will come cheap and the Sox need to figure out how to make the money work to add necessary pieces.
Personally, I would like to see either Castellanos or Bryant in right and Story over at second. A plan B would be to go after Conforto and try to add a second baseman by trading Craig Kimbrell to someone looking for a closer.
General Manager Rick Hahn has his work cut out for him when a new collective bargaining agreement is in place and teams can start back in signing free agents. Fans were not too pleased with the team failing to fill a need prior to the lockout, adding only reliever Kendall Graveman and re-signing utility player Leury Garcia.
Jorge Soler would make a great addition to the Chicago White Sox for 2022.
The White Sox have never had to pay a luxury tax by going over the salary cap, thus lower-priced options might be more the reality of what happens going forward. If that is the case, a player to keep an eye on is Jorge Soler.
The right fielder/designated hitter will turn 30 before next season and has plenty of pop in his bat. Soler split last season between the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves where he took home Most Valuable Player honors in the World Series. Soler hit three homers, drove in six, and posted a slash line of .300/.391/.800 against the Houston Astros to help the Braves win it all.
Soler had a .194 batting average in 94 games for KC before he moved to Atlanta and hit .269 over 55 games. During that time, he belted 14 homers and drove in 33 runs, which was one more homer and 4 RBI’s less than what he had for the Royals.
As a Royal back in 2019, Soler led the league in homers with 48 and in strikeouts with 178. It wasn’t necessarily feast or famine, however, as he posted a respectable .265 average. Aside from providing power at the plate, Soler can be counted on to be available just about every day.
In that 2019 season, Soler played in all 162 games. Last season, he missed only 13 games between the two teams. Over his eight seasons in the league, Soler has played 413 games in the outfield with 353 of those coming in right field.
While not a threat to win a Gold Glove, Soler has performed admirably in the field, posting a .980 fielding percentage last year with three errors in 147 chances. What might also make this an appealing destination for Soler is the ability to play with fellow Cubans Jose Abreu, Luis Robert, Yasmani Grandal, and Yoan Moncada.
Adding his bat to a lineup that also includes Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez could make for one of the most formidable offenses in baseball. Soler signed a one-year deal for $8,050,000 last season with the Royals and will certainly make more than that once the lockout comes to an end.
Since his price tag will not be in the same boat as Castellanos or Bryant, Soler may be the guy that the Sox decide makes the most sense economically.