With a hot stove that has been as cold as the weather here in the Northeast, a small trade was announced on Saturday. The San Diego Padres are sending Yangervis Solarte to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a couple of minor leaguers. Solarte will be making $4 million in 2018 and has a $5.5 million team option for 2019 and an $8 million team option for 2020. The Jays can buy out either of those options for $800,000.
Solarte debuted in 2014 for the Yankees. Alex Rodríguez got
railroaded suspended for the season, so Solarte became their starting third baseman. Never having been a prospect of note, he came firing out of the gate, hitting .303/.404/.461 in April. Of course, his .349 BABIP was not sustainable. He continued to hit well in May, but overall his triple-slash was .252/.323/.351 for the rest of the season after April.
The Yankees did not keep Solarte for all of 2014, trading him to the Padres close to the trade deadline that year in exchange for Chase Headley (who, coincidentally, was dealt back to San Diego last month). In his three-and-a-half years in San Diego, he has been an average hitter, hitting .268/.325/.421. His offense did dip in 2017, but that could be the result of bad BABIP luck. His hard-hit rate did not change, and his plate discipline numbers were in line with his career rates. Steamer projects that he is still an average hitter.
The Padres have had Solarte play all over the infield. He played mostly third base in 2015 and 2016 and manned second base last year. He’s a decent fielder at both positions. He will not impress Jays fans in the field, but he will not frustrate them either.
Solarte will certainly function as a backup for Josh Donaldson, but the Blue Jays might be more interested in seeing if he can up be an upgrade at second base or shortstop. Troy Tulowitzki had another injury-plagued year in 2017 — he played only 66 games due to hamstring, groin, and ankle injuries, the last of which was a sprain that cost him the last two months of the season. To make matters worse, he hit only .249/.300/.378 when he was playing. His backup, Ryan Goins, was even worse.
The Blue Jays just got nothing from the keystone in 2017. Their players there combined for sub-replacement level play. Solarte is a mediocre player at best, but he might add a win or even two over what the Jays were trudging out there. If Donaldson and Tulo are healthy, Solarte could take over as the everyday second baseman from Devon Travis.
Given that Solarte is 30 years old, and looking at the Blue Jays’ competitive window, I’m not sure that the team will pick up his team option next year. Bo Bichette looks like the team’s future at second base, and Donaldson will be a free agent. If the Jays are not going to be competitive in 2019, there is no need to bring Solarte back even at just $5.5 million.
There is not much to say about the prospects involved. Edward Oliveras is an outfield prospect who ranked 18th in the Blue Jays’ system at MLB.com. He could be an everyday regular if everything comes together. Jared Carkuff is a 24-year-old reliever who has only ever played one game above A-ball. He’s an org guy.
The Padres got to move a player who was not part of their future in exchange for a prospect who will certainly not be a star, but who has the potential to contribute value at the major league level. The Blue Jays get depth and a possible solution at second base. Seems like a fair trade for both sides. Now, let’s hope the hot stove starts to heat up so we can get to the real transactions.
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Luis Torres is a Featured Writer at Beyond the Box Score. He is a medicinal chemist by day, baseball analyst by night. You can follow him on Twitter at @Chemtorres21.