In a continuing effort to improve their infield--and as a possible precursor to a trade of third baseman Josh Donaldson--the Blue Jays swung a deal on Saturday evening to acquire Yangervis Solarte from the Padres. Solarte provides Toronto a versatile infield option who can fill in at any position in the dirt and has experience in the outfield as well. That’s especially important for a team that dealt with significant injuries to Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis.
Blue Jays Acquire:
Yangervis Solarte, INF (MLB)
After coming up in the Twins’ system, Solarte broke in with the Yankees before being dealt to the Padres in the middle of his debut season in 2014. Besides his versatility on defense, Solarte will provide a modest blend of average and power--he’s hit double-digit homers every season as a pro and peaked this season with 18 longballs--to a team that is likely to lose the services of Jose Bautista and his 23 home runs to free agency. If the Jays decide to deal Donaldson, Solarte can easily slide in as the team’s everyday third baseman. If not, he’ll likely act as a super-utility player.
Edward Olivares, OF (high Class A)
In a system stacked at the top with major league progeny Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, it might be easy to overlook Olivares. The 21-year-old split the season between low Class A Lansing and high Class A Dunedin, where his 17 home runs placed him second in the organization behind only Connor Panas. Besides the power--which is produced in part by above-average bat speed--Olivares also shows excellent defensive skills in center field. He’s got excellent range in the outfield, an average arm and plus footspeed, which also showed up in his 20 stolen bases.
Jared Carkuff, RHP (Triple-A)
A 35th-rounder out of Austin Peay in 2016, Carkuff spent this season bouncing around the organization. He made stops at short-season Vancouver, low Class A Lansing, high Class A Dunedin and finished the season with a lone appearance at Triple-A Buffalo. He works primarily with a low-90s fastball and a slider, both of which rank as fringe-average pitches. He has below-average command as well, and finished the year 3-4, 3.86 with 51 strikeouts in 63 innings.