Should the San Diego Padres explore bringing back infielder Yangervis Solarte? The versatile switch-hitter is a free agent now and available on the open market. Is Solarte someone the team should covet for the 2019 season?
Last week, the Toronto Blue Jays declined the $5.5 million team option on Yangervis Solarte and instead paid him $750,000. He is now a major league free agent.
Solarte was acquired by Toronto during the last off-season for minor league outfielder Edward Olivares. The January trade also netted the Padres Jared Carkuff, a minor league pitcher. The right-handed hurler was released early in the 2018 season though.
There is no doubt that Solarte was a fun player to watch play the game of baseball. The question is; should the Padres have some interest in him for the 2019 season?
Yes, bring back Solarte
His infectious, celebratory attitude was a joy to watch for Padres fans. Even on losing ballclubs, he was positive and always donned a smile on his face. He worked well with the younger players during his time with the team and could serve as a mentor of sorts for the young talent about to crest in San Diego. He shouldn’t have to play every day with the current Padres, and would only provide depth and an adequate bat off the bench for Andy Green.
Solarte is very versatile with the glove, though that is not his strong suit. He can play all four infield positions, though it is a stretch to see him at shortstop on a regular basis. The right-handed thrower is probably best at second, but does have limited range and issues with his footwork.
He is an aggressive hitter who generally puts the ball in play. He has some power but is not considered a huge home run threat. Solarte, at a one or two-year deal, might be beneficial for both sides. Yangervis could provide the Padres with someone to platoon Luis Urias with until the rookie gets his feet under him at the major league level. He could also fill in at third in a pinch if needed once that situation is handled. It would come down to cost though at the end of the day. The Padres are not a large market team.
No, let’s move forward not backward
We know what Solarte brings, and quite frankly, it is nothing to write home about. He is average in every sense of the word in the game of baseball, though he is capable of heating up with the bat and swinging it well for a short period of time. He just isn’t spectacular. He brings energy, but is often banged up with leg and torso injuries.
There are certainly injury concerns with him, and the Padres do have plenty of youth in the infield position already. Carlos Asuaje is essentially the same kind of player as Solarte, but much cheaper. The Padres could value Solarte for his veteran leadership, but already have Asuaje, Cory Spangenberg, Greg Garcia, Christian Villanueva, and Javy Guerra on the 40-man roster, who do not figure to be starters in the infield. It’s a crowded area full of utility-type players.
Solarte would be fun to see back in San Diego, but the team already has internal options. The youth should be allowed to showcase their skills. The time of Yangervis Solarte in a Padres uniform has come and gone. Let it be.
At the end of the day, the Padres will do what they believe is right for the future. They will only acquire players who are undervalued or men who fit the need of the team when they plan on competing. Solarte might be useful for a playoff team, but the Padres just aren’t quite there yet.
When teams like the Yankees, Angels, Mets, or Indians want to strengthen their bench, they will go the extra mile for Solarte. He could get a multi-year deal from a team like that, and that would definitely take him out of the running for the Padres. The Friars might be inclined to go two years with Solarte, but he would really have to take a team-friendly deal. That will probably not happen, as Solarte will go for top dollar, and the Padres will instead rely on some youth in the system to step up.