Marlins Sign Jhonatan Solano To Minor League Contract


Yesterday the Marlins signed Jhonatan Solano to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, as reported by Joe Frisaro.

In case that name sounds familiar, it should. Solano is the brother of current Marlin, Donovan Solano. Jhonatan is the older brother of the two. He’s a 5’9 catcher who saw some time at the major league level with the Washington Nationals in both 2012 and 2013, owning a .217/2/8 slash line over 87 professional plate appearances.

Solano has been in the minors since 2006, playing in 620 games. In his years at every level from rookie to AAA, Solano is a career .247 hitter with 32 home runs and 254 RBI. He has a career 302 OBP and an OPS of just .645.

Solano may not be a great hitter, he may be short, but he is still a catcher. Much like a lefty pitcher, catchers have an easier time finding work than most positions. With reports of Rob Brantly being claimed off waivers by the White Sox earlier in the day, this signing gets the Marlins back to a full slate of catchers.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be entering the 2nd year of his three year, $21 million dollar contract. While his play last season left much to be desired, he is not at risk of losing significant playing time to Solano. In fact, Solano will most likely be at the AAA level if he is not released by the team during spring training. The Fish already have Jeff Mathis backing up Salty. Mathis is a career .200 hitter, but his defense and veteran leadership are qualities that have benefitted the team the last two seasons.

The signing of Solano does not change much of anything for the Marlins. He almost certainly will not be on the 25 man roster on opening day, and may never actually see the field in Miami. Perhaps Donovan will benefit from having his brother close. After being a hot splash in 2012, the younger Solano brother has settled around .250 and struggles to get on base.

This may not be the move Marlin fans were hoping to hear after a full day of Winter Meetings, but it’s better than no news at all – isn’t it?