Latest SF Giants addition addresses area of roster that was not a weakness

2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training
2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants recently finalized a three-year, $42 million deal with power-hitting DH Jorge Soler. His bat should bolster the lineup that needs more offensive production, but how much of an improvement will it be over the 2023 DH position?

Latest SF Giants addition addresses area of roster that was not a weakness

There is no denying that Soler adds a potent bat to the lineup. He registered a .250/.341/.512 line (126 wRC+) with 36 home runs, 75 RBI, and 77 runs in 580 plate appearances last season. This includes an 11.4 percent walk rate, 24.3 percent strikeout rate, and a .262 ISO.

The righty bat has clubbed at least 20 home runs in three of the last four full seasons. Plus, he has the résumé of a postseason stalwart during his lone season with the Atlanta Braves in 2021. On a different note, Soler brings a little more edge to a roster that has grown stale.

There is a lot to like with this addition. And, he is signed on for three seasons with no opt-outs, so he will be in San Francisco for a long time.

I will admit that I was a little surprised when the Giants signed Soler. For a team that aimed to get younger and more athletic this winter, adding a DH-only feels like a bit of an odd fit. He is not fast, limited defensively, and will be entering his age-32 season in 2024. These are qualities that do not tend to age well.

That said, the 10-year veteran might boast more power than just about every Giants hitter since Barry Bonds. Of course, Bonds retired after the 2007 season and he remains the last Giants hitter to blast at least 30 home runs in a season, which he did in 2004. It has been a long time since then and Soler looks poised to break that trend.

The Giants lineup definitely needs more offensive production. The lineup registered a .235/.312/.383 line (93 wRC+) in 2023. The 93 wRC+ was the 10th-lowest mark in baseball. While the lineup struggled, it was due to some extreme soft spots. This included catcher (79 wRC+), second base (72 wRC+), shortstop (70 wRC+), and left field (70 wRC+).

At all four of those positions, they were in the bottom-third in that category. In fact, they were last in terms of offensive production out of the left field position. In fairness, teams usually trade off offensive production with defensive value at catcher. The fact that they struggled offensively at catcher overlooks how good Patrick Bailey was behind the dish.

However, the Giants did not struggle to muster offense from the DH position. Their 114 wRC+ at that position was the eighth-best mark in baseball. Joc Pederson tallied a 122 wRC+ in 299 plate appearances at DH, whereas Wilmer Flores recorded a 145 wRC+ in 158 plate appearances. No other hitter on the team had more than 100 plate appearances at DH.

Of course, Pederson departed via free agency to join the Arizona Diamondbacks, so the Giants had a void to fill. The veteran bat's overall numbers declined when he was in the field, but that could be due to randomness. While Pederson's 2023 season was bumpy for a lot of reasons, he was still an above-average hitter.

The Giants replaced him with Soler who offers more power upside and is relatively platoon-proof. The right-handed bat will be in the lineup on an everyday basis. His presence changes the dynamic of the lineup. However, in a vacuum, the Giants added to an area of the roster that was not necessarily a weakness in 2023. They improved upon it with Soler. There is no denying that. How much of an improvement in terms of how it equates to wins and losses is up for debate.