With the next couple of seasons likely focused on “retooling”, the Toronto Blue Jays might want to rethink how they use Yangervis Solarte
The Toronto Blue Jays likely won’t be fielding a competitive team in 2019. Heck, they haven’t in 2018. With several pieces likely counting down their days in Toronto, the outlook for the next season or two figures to be focused on retooling for competing in 2020/2021 at the earliest.
There are a few key players likely to still be around when that time comes. Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Devon Travis and (maybe) Roberto Osuna would likely be near the end of their ‘team control years’, hopefully making one last postseason run before they enter free agency. However, some of the more recent acquisitions could still be wearing the blue bird then.
Randal Grichuk is a free agent in 2021. The same is true for Yangervis Solarte. For many people, this is good news. Solarte has captured the hearts of a large portion of the Blue Jays fan base with his energetic joy for playing baseball. It is reminiscent of Munenori Kawasaki, except there is a major difference. Solarte is producing. When Kawasaki was entertaining fans, the team wasn’t expected to really compete. When they were thrust into the spotlight in 2015, Kawasaki took a backseat. Heading into the 2018 season, there was a tenuous grip on playoff aspirations. Solarte has done his part to make people forget that those hopes are over. Through the dark days of 2018, Solarte contributed with home runs and big hits. He’s cooled off a bit lately, but his value was very clear.
It is that value that prompted Tao of Stieb to write that Toronto should shop the 31 year old heading into this Trade Deadline. I don’t disagree with the logic. Considering the context of where this club is, and will be over the next year or so, they should be shopping everyone. It cannot hurt to hear what offers are available. And, who knows, there very well could be a decent return for a guy who can play multiple positions and hit from both sides of the plate.
Tao suggests that Solarte’s defense is the part of his game that brings his value down. While he plays multiple positions, he doesn’t shine at any of them. Again, I agree. However, I have an idea that would make that irrelevant and still keep his bat in the Blue Jays’ lineup. I would argue this is important. As the club moves toward infusing youth into their roster, they’ll need a veteran presence like Solarte. As well, his bat likely won’t decline like his defense, thus providing value for his very affordable $5.5M in 2019 and $8M in 2020. If he produced 1 fWAR with his bat alone, he would be worth the money.
That is why I made the suggestion I did on the most recent episode of the Jays From the Couch Radio podcast. It is an idea that has one obvious roadblock, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The Toronto Blue Jays could make Yangervis Solarte their DH. Think about it.
The DH spot is ideally used with a guy who can hit well, but could also see time in the field to provide others the use of DH duties for rest, etc. Solarte is a guy who is a bat first player who can contribute defensively when called upon. It is a much better use of the DH spot than what this team is using right now. For his career, he hits right handed pitchers better than left, but holds his own against either. Using Solarte as a DH would provide flexibility for John Gibbons (or whomever else takes the managerial duties should Gibby be
With Solarte in the DH spot, youngsters could get their at bats around the field. Guys like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. or even Vladimir Guerrero Jr could get some reps hitting without worrying about defense. Guys like Devon Travis could also take days off while still contribute with their bat.
The obvious roadblock, of course is Kendrys Morales. More accurately, the balance of his $12M+ contract, paying him through the 2019 season are in the way. If Morales were done at the end of this season, the solution would pretty much solve itself. But, it isn’t. Morales has another season left at $12M. Essentially, it is not so easy to convince a trade partner to take on Morales Money this July. It would be wishful thinking to expect it to happen even this winter.
But, if Ross Atkins could SOMEHOW figure out a way to package Morales with someone else, he would be opening up his roster to using the DH spot in a much more flexible manner and simultaneously pulling off one of the greater feats of his career. This flexibility would be perfect for Yangervis Solarte. So, while it would be smart for the Toronto Blue Jays to shop him this summer, there is a way they can keep him and have him provide value to this club over the next couple of seasons.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
HEAD ON OVER TO THE JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS STORE AND GET SOME GREAT SWAG THAT YOU WILL LOOK GREAT IN AND YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAD TO OUR JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS FUNDRAISING PAGE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION DIRECTLY TO ALS CANADA.
THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND INSTAGRAM. LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO AND SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL!
Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.