According to a report by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the SF Giants won their arbitration case against second baseman Donovan Solano, setting his 2021 salary at $3.25 million. Solano and his representation filed for a $3.9 million salary. However, the adjudicators ruled in favor of the organization.
Solano has been one of the best acquisitions in Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi’s short tenure. After a breakout 2019 campaign, he started nearly every game for the team in 2020 and despite some uncharacteristic defensive struggles, finished the year with a .326/.365/.463 triple-slash that was good enough to win a Silver Slugger award.
The result does nothing to impact the Giants roster, and frankly, does nothing substantial beyond saving ownership $650,000 that will not go to Solano. Given how far the franchise’s payroll is already below previous marks, it seems like a remarkably minimal sum to withhold from one of the roster’s most consistent players over the past two seasons. In fact, according to FanGraphs, Solano produced 2.2 wins above replacement worth $17.2 million from 2019-2020 while earning less than $1.9 million.
Going to arbitration with any player marks a noticeable departure by Zaidi from the Giants’ front-offices under Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans, who consistently avoided arbitration for nearly the past two decades. Before Solano’s case, the Giants had not gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since 2003 when the front office did with catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski was notoriously upset by parts of the team’s case and was considered such a problem in the clubhouse that the front office non-tendered him at the end of the following season.
The SF Giants have won their arbitration case against second baseman Donovan Solano and effectively cost one of their most popular players $650,000. In a league without a salary cap on one of the wealthiest franchises in professional sports, the savings does nothing but ensure a marginally smaller number on ownership’s expense report every month.