Giants agree to deal with infielder Solarte

February 15th, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Seeking to bring another versatile infielder into the fold, the Giants on Friday agreed to terms with on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
Solarte's deal will be worth $1.75 million with an additional $250,000 available in incentives if he makes the Major League roster, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
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Solarte, 31, can provide coverage at all four infield spots for the Giants, though the bulk of his experience has come at third base. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Solarte also expressed a willingness to get some exposure in left field, a position he hasn't played since 2014.
"I said, 'Hey, how do you feel about playing left?' And he said, 'I'll play center if you want me to,'" Zaidi said. "I said, 'Oh, we'll wait on that.' He's played everywhere, he's a very confident defender, and that's a big part of the battle when you're moving around."
A switch-hitter, Solarte enjoyed a career-best season with the Padres in 2016, when he batted .286 with an .808 OPS and 15 home runs in 109 games. Hampered by a right oblique strain, Solarte hit .266 with a .655 OPS for the Blue Jays last year, though he finished the season with 17 homers, which would have led the Giants.
Solarte has reached double-digit home runs in each of his five seasons in the Majors while managing to keep his career strikeout rate at 12.1 percent, making a rare switch-hitting bat that can blend contact and power.
"You don't see that with the double-figure power that much in the game anymore," Zaidi said. "It's some hitting ability with some power and some contact. It's a nice all-around package to be able to put in our lineup."

The Giants have been looking to add more depth to their infield contingent, which currently features at first base, at second, at third and at shortstop.
Solarte will likely join and as the Giants' primary backup infielders. Abiatal Avelino, and are the three other reserve options on the 40-man roster.
Solarte, outfielder and catchers and have all signed Minor League contracts with the Giants in recent days, improving the club's depth at positions of need.
"The fact that those are [Minor League] deals, it creates a competitive element where some of our younger guys still can feel they have path to making the team and getting an opportunity as well," Zaidi said. "That kind of healthy competition in camp is something we're hoping to achieve, and having these guys on NRI deals helps create that dynamic."
More acquisitions are likely to happen in the coming weeks, particularly since the Giants could use more help in the outfield. remains on the market, but Zaidi said he is prepared to go in another direction if the superstar outfielder elects to sign elsewhere.
"We've had trade conversations with teams about certain players that started in 2018 that kind of are continuing now," Zaidi said. "It's a little bit of a function of the slow market, but I think with anything that's a hypothetical, it's a good idea to have alternatives and not put all your eggs in any one basket."