It appears first baseman Wil Myers could soon join Solarte in receiving an extension, meaning the Padres would have their corner-infield spots locked down for the foreseeable future. The 29-year-old Solarte is coming off the best season of his career, during which he batted .286 with a career-high 15 home runs despite playing only 109 games.
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Before the extension, Solarte was entering his first year of salary arbitration and was slated to become a free agent following the 2019 season. Should the Padres choose to pick up both options, the deal would extend one year into his projected free agency.
"He's earned it with his play," GM A.J. Preller said. "From the time we were able to acquire him from the Yankees and he came over, he's been a guy that's really performed. You see the joy, you see the way he loves to play."
A fan favorite in San Diego, Solarte dealt with personal tragedy during the 2017 season, when his wife, Yuliett, lost her battle with cancer. Afterward, the Padres hung a jersey with her name in the dugout, and when Solarte returned, he was greeted with an emotional standing ovation at Petco Park. He would single in his first at-bat, part of a 14-game hitting streak -- the best by a Padre all season.
Next week, Solarte will head to the BBWAA dinner in Boston, where he will receive the Tony Conigliaro Award, given annually to "the Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, courage and determination."
Earlier on Friday, Solarte filed for $3.2 million in arbitration, while the Padres countered with a $2.8 million offer. The extension takes those arbitration proceedings off the table.
"Here in San Diego, he got plenty of opportunity, and he's taken advantage of it," Preller said. "I think we wanted to reward him for that."
News of the extension broke hours after it was first reported that the Padres are nearing an extension with Myers as well. With Solarte signed, Myers is the only Padre with pending arbitration (though a hearing appears unlikely). Pitchers Carter Capps, Brad Hand, Christian Friedrich and Brandon Maurer all agreed to terms with the Padres before Friday's deadline to exchange figures.