Blue Jays: Where will Yangervis Solarte hit in the lineup?

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 22: Yangervis Solarte
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 22: Yangervis Solarte /

The Blue Jays have a new piece to their lineup puzzle in Yangervis Solarte. Where does his skill set fit into the lineup for the Blue Jays?

Thankfully the Blue Jays broke their roster silence on Saturday by bringing in Yangervis Solarte from the San Diego Padres. Some of us (myself included), hoped that the trade would start knocking over the dominoes when it comes to free agent moves, but so far things have been pretty quiet around the league since the trade was announced.

For the Blue Jays, it’s expected that they’ll add to the roster before spring training begins, with the top two priorities seeming to be on the rotation, and on finding an upgrade for the outfield. Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro have expressed confidence in the groups they have in both areas, but with some available money and a stated desire to win in 2018, it’s hard to imagine them completely standing pat.

However, for the purposes of this article we’re going to look at what the lineup might look like as constructed today, and where their new acquisition could fit into the fold.

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Before I get started, I have to point out that I don’t think Solarte is a starter when everyone is healthy, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be riding the bench all the time. As he’s been compared to a lot in the last couple of days, the Blue Jays seem intent on using him as a super-utility type, in the vain of a Ben Zobrist or a Marwin Gonzalez. It’s a near certainty that he’ll be needed to cover some lost time for one of both of Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki, so you can be sure he’ll get plenty of time on the diamond by the time the season is over.

With that in mind, here is your most likely starting lineup.

Without Solarte

1- Devon Travis (2B)

2- Josh Donaldson (3B)

3- Justin Smoak (1B)

4- Kendrys Morales (DH)

5- Troy Tulowitzki (SS)

6- Steve Pearce (LF)

7- Russell Martin (C)

8- Teoscar Hernandez (RF)

9- Kevin Pillar (CF)

The only difference here is that we see Hernandez being swapped in for Jose Bautista, who departed as a free agent at the end of last season. Looking at this lineup might frustrate you, as it’s almost the same as last year, but keep in mind that this is still an effective lineup IF everyone is healthy. That was almost never the case in 2017, and the Blue Jays are hoping for a marked improvement in that area.

Without Devon Travis

1- Ezequiel Carrera (LF)

2- Yangervis Solarte (2B)

3- Josh Donaldson (3B)

4- Justin Smoak (1B)

5- Kendrys Morales (DH)

6- Troy Tulowitzki (SS)

7- Steve Pearce (LF)

8- Russell Martin (C)

9- Kevin Pillar (CF)

I could see the Blue Jays using Solarte anywhere from 2-7 in the lineup, as his skill set has a variety of upsides. He did have a down year in .OBP last year, but he posted a mark of .346 in 2016, and the Jays will hope to see his numbers return to that neighbourhood.

He doesn’t have a great deal of speed, but with the ability to switch hit and to consistently put the ball in play (struck out just 61 times last year), he could be pretty useful hitting in the top half of the lineup. He also displayed some pop last year, hitting 18 home runs and driving in 64 RBI, so he may make more sense hitting somewhere around 5th or 6th. Which brings me to another look:

Replacing Tulowitzki

1- Devon Travis

2- Josh Donaldson

3- Justin Smoak

4- Kendrys Morales

5- Yangervis Solarte

6- Steve Pearce

7- Russell Martin

8- Teoscar Hernandez

9- Kevin Pillar

In this scenario you’ve got three switch-hitter’s stacked together, which is a massive pain for any opposing manager, especially in late game match-ups. Solarte would have a chance to be more of a run producer hitting 5th, and a move to the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre could unlock some additional offensive potential that was stifled in the spacious Petco Park in San Diego.

Of course, the Blue Jays sound like they’ll add another body to the fold, and hopefully it’ll be someone who can bring some added excitement to the offence. The lineup could still use a true leadoff hitter, especially for when Devon Travis is on the shelf, but otherwise the additions of Solarte and fellow infielder Aledmys Diaz have gone a long way to addressing the depth in the infield picture.

Depending on who they might add could alter how Solarte is used in 2018, but expect him to become an important piece to the Blue Jays’ plans, whether or not he has a set position in the lineup, or on the diamond.

Next: A middle infield logjam is a great problem to have