Former Silver Slugger winner signs with Padres as prolonged free agency ends

Welcome to San Diego, Donnie Barrels.
Minnesota Twins infielder Donovan Solano
Minnesota Twins infielder Donovan Solano / David Berding/GettyImages

Donovan Solano was languishing on the free agent market for far too long. That all came to an end this week after the infielder agreed to a minor-league deal with the San Diego Padres. Solano will reportedly head to Arizona for extended spring training at the Pads training complex before joining the team at a later date.

Solano spent last season with the Minnesota Twins and hit .282/.369/.391. Padres fans are surely familiar with Solano after having watched him suit up for the Friars' NL West rival, the San Francisco Giants, for three seasons.

Solano won a Silver Slugger Award during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season while hitting .326/.365/.463 with three home runs and 29 RBI. Solano is not a power-bat, but has the ability to go gap-to-gap, and in Petco Park, that could result in a lot of doubles for Donnie Barrels.

Former Silver Slugger winner, Donovan Solano, signs with Padres

Solano is certainly an upgrade for the Padres lineup, and offers manager Mike Shildt a veteran who can play almost every infield spot. One can assume that once Solano is up to speed, he'll replace the roster spot that has been shared during the early going by both Brett Sullivan and Graham Pauley.

The Padres had been looking for an additional bat throughout the offseason, and were most often linked to former San Diego outfielder Tommy Pham. The slugger had been rumored to be mulling a one-year offer from the Padres, but instead signed a minor-league contract this week with the Chicago White Sox.

Once Manny Machado returns to third base, Solano will likely act as San Diego's DH while also giving almost every infielder a day off as needed. With Machado limited to just hitting at the onset of the 2024 season, a combination of Tyler Wade and Eguy Rosario have been manning the hot corner.

Solano isn't the big bat that the Friar faithful had been craving this winter, but the Padres have been one of the top hitting teams through the first few weeks of the season. Adding Solano will only bolster the Padres' offense moving forward.

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