Along the same lines as Michael A. Taylor, Donovan Solano was brought in for depth and ended up providing more than the Twins bargained for.
Solano joined the team in the spring and quickly found himself regularly filling in at first base. The same situation that brought Solano to Minnesota has presented itself again, as Alex Kirilloff might not begin the season healthy and the Twins lack first base depth. There are free agent options out there, but Solano is both a familiar face and someone who has expressed a desire to return next season.
It wasn't just first base where Solano proved his value. In addition to platooning with Kirilloff, Solano spent time at second base while Jorge Polanco dealt with injuries. Solano's glove was excellent, posting a .994 fielding percentage at first base which was just a .001 percent shy of league average, and he was well above league average at second.
He also finished the season with career-highs in hits, RBI, and walks. Some of that was due to him playing more than he ever has, but that was a nice litmus test for how impactful he could be as a near-everyday player.
Perhaps the biggest factor here is that Solano wants to come back. He told a publication in his home of Colombia that he wants Minnesota to offer him a contract, which likely means he won't hold the front office hostage for a big contract. That lines up with the goal to not spend a ton of money this winter but find impact players to add to the roster.
Why he might not be back: It's sort of hard to find reasons for why Solano won't be back outside of the Twins simply not wanting him. His market value is around $5 million and his desire to return could knock that down to make a deal work.
One thing that could complicate Solano's return is Jose Miranda moving back to first base. It seems Minnesota isn't ready to give up on him just yet, but with Royce Lewis over at third the only logical spot for Miranda to try and prove his worth is at first. A platoon with Kirilloff-Solano-Miranda might work, but at that point the Twins might try Edouard Julien in the Solano role if Jorge Polanco is still around and occupying second.