The canary in the coal mine for Jorge Soler’s return to the Chicago Cubs was whether he travelled to New Orleans with the Iowa Cubs yesterday. If he did, then a return to the Cubs before Monday was highly unlikely. If he did not, then he could be back any time.
Soler did not travel with the I-Cubs.
If so, Soler presumably slots right back into the starting lineup in right field. The Cubs could elect to send a reliever down to AAA Iowa and return to a more reasonable 12 pitchers, but I suspect they’ll instead send an outfielder – Matt Szczur or Mike Baxter – down.
It was a long month without Soler in the lineup. The Cubs got a negative WAR contribution from right field over the past 30 days, with Mike Baxter, the best of the bunch, posting a .307 wOBA and 92 wRC+ while playing there. Chris Denorfia was at .304 and 89, and Junior Lake was at .144 and -20.
On the year, Soler is hitting .265/.322/.402 with a .314 wOBA and a 96 wRC+. He’s been struggling mightily with swing and miss issues, and is striking out 32.2% of the time. Hopefully the time off gave him a mental break, and he’s ready to show some more of the zone discipline for which he was relatively famous in the minors.
(Also, hopefully he’s going to get a slightly more fair strike zone than he was getting previously.)