Some more much-needed infield depth is on its way to Toronto.
As first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan and later confirmed by the team, the Blue Jays have worked out a trade to acquire versatile infielder Yangervis Solarte from the San Diego Padres. A pair of secondary prospects are heading south in return, including Venezuelan outfielder Edward Olivares, who finished the season in High-A Dunedin, along with minor-league righty Jared Carkuff, a 35th-round pick in 2016.
Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays management team have been hunting for infield depth all off-season, and they continue to bolster that area despite Solarte coming off a bit of a down year offensively. The 30-year-old slashed a career-worst .255/.314/.416, but knocked out a career-high 18 home runs in 512 plate appearances with the Padres last season.
In 520 games over four Major League seasons, Solarte has hit .267/.327/.419 with 57 home runs and 246 RBI in 2061 plate appearances with the Padres and Yankees.
#BlueJays have liked Solarte for a while. Switch-hitter who can play all over diamond, posted .731 OPS last year. Like in Diaz deal, they trade from secondary group of prospects. https://t.co/ldISDtLs28
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) January 6, 2018
It’s been a very quiet off season for the Blue Jays so far, with plenty of rumours swirling but nothing of real substance emerging, aside from the addition of infielder Aledmys Diaz in a minor deal with the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this offseason, which offset the parting-of-ways with Ryan Goins. Infielder Gift Ngoepe was also acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later or cash.
Bolstering the middle infield was deemed a priority by Atkins, and Solarte arrives to a Blue Jays club that is projected to feature former MVP Josh Donaldson at third, aging former All-Star Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop, oft-injured Devon Travis at second and 2018 All-Star Justin Smoak at first. Solarte likely won’t challenge any of the aforementioned veterans for a starting job, but will — along with Diaz and Ngoepe — act as an insurance policy incase of an injury at any of those positions, while providing a body to step into the starting lineup and allow regular days of rest for Tulowitzki and Travis, especially.
Solarte arrives on a team-friendly deal with one-year remaining at a salary of just over $4 million, followed by a $5.5-million team option in 2019 and an $8.5-million team option in 2020.
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