Today, the San Diego Padres sent infielder Yangervis Solarte to the Toronto Blue Jays for outfield prospect Edward Olivares and relief prospect Jared Carkuff. The former is a top 20ish system prospect, while the latter is just a flyer reliever arm.
Normally, this is a trade that would go without too much mention, but, given the extraordinarily slow market, it stands out a little more. Plus, there is the fact that the Blue Jays now have additional cover if they were going to consider trading third baseman Josh Donaldson before this offseason is up. Not that Solarte replaces Donaldson – almost no one can – but between Solarte, Devon Travis, Aledmys Diaz (did you forget they traded for him?), and Troy Tulowitzki, the Jays could at least create some passable combination of third base, shortstop and second base in the event they decided to do a short rebuild. Absent another move, Solarte becomes something of a super sub, combining with the other infielders to mix and match at shortstop and second base.
Being that the Cardinals have been most heavily attached to Donaldson in trade rumors, that’s the nexus you’ll want to watch here.
Note, I’m not saying this trade is a “precursor” to a Donaldson trade, only that it leaves the Blue Jays in a slightly better spot to do it if the opportunity arises. So no conflict here:
For those asking, #BlueJays’ acquisition of Solarte does NOT appear to be precursor of trade of Donaldson. Solarte helps protect Jays at 2B, SS and 3B. Aledmys Diaz also figures in middle-infield mix. Tulowitzki, Travis both frequently injured.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 6, 2018
As for Solarte, 30, the switch-hitter was solid at the plate in 2014-16, but struggled in 2017 thanks primarily to a BABIP that sank like a stone. He had a lot more soft contact than usual, but the rest of his peripherals make the year look a little aberrational. He’s still a nice piece to have around. Again: he’s not Josh Donaldson. But if you thought there was a chance you were going to deal Donaldson and you didn’t want to entirely punt the thing away so that the fans don’t stay away in droves, you might as well add a guy like Solarte.
The Padres have already acquired Chase Headley this offseason, so moving Solarte now doesn’t necessarily increase the likelihood that they buy or sell this winter. They just had a guy they could move for value.