Marlins outfielder Jorge Soler has been on the injured list since July due to low back spasms. Though he’s tried ramping up baseball activities since then, he isn’t likely to make it back to the team this year. Manager Don Mattingly tells MLB.com that Soler’s return is “probably out the window.” Soler himself tells Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El Extra Base “I don’t think I’ll be back this season.”
It will go down as a disappointing campaign for the slugger, who rode into the offseason riding high, having just helped Atlanta win a championship and earned World Series MVP in the process. The Marlins, stacked with pitching but light on hitting, grabbed Soler and Avisaíl García in free agency, hoping to add some thump to their lineup. Unfortunately, both have dealt with injuries and underperformance this season. Soler only got into 72 games before this back issue cropped up and was a below-average hitter before then. If he is indeed done for the season, he will finish with a batting line of .207/.295/.400. That production is 3% lower than that of the league average hitter, according to wRC+.
The three-year, $36MM deal that Soler and the Marlins signed in the winter allows him to opt-out after each season. Soler tells Álvarez-Montes that he hasn’t thought about his decision and has yet to speak to his agent about it. However, it’s hard to imagine Soler deciding to leave money on the table and return to the open market, especially with this lingering injury situation. He’s earning $12MM this year and is set to earn $15MM in 2023 and another $9MM in 2024, with that 2024 salary able to increase based on plate appearance bonuses.
If Soler is back with the Fish next year, they will surely be hoping for better results from both he and García. As a team, the Marlins have hit .229/.294/.363, producing an 86 wRC+, ranking them 27th in the league. That’s largely why they’ve had another season of poor results, going 57-82 so far. Solar and García are the only players on the team making eight-figure salaries and that is set to be the case again next year. Bounceback seasons from those two will be integral to better performance in 2023, though the club is reportedly going to try to use its pitching depth to improve the offense this winter.