Donovan Solano has been one of the most compelling players on the SF Giants these past two seasons. He came from seemingly out of nowhere to hit .330/.360/.456 with four home runs and 23 RBI in 2019. Surely, he could not back up those numbers with another impressive 2020, right?
Wrong. Solano had another stellar 2020, hitting .326/.365/.463 with three homers and 29 RBI as the team’s starting second baseman for most of the shortened season. He even won the Silver Slugger for his efforts in the pandemic-shortened season.
Should the SF Giants trade Donovan Solano?
So, the fact that this article is entertaining the possibility that the Giants trade Solano may seem somewhat blasphemous. But given that Solano is 33 years old, in the final year of his contract, and that the Giants signed infielder baseman Tommy La Stella to a three-year contract, trading Solano may not be so crazy.
La Stella was solid last year with the Angels and A’s, hitting .281/.370/.449 with four home runs (including a memorable one against the Giants) and 14 RBI. However, La Stella’s All-Star caliber 2019 season is likely what got the Giants excited enough to give La Stella a multi-year contract. That year with the Angels he hit .295/.346/.486 with 16 homers and 44 RBI.
No one can say for sure whether La Stella can match those numbers in the orange and black, but the Giants would not have given him the deal they did if they felt his best days were behind him.
There is a case to be made for some sort of platoon at second base between La Stella and Solano, but it is important to remember that there are other players vying for infield spots like Wilmer Flores who has the added benefit of being able to play first base and team control beyond the season.
With rosters cutting down to 26m the Giants could conceivably come out of camp with the infielders on their roster being: Longoria, Crawford, Belt, Solano, La Stella, and Flores, but that would leave little flexibility for the outfield and bullpen. It seems like something is going to have to give and Solano’s back-to-back strong campaigns might make him a prime candidate to trade for a lower minor-league depth piece.
It is important to note that having too many good players is never a bad thing. We should all be glad that the SF Giants currently have two proven second basemen on the roster who have shown that they can rake. The question is whether the front office will view Donovan Solano and Tommy La Stella as valuable enough to sacrifice roster depth elsewhere.