Jorge Soler vs. J.D. Martinez: Who is a better fit for the Arizona Diamondbacks?

Jorge Soler and J.D. Martinez are two of the best designated hitter options on the free agent market, and with the Arizona Diamondbacks needing a DH, who would be the best fit?

Division Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two
Division Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two / Harry How/GettyImages
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Assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye, general manager Mike Hazen, and manager Torey Lovullo
Assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye, general manager Mike Hazen, and manager Torey Lovullo / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

Final Verdict

It’s hard to say who would provide the most value for the best money. They could both sign very similar contracts, somewhere in the 2-3 year range, with an AAV of around $15-$18 million. Neither really has an advantage here. Even if the years are off by one season, I think they’ll end up making the same or nearly the same on an AAV basis.

Martinez is definitely the more consistent of the two. His lowest wRC+ since his 2014 breakout campaign is 119, which was set in 2022 (excluding the 2020 season). Soler’s 126 wRC+ is the first time he’s put up a wRC+ above 100 since 2019 (again, excluding 2020). Soler’s health is also not the best. He has only played 140+ games twice in his career. Martinez has played at least 110 each season since 2014. Last year, he appeared in 113 games, the fewest since 2013. But he’s probably a much safer bet than Soler to appear in 140+ games next year.

Soler has the edge in age. He is only going into his age-32 campaign, while Martinez is four years older and going into his age-36 season. Martinez is definitely fighting off the aging curve, however, going for a more power-focused approach, even if that comes at the cost of his plate discipline. However, I could see both posting similar numbers next season. Their xwOBAs were both very similar.

It honestly feels like comparing a 1A player to a 1B player. If we are looking at a two-year deal, I think J.D. Martinez will be the better fit. Martinez proved he could change his approach and do much better. But a third year would carry him into his age-38 season. But if we are talking about a third year, Soler will likely be the better candidate. By the time the third year of his contract is up, he would be as old as Martinez is now. I also think Soler has more potential, but Martinez feels like a safer bet.

But I think, in the end, and if I were Mike Hazen, I would pursue Martinez before Soler. He’s a safer bet, there’s some familiarity here, and I think Martinez would agree to a two-year deal. By then, you may see Ivan Melendez or Gino Groover as the potential heir to the DH spot, which is another thing to consider.