Yankees Re-Sign Infielder Donovan Solano to MiLB Deal

Sep 21, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Donovan Solano (57) throws the ball to first base against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 21, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Donovan Solano (57) throws the ball to first base against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New York Yankees have re-signed infielder Donovan Solano to a minor league contract after outrighting him off the 40-man roster following the 2016 regular season.

After signing former Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada to a minor league deal on Monday, the New York Yankees made another move to shore up their infield depth this week, bringing back 28-year-old utility infielder Donovan Solano, also on a MiLB pact according to Baseball America’s most recent minor league free agent update.

Solano was one of the key contributors to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre’s championship run last year, hitting .319/.349/.436 in 546 plate appearances for the Railriders, leading the International League in hits with 163 and being named the league’s top second baseman for the 2016 campaign.

His strong performance earned him a surprise September call-up to replace Starlin Castro when the second baseman went down with a hamstring strain. Solano held his own down the stretch as the temporary starter at the keystone, hitting .227/.261/.455 with two doubles and a homer in 23 plate appearances.

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2016 was not Solano’s first taste of MLB action. He received considerable playing time as a utilityman with the Miami Marlins from 2012-2015, compiling a .257/.307/.328 (75 OPS+) in 1145 plate appearances during his four years with the Fish.

With the Yankees facing a roster crunch going into the winter, Solano was one of the first to go, being outrighted off the 40-man roster back on October 10th. Because he has accrued enough major league service time, Solano was able to elect free agency rather than accept a minor league assignment.

Solano and Tejada should both get the opportunity to compete with incumbent utility infielders Ronald Torreyes and Rob Refsnyder for a bench job next spring. If they don’t win a spot out of camp, they seem like a good bet to serve as Scranton Wilkes-Barre’s starting double-play combo until an injury at the big league level presses them into service.

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Both Tejada and Solano are nice pickups for the Yankees with very little downside. They each have pretty lengthy big league resumes and could fill a hole in New York’s infield for a month or two without hurting the club too much.