March 12: The Padres have announced the signing.
March 11: Left-hander Sammy Solis’ foray into the free-agent market apparently proved to be extraordinarily brief; after being released by the Nationals on Saturday, Solis has agreed to a minor league contract with the Padres, according to Robert Murray and Dennis Lin of The Athletic (Twitter links). Solis is represented by CAA Baseball.
Following Solis’ release, manager Dave Martinez told MLB.com’s Richard Justice that the Nats opted to part ways with Solis in order to give him a chance to latch on with another club while Spring Training as still underway. It’d been determined that he wouldn’t make the team in Washington, and cutting ties with Solis not only gave him a chance to join another Major League camp in pursuit of a roster spot but also saved the Nationals a bit more than $700K of his non-guaranteed $850K salary. In that sense, the move helped out all parties, as Solis will still have more than two weeks to attempt to secure a roster spot in San Diego.
As Lin points out, the interest in Solis was heightened by the recent injury to fellow lefty reliever Jose Castillo, who sustained a flexor strain that, as of March 1, was expected to sideline him for six to eight weeks. San Diego still has multiple lefties on the roster even with Castillo out — both Aaron Loup and Robbie Erlin are expected to claim roster spots — but Solis will provide a depth piece and could yet even work his way into a somewhat unsettled Opening Day bullpen role. Kirby Yates, Adam Warren, Craig Stammen, Loup and Erlin are all set for bullpen spots, but there are at least two jobs up for grabs — perhaps three, if San Diego carries eight relievers.
Solis, 30, has had a pair of rough seasons with the Nationals — most recently working to a dismal 6.41 ERA in 39 1/3 frames last year. However, he also averaged 10.1 K/9 last season and turned in strong marks in terms of swinging-strike rate (12.9 percent) and opponents’ chase rate (31.7 percent). Solis has averaged 94 mph on his fastball in his career and has generally excelled at the Triple-A level. He also still has only three years, 61 days of MLB service time, meaning that if he does find success in the Padres’ pen, the team can control him through at least the 2021 season (and potentially 2022, depending on the timing of a promotion to the Majors).