Soler declines player option, becomes free agent

November 3rd, 2023

Marlins All-Star designated hitter declined his player option for 2024 and became a free agent on Thursday.

Soler, 31, bounced back after an injury-riddled 2022 to knock 36 homers and collect 75 RBIs -- both marks second-most in his 10-year MLB career -- in 137 games. He also was named to the Midsummer Classic for the first time.

"I will say this is a young team, hungry to win and with great energy, great environment,” Soler said via interpreter Luis Dorante Jr. following the club's sweep in the National League Wild Card Series. “There's a few things we still need to ... fix and improve for next season, but yeah, those are the things I'll consider.

“We've been thinking about playoffs, and we achieved that. But at this point, we have to start thinking a little bigger, right? We’ve got to think about the World Series, and that has to be part of the goals.”

Soler initially signed a free-agent contract with Miami on March 22, 2022, months after being named the ‘21 World Series MVP with Atlanta. He made $12 million during his first season, which was limited to 72 games due to pelvic and back issues. Considering his ’23 output, Soler came at a bargain at $15 million. His ’24 player option was for $9 million, with an increase by up to $4 million based on plate appearances in ’23, a figure he could easily top on the free-agent market.

Though Soler could sign a new contract with Miami, it’s more likely the organization will have to find ways to replace his pop, as he accounted for 22 percent of the Marlins’ home run total in 2023. The club scored the fifth-fewest runs and was tied for the eighth-fewest homers in MLB.

Miami must now wait on Josh Bell's decision regarding his $16.5 million player option for 2024. Bell, whom the Marlins acquired ahead of the Trade Deadline, went deep 11 times in 53 games, posting an .818 OPS.