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SF Giants: Infielder Donovan Solano does not Reach Agreement

Donovan Solano #7 of the SF Giants fields the ball against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 23, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Donovan Solano #7 of the SF Giants fields the ball against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 23, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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SF Giants
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 21: Donovan Solano #7 of the San Francisco Giants hits an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 21, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The SF Giants came to terms on a one-year contract with reliever Reyes Moronta for $695,000, but the same cannot be said for infielder Donovan Solano.

On November 20, the Giants agreed to terms with all of their arbitration-eligible players that they tendered a contract except for Moronta and Solano. Friday was the deadline to work out a deal with the remaining players before going to arbitration. The Giants beat the deadline with Moronta, but there is a gap between team and player with Solano:

There is still plenty of time for both parties to work out a deal before the arbitration hearing takes place, and that is often when an agreement comes together. That said, it is rare that the Giants even get to this stage.

If they go to arbitration, both team and player will present their respective cases and the arbiters will decide if Solano gets paid $3.9 million or $3.25 million. It is a tough process for the player because the team is arguing why the player does not deserve as much money as his party submitted.

A.J. Pierzynski was the last player the SF Giants went to arbitration with shortly after being acquired from the Minnesota Twins. He submitted a proposal for $3.5 million, whereas San Francisco countered with $2.25 million. The arbiters ruled in favor of the catcher, and the Giants-Pierzysnki relationship never really recovered.

Solano has had a late-career renaissance since joining the Giants after being a journeyman minor leaguer for years. San Francisco signed the right-handed bat to a minor-league pact before the 2019 season, and he has hit ever since then.

In two seasons with the Giants, he has slashed .328/.362/.459 (121 OPS+) with 28 doubles, seven home runs, and 52 RBI across 405 plate appearances. After posting a surprising .330 batting average in 2019, Solano was in a position to prove that it was not a fluke and he did just that.

The 33-year-old registered an .828 OPS in 203 plate appearances during a pandemic-shortened 2020 season while bringing home the National League Silver Slugger Award for second base.

Solano’s production has been a pleasant surprise thus far. However, the veteran infielder becomes a free agent after 2021. Given that he is heading into his age-33 season, there are not many more opportunities left for him to score a payday, so his decision to play hardball is understandable

For years, the prior regime did well to avoid arbitration with the players because it is a tough process for those that go through it. Since Farhan Zaidi has taken over the reins, he has continued that tradition.

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Solano’s case is the first threat to that tradition, but the gap between team and player is not significant. They still have time to work out a deal with Solano before going to arbitration and there is confidence that they will work it out.

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