Posted on January 7, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
For the second time this offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have added to their infield via trade. On Saturday, the Blue Jays aquired Yangervis Solarte from the San Diego Padres. In return, the Padres will receive a pair of prospects: outfielder Edward Olivares and right-handed pitcher Jared Carkuff. Earlier this offseason, Toronto acquired Aledmys Diaz in a trade with the Cardinals.
Solarte has emerged as a versatile and productive infielder with the Padres over the last three seasons. In 2017, he hit .255 with an OPS of .731. Solarte contributed a career-high 18 home runs to the Padres last season. He’s hit at least 14 home runs in each of the last three seasons.
He also brings plenty of defensive versatility to the table. He started 74 games at second base for the Padres last season. However, he’s spent a majority of his time playing third base. Solarte also has experience playing shortstop, first base, and even a few games in left field.
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At first glance, Solarte’s role with the Blue Jays in 2018 may involve coming off the bench. Toronto has Josh Donaldson at third base, Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop, and Devon Travis still penciled in at second base. Of course, Travis has been hindered by injuries throughout his career. He was limited to just 50 games in 2017, so the Blue Jays know they need to have a Plan B at second base. Solarte would appear to be a good fit for that role.
Of course, the Blue Jays also added Diaz earlier this winter to play a similar role. Adding Solarte on top of Diaz would appear to be overkill on Toronto’s part. However, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins did say at the start of the offseason that the infield would be a top priority. With Solarte, the Blue Jays will surely have enough infield depth. Solarte also has team options for 2019 and 2020, so he would be a long-term asset for the Blue Jays.
For the Padres, trading Solarte opens up room in a crowded infield. Earlier this offseason, San Diego traded for Chase Headley. There was speculation that they would try to trade him elsewhere before the season. But that may be a difficult move to pull off. Trading Solarte will allow the Padres to move Cory Spangenberg to second base after being displaced at third base by Headley. Carlos Asuaje is also an option at second base, albeit an inexperienced one.
San Diego is also getting a couple prospects out of the trade with Toronto. Oliveras is ranked as San Diego’s no. 24 prospect, according to MLB.com. He’s a great athlete and good defensive player but still has much to prove as a hitter. Meanwhile, Carkuff shot through Toronto’s farm system as a reliever last season. After being a 35th round draft pick in 2016, he finished last year in triple-A. He doesn’t have much of a ceiling but should provide the Padres with organizational depth.
Ultimately, both teams should benefit from this trade. Solarte is an excellent utility infielder and can be a long-term injury replacement if necessary. Adding him should solidify Toronto’s infield heading into next season. Meanwhile, trading Solarte as opposed to Spangenberg saves the Padres money and opens up playing time for younger players in their infield. When all is said and done, both teams should feel good about pulling off this trade.