For the first time in 18 years, the Giants went to arbitration with a player.
Donovan Solano was one of the San Francisco Giants most valuable players in 2020. Among hitters with at least 150 plate appearances, he finished fifth in OPS and fourth in OPS+. He was third among position players in rWAR and won the Silver Slugger Award.
And then he lost his arbitration case.
Solano presented his number, which was $650,000 above what the Giants presented. The two sides couldn’t reach a compromise, and so they went to arbitration.
It was the Giants first arbitration case in 18 years, since they went to arbitration with … uhh … well … A.J. Pierzynski.
May this pretty please end better than that one did.
The Giants won, likely because Solano does not have a long track record of success, and the arbiter likely saw his 2020 as something inhabiting the vague ballpark of an outlier. And in many ways, that’s what makes the arbitration battle so depressing.
Solano is a 33 year old, with two years and roughly 400 plate appearances to support his claim as a quality MLB player. He’ll reach free agency next year and he’s not going to be taking home a nine-figure contract. He probably won’t even be taking home an eight-figure contract.
And so the San Francisco Giants LLC, a multi-billion dollar corporation, win their $650,000 contract dispute with someone who has made a few million dollars in his career and, if he’s able to maintain his performance, will make a few million more.
Business may be business, but it’s hard to feel warm and joyous about that one.