Even though the Jorge Polanco trade dominated the headlines in the worlds of Mariners fans, that wasn't the only move that happened. There was actually both a trade and a free agent signing that happened, each having a chance to make an impact on the major league roster for the Mariners. The trade was for Samad Taylor, and the free agent signing was former Rangers top 100 prospect, Nick Solak.
Solak is an interesting addition to the Mariners, and the way they signed him is noteworthy. This just wasn't a run-of-the-mill minor league signing, but one that comes with the added bonus of a Spring Training invite.
Mariners invite Nick Solak to spring training with chance to make roster
Solak's numbers, from a 30,000 ft view, don't look great recently. He struggled in 2022 in the majors, and spent all but two ABs in AAA in 2023, mostly between Detroit and Atlanta. Oddly enough, he was in Tacoma for a week, but it didn't hold. He did show promise, again, in Atlanta, hitting .277/.364/.444 while there.
Solak brings mostly a bat to the table, with fringe double-digit pop and speed. The hope is that he can find the success he had as a rookie in Texas back in 2019, when he hit .293/.393/.491 in 135 PA. He hit well in 2020 as well, posting a slash of .268/.326/.344, hitting and getting on base, but doing so with no pop in the bat.
It's how he does against lefties that could earn him a spot on the team with a strong showing at Spring Training. For his career, he has hit .283/.363/.428 against them in 297 AB. The Mariners could use a RHB against lefties, and if things fall correctly for Solak in the Spring, the Mariners could look to put him on the back of their bench in lieu of someone like Haggerty. He's of a similar defensive mode as well, with the ability to play 2B as well as the corner outfield spots.
It's unlikely to amount to anything on the big league level, but Solak is only 29. He will be one to keep an eye on as the Mariners make their way through Spring Training.