Yankees could target Miami slugger to bolster outfield

jorge soler, yankees
Apr 28, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins designated hitter Jorge Soler (12) hits a single during the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

It is no secret that the New York Yankees urgently require assistance in the outfield. Although we have previously discussed the Chicago Cubs’ Cody Bellinger and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Tyler O’Neill, several other candidates could be targeted by General Manager Brian Cashman at this year’s deadline.

Currently, it is only May, and the Yankees still have ample time to make a comeback, particularly as their health improves in the coming weeks. Harrison Bader anticipates returning later this week, and Aaron Judge appears to have avoided serious injury to his hip. While the starting rotation continues to be a weakness, the team will eventually welcome back Luis Severino and Carlos Rodon.

In the interim, it is safe to assume that Cashman will be actively searching the market for potential trade opportunities. This is where Jorge Soler, an outfielder for the Miami Marlins, comes into the picture.

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Yankees-Marlins mock trade:

Yankees receive: Jorge Soler

Soler, a 31-year-old power hitter, launched 48 home runs in 2019 with the Kansas City Royals and 27 home runs in 2021. Last year, he batted .207 with a .295 on-base percentage and achieved a 98 wRC+. He hit 13 home runs, drove in 34 runs, and had a 29.4% strikeout rate.

Though Soler’s power has diminished with age, he still has two years remaining on his contract at a reasonable $12 million per season. He can occupy an outfield position and serve as the designated hitter, especially if Giancarlo Stanton sustains another injury, which seems probable.

In 27 games this season, Soler is batting .221 with a .308 on-base percentage, five home runs, 10 runs batted in, and a 23.4% strikeout rate.

Defensively, Soler has played only 37 innings in the outfield this season, maintaining a perfect fielding percentage. While he is not known for his defensive prowess, often proving more of a liability than an asset, the Yankees are primarily seeking offensive contributions at this juncture. Given their roster of multiple elite defensive outfielders, focusing solely on defense does not seem to be yielding victories.

Since Jorge’s contract is substantial, including a player option after the 2023 season, the Yankees likely would not need to relinquish much to acquire his services. However, it is crucial to remember that the Marlins might choose to retain him, as their roster is strong and they could be vying for a playoff position.

Marlins receive: Andres Chaparro, Blas Castano

To acquire Soler, the Yankees would likely need to offer a package of prospects, such as Triple-A power hitter Andres Chaparro and Double-A starting pitcher Blas Castano. This trade could be enticing enough to persuade Miami.

Chaparro is currently batting .222 with a .287 on-base percentage in 25 Triple-A games this year, and he has already hit eight home runs and driven in 14 runs. Remarkably, he has two games this season with three home runs, demonstrating his exceptional power.

One could argue that the Yankees should promote Chaparro to provide his skills as a designated hitter, injecting some much-needed power into their relatively weak batting lineup. Castano, conversely, boasts a 1.80 ERA over 10 innings pitched this season. The 24-year-old prospect threw 105 innings for Hudson Valley and High-A last year, achieving a 3.49 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 33 walks.

Although it is unlikely that either Chaparro or Castano will become prominent major league players, the Yankees might want to capitalize on their value now by obtaining a quality hitter who can bolster the lineup. Such a player could occupy the corner outfield positions and serve as a designated hitter when Stanton is unavailable.