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Photo Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays Acquire Yangervis Solarte In Trade With San Diego

Holy piss, something actually has happened!

Maybe I’ll change my tune once I see that cost, but on first blush, this is a very nice add. To wit:

Contract is very team friendly, too:

So the Jays’ middle infield situation has now gone from Tulo, Travis, Goins, and Barney, with Lourdes Gurriel and Richard Ureña a little too far away to help, to Tulo, Travis, Solarte, and Aldemys Diaz, with Ureña and Gurriel that much closer to knocking on the door (and Bo Bichette perhaps not all that far behind them). Assuming none of those players is in this deal, that is. (We can definitely assume Bichette isn’t, relax).

That is some very nice improvement in an area where the club’s top two players are unlikely to have full, healthy seasons.

There’s also this:

For those who would like that image a little marginally more readable:

Also of note here: while Nuñez is a right-handed batter, Solarte is a switch hitter, and was significantly better in 2017 as a lefty (108 wRC+ versus 54) — as he has been in every year of his career, save for his rookie season of 2014. (He’s not usually been as bad from the right side, it should be noted. But more importantly: this is a roster that needed some extra balance, and he give them a touch of that, at the very least. Hell, there’s a chance he steals some DH at-bats against right-handers from Kendrys).

What we think of this will ultimately depend on the cost, of course, but based on the assumption that it won’t be a top tier prospect (it isn’t, see below) I think the Jays have done really well for themselves. Nuñez may not get that much more than what Solarte’s deal will ultimately pay him, but he’ll get more, and having those option years instead of guaranteed ones is pretty nifty.

Aaaaand now we have a name:

And some details on Olivares as well:

The Jays system these days is better than Prime Time Sports would have you think (not that anyone under 50 listens to that now that Brunt’s gone anyway), so the 16th best guy certainly has value — obviously — but the Jays have some depth among tweener types who might not quite hit enough to play in a corner and might not defend enough to play centre (which may not be what Olivares is, but that seems to be what I see, with him having played some centre, but mostly right field, and having had a really nice career in the low minors as a hitter, though walking just 4.7% of the time in his breakout season this year in Lansing). Olivares is clearly much farther out, but there were guys like Teoscar, Alford, Pompey, Gurriel, (Pillar, obviously) and others ahead of him here, and the hope is that some of that group is actually going to stick here for a long time — and I know the Jays are very high on Alford.

Of course, that description is just me looking at numbers. Here’s someone far more knowledgeable weighing in:

On the other hand we have Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, who watched Olivares all year at Lansing, told our Ryan Di Francesco this about him back in July:

Edward Olivares sure looks like a four/five-tool player. His great speed shows up both on the basepaths (17 SB) and in the outfield. His arm is strong, his power (15 HR) is self-evident, and he’s batting .280+. A toolsy player, though, is only as good as the tools he uses during the game, not just in warm-ups – and Edward’s tools affect every game he plays.

So, maybe a guy who can legitimately defend in centre — don’t scout the stat line, kids! Still, though, three years of Solarte at a nice price with club options is a very nice get. Now to take a sip from this big glass of water…

PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTSSSSHHHHHHHYYYYYSSHHHHH

Solarte’s primary position is third base. Drew’s primary position, of course, is fucking ghoul.

Moving on, here’s the other prospect going to the Padres here:

Sure, OK.

The deal is indeed official:

So… there’s that. I’ll offer some better structured and less of-the-moment thoughts on this, and how Solarte will fit on the Jays’ roster, in the coming days. But the short version of it is: nice move! The acquisition cost is very palatable, Solarte is a good and versatile player, can help especially from the left side (where he might steal at-bats from Morales — or even allow Devon Travis to spend some time at DH), and with Aledmys Diaz having options still left, the move doesn’t really create any sort of roster problems for the time being. He might not be a game-changer, but a valuable depth piece who certainly raises the floor — something the Jays desperately needed to do this winter, especially in the middle infield. Hard to find anything to dislike here.

    • justaregularjaysfan

      I wonder what Pillar’s trade value actually is. Some jays fans view him through rose tinted glasses, but his defence has slightly declined (understandably given how hard he plays), and he’s not a great hitterand a lot of fans see that too. That, and his age, he’s 29, makes me wonder how much value he has with other teams and whether, when he actually gets moved, the return will appear to be underwhelming

      • AD

        He is not very good despite many posters attempt to defend him and his lofty WAR numbers. If he was valued highly, i think you would hear a lot more rumours kind of like the red sox and jbj

        • justaregularjaysfan

          Also, if he was valued highly by other organizations, I think he’d have been moved by now, because there’s nothing he can do that I can’t see alford doing. It’ll also be interesting to see what the Jays plan is for the outfield if the reports about their interest in Cain is genuine. Are they planning on moving him, or will he shift to left or right, where his lack of offence will hurt even more. Can’t imagine Cain wants to play a corner spot

          • Cain’s wRC+ this year was 115, and for his career it’s 107. Much better in CF, sure, but he still represents a big upgrade in a corner for the Jays and has played 1000 innings in RF in his career. Not sure it’s as big an issue as it looks on the surface.

            Agree on Alford likely being Pillar’s equal, but if you move Pillar and Alford pulls a 2015 Pompey (and Pompey pulls a 2016/17 Pompey), what do you do? Teoscar, I guess, but he might not be a CF, and he might be needed in a corner. Zeke, maybe? It’s pretty far from ideal, I think. As nice as it would be to see Alford there and Pillar moved for something the Jays could better use, I think not handing him the job and letting nature take its course (i.e. Alford eventually hits his way past Pillar on the depth chart) is probably the better way. Keep Pillar around as a safety net until it’s clearer one isn’t needed.

          • Grey Jays

            Question or point to consider for the mail bag…To improve outfield ceiling and floor, sign Cain to play centre and keep Pilar as fourth outfielder. Leaves room for young talent in corner outfield positions, allows time for Pillar to potentially add value as a starter in centre or ultility outfielder (although risk in losing value too), and Alford can slowly allow Cain to transition to Corner spot in a few seasons. If young talent force your hands, trade Pillar but on your timeline. Also if Teoscar slumps a little, ease him in with Pilar in right.

          • AD

            Cmon stoeten, you know pillar isnt very good, right? You told me a few weeks back that hes more valuable than cutch?? So why the hell would the dodgers not want him for puig? Cuz he sucks, plain and simple. No point in putting lipstick on a pig.

          • The Dodgers not wanting him for Puig (a fact you’re entirely making up) does not mean “he sucks.” Like many players he has flaws, but he also has value.

            You’re so painfully slanted against him and unwilling to even acknowledge reality that it’s almost like you’re *trying* to not be taken seriously on the subject of Kevin Pillar. Feel free to get serious or quit wasting our time.

          • AD

            I just think its an area the jays really need to upgrade and nobody seems to mention that. I dont personally hate the guy, just dont like him as a ballplayer. Its hard to watch his free swinging approach 600 times every year. If jays want to be good next year, upgrading CF is a good spot to start.

          • It is far, far, far behind other spots to start. Like, WAR isn’t just some random number. It’s not like there are vast numbers of CFs that are better, otherwise the base line (replacement level) would be much higher. It’s really hard to find someone who can provide above average CF defence and be a great hitter — like catchers, most CFs are kinda bad compared to guys who can field less demanding positions, and they need to be viewed through that prism.

            ZiPS projects the Jays to get the 10th most WAR out of CF in all of baseball in 2018 (tied with the Yankees). Their projections for LF and RF rank 21st and 25th as it stands. And yet you think upgrading CF should be a priority???

            There are just six CFs who project to be a half win or more better than Pillar’s 2.7 WAR projection: Bradley (3.2), Pollock (3.3), Yelich (4.0), Keirmaier (3.9), Springer (4.0), and Trout (8.6). I’d bet the over on Buxton (3.0) and Blackmon (2.4) too, but the point is, to upgrade on Pillar is a long way from easy. You’d have to find guys like that — really incredibly valuable players. Sorry, but his defence makes up for his bat in a signficant way. So please, quit being so ridiculous.

          • GrumblePup

            AD, there is no one saying that we wouldn’t want an upgrade over Pillar. Of course if you can get a better player than one you currently have, you take the better player. BUT none of this exists in a vacuum. So the cost of getting that better player needs to be taken into consideration. I can’t believe I’m wasting time on this again, but hopefully this time you get it.

            Pillar has value. Especially for a team like the Jays that has other holes to fill. If the Jays trade Pillar, they are doing nothing for help fill the other holes on the team (ie left and/or right field, bullpen help, another starting pitcher hopefully). This is most likely what happends when you trade Pillar.
            1. You trade Pillar for another CF, which doesn’t fill any of the other positions.
            2. You trade Pillar for a player that fills another position, but leaves you without a CF
            3. You trade Pillar and get back two players that fill 2 holes, but they both provide less value than Pillar because why would any team give you 2 players that are better than Pillar for Pillar.
            4. You trade Pillar and Prospects to get a couple players to fill holes, but again, why would you do that? The prospects you’d have to give up in order to make that trade worth it for another team are probably making oyur team worse off in the long run.

            I’m not saying (and I don’t think anyone is saying this either) that there is absolutely no trade deal out there in which getting rid of Pillar is beneficial to the team. But the likelyhood of that trade coming up is slim, and since Pillar is serviceable and still provides positive value to the team (despite his offence not being to your liking), there are more important things for the organization to be focusing on this year.

            You’ve said previously that you’d rather give any of the minor leaguers a shot at CF because having Pillar’s bat in the lineup in the 9 spot is a waste of a spot. But guess what? Any of the minor leaguers that come up to replace him will be in the 9 hole, probably providing, at best, the same offensive value OR not enough more offensive value to offset what they lose in defensive value.

            But that’s only as the team stands now. If at some point over the course of the season (or spring training possibly, although I wouldn’t place all my bets on spring training stats) one of the minor leaguers plays well enough to justify play him over Pillar, that’s when you can replace him.

            Look at it this way: Pillar provided positive value in CF. RF provided negative value last year because there was no one in the organization to put there.

            What is the better course of action:
            1. Maintaining positive value in CF and spending resources in order to upgrade in RF?
            2. Spending resources to (probably) downgrade in CF and hope that you can then use your depleted system to upgrade in RF.

            I really hope you get it.

        • The Humungus

          If he’s not very good then:

          A) how has he managed to generate a double-digit cumulative WAR over the last 3 seasons

          B) why in the fuck would any other team give you something of value for him?

  • DAKINS

    I’ve already seen a tweet mentioning Bichette. Having to watch the Padres play baseball has clearly caused some of their fans to lose their grasp on reality.

  • AD

    Solid deal for the jays, they have another good bench bat along with diaz. When tulo and travis inevitably go on the DL, they have solid replacements who wont fuck you on offense

  • Chappy

    Why would the Padres make this deal? Don’t know their organization at all, but if they are trying to sign Hosmer, meaning they have some intention of competing soonish, why would they want low A players. I followed Oliveres this year, really like him, but to soon to know if he will develop into much, especially given his age. Was Solarte redundant for some reason? Excited by the deal, just don’t understand it from SD position.

  • Norm Kelly

    Nice dig about only people over 50 still listening to Prime Time Sports with Brunt gone..way to make friends amongst your entire spectrum of readers Stoeten.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      What’s also funny is that Brunt will be 60 next year. Perhaps Stoeten meant that when the elderly Brunt left PTS, the younger audience quit listening to protest losing that elder wisdom.

  • McNamee’s Beer Can

    This trade is nothing but good. Even if Olivares becomes a stud, we’ll never know. First, he’ll be playing in San Diego. Second, well just the San Diego thing. Not a big market, and a huge ballpark.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    The real story about the Solarte trade to me, is that after 14 years of Ricciardi/Anthopoulos drafting, the Blue Jays minor league system couldn’t produce a single middle infielder capable of effectively serving even in a major league backup role. In order to fill in for Tulo and Travis, neither of whom appears capable of playing a major league season, the Blue Jays had to go outside the organization. Just like they will have to go outside the organization now to replace the corner outfield spot, and when Donaldson is gone, to find a third baseman, and to backup Martin this year at catcher. From 14 years of Ricciardi/Anthopoulos drafting, the Blue Jays can show only Adam Lind (2004) and Kevin Pillar (2011) to field a position on any regular basis in the major leagues. Toronto internet seems to believe that baseball players come from the free agent pool, which is a sucker’s market, without questioning why Toronto needed to trade for both Diaz and Solarte even to play a competent backup role for the $20 million per year shortstop and the always-injured second baseman, neither of whom were themselves developed by the Blue Jays. When Trea Turner was available, twice, in the 2014 draft, AA chose instead Hoffman (9 overall) and Pentecost (11overall), the latter of whom didn’t warrant protection in the Rule V this year, and the former of whom was packaged and traded for one of the worst contracts in baseball. As Jeff Passan noted today, the Solarte trade is what a well-run organization does to fill a need, but had there been better asset acquisition, development and management from 2002 through 2015, it shouldn’t have been necessary. A well-run organization similarly would have drafted Tulo in 2007 to enjoy his good years, rather than trading for his $20 million a year decline, and drafted Trea Turner in 2014. Trea Turner last year put up a 2.6 WAR, for $554k. Tulo put up a 0 WAR for $20 million. After Alex Gonzales left in 2001, the Blue Jays produced not a single major league middle infielder. That to me seems the story of the Solarte trade.

    • Shawkr

      You think that’s bad. The only major league catchers this franchise has ever produced are Pat Borders, J.P. Arencibia and Yan Gomes (combined 14.7 fWAR in 7173 PA = 1.2 fWAR per 600 PA).

      • The Humungus

        Also, to add, You have to give them some credit plucking Whitt from the BoSox in the expansion draft. They grabbed a guy with 20 career plate appearances already 25 years old and conditioned him for three years before handing him the reigns to produce 19.4 WAR as the starting catcher for a decade.

    • drunk man walking

      each team has 2 MI and about 14 pitchers. Lets talk about all the pitchers that Cleveland has developed in the 17 years since Shapiro took over….and Yan Gomes….remember him. I can help you with the SP’s. Josh Tomlin is arguably the best…one season over 2 bWAR. Cody Allen is the best RP after that I can’t help you much

        • drunk man walking

          this started with a comment about “14 years of Ricciardi/Anthopoulos drafting”….so the drafting part is understood. I stand by what I said in that context, unless you are counting the ones who never pitched for Cleveland and were traded/lost before they found success.

          • The Humungus

            Right, but you know you can develop other guys minor leaguers, right? Kluber, Carrasco and Santana were hardly sure things when the Clevelands acquired them.

            Although, to be fair, Santana still isn’t a sure thing.

          • drunk man walking

            Of course you can, and teams do. But all I am saying is that if you are going to point to a team which has done well by its draft and development program do not point to Cleveland in the Shapiro era. You look at SFG during that era or Col now and you find a steady stream of elite to very good level players from mediocre draft positions. Cleveland has done very poorly from the draft. Essentially every player of that era who has a career WAR of say 5 for Cle from the draft is now on the team…Allen, Lindor, Lonnie and Kipnis. Salazar is about the only IFA pitcher, and of course Jose is awesome. Perez I’m to lazy to look up but he was from the draft (2009?). There are many ways of improving your team and Cleveland has traded very well WRT todays team. They also have signed some genius extensions. It is hard to explain how poorly their drafts have worked out overall.

    • MLip

      This statement ignores the success they did have in drafting and developing talent who have meaningful MLB experience: Sanchez, Stroman, Osuna, Syndergaard, Graveman, De Sclafani, Loup, Tepera, Barnes, Boyd, Hoffman, Norris, Nicolino, Musgrove, Wojichowski, Rzepczynski, Romero, Dermody, Nolin, Castro.

      There were also position prospects acquired under Anthopolous who remain interesting prospects, including: Jansen, Pompey, Alford, Vladdy Jr., Urena, Gurriel, Barretto, Smith Jr., Fields, etc.

      That’s an awful lot of players to have MLB experience from a 6 year tenure. To say the Jays failed at developing position players is a red herring — they succeeded in developing an overwhelming number of prospects into MLB players (many of which are elite talents — Sanchez, Stroman, Syndergaard, and Osuna).

      With that said, clearly the Jays talent was identifying and drafting young pitchers. I think the Jays would do well to emphasize pitching in the draft (especially high school pitchers), and then deal from a position of depth to address their other needs.

    • Boy5

      I like what we have done a lot more this offseason than last. Much more focus on versatility. With Teoscar, Pillar, Pearce, Carrera, Alford – I think you have enough to focus the rest of the offseason on pitching. The cost of a masher (by trade or FA) is going to be too expensive.

  • breasteve

    Atkins said Solarte will get regular playing time, but I don’t see that happening unless Morales is traded and Tulo/Travis/Donaldson get DH or one of those 3 is injured.
    His LHB plays up on a more potent lineup – he was hitting 4/5 w Padres; not much power from right side.
    Technically, he has played SS (222.2 IP; 7.9 UZR/150), LF (40 IP; -97.5) and even 1B (278.1; -9.0), but hasn’t played much at all and not very well. I would not say he’s a super-utility guy. He’s a 3B and 2B, and less than avg defender at both.

        • The Humungus

          He’s got a better career WRC+ hitting right handed than either of the other to only hitting from one side as well. (92 for Solarte v LHP; 71 for Barney, 63 for Goins)

          • MLip

            Solarte had a wRC+ of 54 against LHP last season. The small sample size caveat applies, but I am less confident he will be an improvement offensively against LHP next season.

            With that said, the Jays raised the lineup’s talent floor while increasing its versatility for a relatively low cost — which amounts to an immediate improvement overall.

    • He’s a better hitter from the left side than Carrera and Morales, and he plays positions where guys (Tulo, Travis) are constantly hurt. He’ll get regular playing time. If he doesn’t, it’s a great, great thing — it means Tulo and Travis are healthy, Morales is hitting right-handers, and Carrera is gone. Relax.

        • The Humungus

          I know you’re just making a point, but if Tulo were to be that guy now, then they’d be better off releasing him. I mean, you’re going to pay him regardless, but you can’t feel obligated to play that guy just because he’s making 12.5% of the teams total payroll.

          • Steve-O

            yeah I’m assuming a healthy Tulo isn’t putting up those numbers, considering his past two seasons (including a brutal 2017) he slashed .252/.312/.422

            the old Tulo isn’t coming back, but could he still be a top-10* SS again next year? I say yes

            *he was the 10th best MLB SS in WAR in 2016

          • Kris

            Fansgraph projections have the Jays total production from SS at 8th in MLB (After this deal). So being a top 10 SS is again is not that far off. The Jays 2B position is 14th. But the issue on the team is still the OF.

  • DoctorBraino

    So Solarte’s miniscule 1.3 WAR for 2017 was still better than the 2017 WAR’s of Barney, Goins, Morales, Bautista, Pearce, Carrera, Tulo, and Travis. Individually and using simple addition — the added WAR of those 8 comes to – 2.4.