What do the SF Giants do with a struggling veteran bat?

New York Yankees v San Francisco Giants
New York Yankees v San Francisco Giants / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

Jorge Soler's SF Giants career has gotten off to a rough start. So, what should the club do with the struggling veteran bat?

What do the SF Giants do with a struggling veteran bat?

The short answer is nothing. The Giants committed to Soler as their DH for the foreseeable future when they inked him to a three-year, $42 million pact in the offseason. He was coming off of a strong 2023 campaign in which he posted an .853 OPS with 36 home runs in 580 plate appearances while earning his first NL All-Star bid.

There is always a genuine concern for how power hitters will adjust to playing half of their games at Oracle Park. However, the right-handed had been with the Miami Marlins for the past two seasons. Their home ballpark, LoanDepot Park, is one of the tougher ballparks for hitters.

The front office felt comfortable that if he could hit in Miami, it should translate favorably to San Francisco. That has not happened just yet as he has registered a .215/.294/.372 line (95 wRC+) with six home runs, 16 RBI, and 22 runs in 194 plate appearances. This includes a 9.3 percent walk rate, 22.7 percent strikeout rate, and a .157 ISO.

These are not terrible numbers. It is not like Soler's spot in the lineup is an extreme soft spot. That said, the DH needs to hit and hit a lot. Soler will not see much time in the outfield as he has been a well below-average glove in recent seasons. He generates value with his bat. That has not come to fruition yet.

As a team, the Giants have recorded a .247/.313/.380 line (103 wRC+) in 2024. The wRC+ is 10th in baseball and a surprising level of production for a team that expected to excel on pitching and defense. Soler's numbers are right in line with that. This is to say that the Giants lineup has been fine even with below-average production from the DH spot.

Soler's name will be in the lineup. Given that no injury is known, he will continue to see playing time even if the struggles continue. Of course, there are ways to work around his struggles.

Soler has been hitting lower in the lineup in recent games and could see an extra game or two on the bench until he gets going. These are ways to shave a couple of plate appearances and reallocate them to someone else. The Giants are not flush with hitters on the bench, so it is not as if there are many alternatives.

Giants manager Bob Melvin could occasionally use DH as a way to keep someone like Patrick Bailey in the lineup while giving him a day off behind the plate. That said, it is not as if Melvin will relegate Soler to a part-time player if the struggles continue.

The Giants have committed to Soler. Given his contract and lack of defensive acumen, there just is not much fungibility with his role or roster spot. He is going to get at-bats this season whether he hits or not. The veteran bat collected three hits on Sunday against the New York Yankees. It has been a slow start for Soler, but the Giants hope that this gets him going.