After a mostly disappointing season, the Blue Jays will likely buy out Yangervis Solarte’s contract and set him free
The Toronto Blue Jays brought in Yangervis Solarte as an insurance policy, of sorts. This past winter, there were questions around whether there was enough depth in the infield to get through an entire season. Solarte’s versatility was something the club thought worth bringing aboard. In fact, when interviewed for the Jays From the Couch Guide to the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays, Mark Shapiro went as far as saying that the then 30 year old would surprise a lot of people and perform rather well.
At the beginning of the 2018 season, it certainly looked like Shapiro was right. Solarte quickly captured the imagination of the fan base with his joi de vie, his celebrations and his smile. He also backed it up with a productive offensive April display. In 26 games, he would collect 24 hits, including 7 home runs. He walked 14 times and drove in 15 runs. His .848 OPS and 129 wRC+ in April certainly opened some eyes.
But, it wouldn’t last. The next couple of months saw his bat cool off slightly before it fell off the face of the planet in the second half of the season. Slashing .175/.204/.223 with a home run total of one. It was a rather disappointing showing that was not helped by what was becoming poor defense, bordering on terrible at times. As the season wore on, Solarte’s value seemed to plummet with his performance.
Now, in fairness to the player, he did wrench his body swinging at a pitch near the middle of August. Being in attendance at that particular game, you could tell that it was a very abnormal swing and one that would certainly cause pain. Dealing with an oblique issue is obviously going to impact the production at the plate. So, perhaps, someone might point to that as a reason for his decline. However, more likely is that Solarte was asked to do more than he should have been. The Blue Jays were forced to rely on him to carry their team and that simply is not who he is.
So, what do they do now? They have to make a decision on the $5.5M option remaining. On the one hand, you could argue that the 2019 Blue Jays could use an experienced veteran with a positive attitude and Solarte would be a good influence on the younger guys sure to take the field. But, that argument may not carry much weight when you consider just how many infielders are in line for work next year.
Aledmys Diaz has earned a spot, Troy Tulowitzki may even show his face. Devon Travis, Lourdes Gurriel, Brandon Drury and some kid named Vladimir Guerrero Jr all will be in the mix (to varying degrees) for playing time. So, as things stand right now, there is just not enough room for a player who ended up to be a disappointment.
It’s for that reason that Gregor Chisholm is right when he suggests that Solarte may very well be a candidate to have his option declined. The Blue Jays would likely rather buy out his deal for $750,000 than try and force him into their plans.
Yangervis Solarte is definitely one of those players you love to cheer for. He plays to have fun. And, in the right situation, he could be a valuable player. However, the 2019 Toronto Blue Jays do not figure to provide the right situation for him.
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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.