The Giants went 1-for-2 before Friday's arbitration deadline, reaching a one-year deal with reliever Reyes Moronta, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area, but failing to come to an agreement with second baseman Donovan Solano. The Giants likely will go to an arbitration hearing with Solano, who asked for $3.9 million, according to MLB.com, with the Giants countering at $3.25 million.
Solano was one of 13 players who failed to reach an agreement with his team before the deadline to exchange figures. Hearings are generally held during spring training, with each side arguing their case and an arbiter picking one of the two figures.
On Thursday night, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said he would expect the team to go to a hearing with anyone they did not settle with, which has been this front office's preference in arbitration.
The process was much easier with Moronta, who missed the entire 2020 season and will make $695,000 in 2021. The Giants had previously agreed to one-year deals with Alex Dickerson, Austin Slater, Trevor Gott, Darin Ruf, Jarlin Garcia and Wandy Peralta, all of whom were also arbitration-eligible.
Moronta missed the entire season as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery, but he should return to a significant role in the bullpen. The 28-year-old has a 2.66 ERA in three big league seasons and has the stuff to elevate to the closer role. The Giants don't have a clear choice on the roster right now, but Moronta also has a lot to prove this spring. Earlier this offseason, manager Gabe Kapler and pitching coach Andrew Bailey spoke to the reliever via Zoom.
"We challenged him to come to camp in his peak physical condition, we challenged him to come to camp dedicating himself to potentially being an important late-inning, high-leverage reliever for us," Kapler said in December. "He's going to have opportunities to take control of a role like that. We'll see what he looks like in spring training, and if he steps up to the plate and emerges as that guy we're going to be really excited about it."
There's far less ambiguity about Solano's role. He would have been an All-Star in a normal season and won the Silver Slugger Award for NL second basemen after hitting .326 with a .828 OPS.
Solano is set to start on Opening Day and be a regular at second base, although he could split time with Wilmer Flores if there's no DH in the NL. MLB and the MLB Players Association are still discussing that rule change.