The SF Giants have suffered some notable departures this offseason with Buster Posey's surprising retirement announcement and Kevin Gausman signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, but one steady contributor likely played his last game in San Francisco as well. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com confirmed that the Baltimore Orioles checked in on veteran infielder Donovan Solano before the lockout.
Orioles checked in on veteran SF Giants second baseman before lockout
It is no surprise to see the Orioles cast a wide net to improve the roster as they have been one of the worst teams in baseball over the last few seasons including a 2021 campaign in which they posted a 52-110 overall record. They could use help at just about every position.
However, Baltimore has made several moves this offseason that might preclude them from signing Solano. The first move was adding Rougned Odor on a major league pact before the lockout was initiated. This was followed by a more recent move with Shed Long Jr. signing a minors pact.
Both Odor and Long Jr. have substantial pro experience at second base, so there might not be any room for Solano. The veteran infielder spent the last three seasons with the Giants organization after signing a minor league deal in January of 2019.
That move did not get a lot of attention at the time, but it is one that paid dividends for the Giants. Before signing with San Francisco, the eight-year veteran had bounced around the league, making stops with the St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations.
He began the 2019 campaign in Triple-A, but he earned a midseason promotion after posting an .829 OPS in 97 plate appearances with the Sacramento River Cats. That hot bat never cooled down over the next two seasons as he slashed .328/.362/.459 (121 OPS+) with seven home runs and 52 RBI with the Giants.
He continued to be a productive role player for the Giants in 2021, but not quite on the same level as the previous two seasons. Last year, he slashed .280/.344/.404 (103 OPS+) with seven home runs and 31 RBI while being worth 1.1 WAR in 344 plate appearances with San Francisco.
When Solano debuted with the Marlins in 2012 as a 24-year-old rookie, he was known as a glove-first infielder but his defense had regressed in recent seasons. He was limited primarily to second base in 2021 as the coaching staff seemed hesitant in moving him elsewhere.
The Giants could use a right-handed-hitting infielder like Solano, but someone who is more versatile. That is not the veteran infielder at this stage in his career. More than likely, they will bring in some utility infield competition to pair with Thairo Estrada and Mauricio Dubón.
The Giants may not have an opening for Solano, but he is a fit for a lot of teams around the league. The Orioles might no longer be interested, but the 34-year-old infielder will still be able to carve out a role on a major league next season.