After the Blue Jays acquired Brandon Drury from the Yankees on Thursday, it would make sense for the front office to shop Yangervis Solarte, as the two players have a similar skill set.
While getting Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney for a 35 year old veteran starter on an expiring contract is a decent return, the fit isn’t perfect in Toronto. In fact, I wrote about just that earlier today and explained why I don’t feel this trade makes a lot of sense for the Blue Jays.
That said, we don’t know the whole plan or the big picture of what Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have up their sleeve. However, I’m willing to bet we could guess a move that’ll be coming in the not so distant future: trading an infielder.
My major problem with the Blue Jays getting Drury back as the centre piece for a J.A. Happ trade was the redundancy of the move. Drury’s skill set is very similar to a few players the Blue Jays already have, especially Yangervis Solarte, who they acquired this past winter. Solarte has two more option years on his contract before becoming a free agent, and is having a career year in several categories in his first year in Toronto. His 17 home runs and 52 RBI in particular put him on pace for career highs.
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Because of that, it’s possible the Blue Jays saw an opportunity to sell Solarte at his highest value, when they couldn’t get what they wanted in return for Happ. If they are able to replace Solarte on the team with Drury, and then parlay the switch-hitter into a different valuable turn, then I guess that would be alright.
For now though, the Blue Jays and John Gibbons in particular are going to be faced with an interesting challenge with sorting out playing time. To cover 3rd and 2nd base, they’ve got a combination of Solarte, Drury, and Devon Travis, and also shortstop/utility types in Aledmys Diaz and Lourdes Gurriel. At some point they’re bound to get Josh Donaldson back to the lineup, and while I’d never bank on anything, Troy Tulowitzki is still rehabbing as well.
Add it all up, and I’m not sure there is enough playing time to go around, especially at second and third base. A lot could change with the 25 man roster before the end of the next week, and Drury also has some experience in the outfield, but I doubt that’s part of the long term plan here. The best way for the Drury acquisition to make sense is for it to be part of a bigger plan.
That plan may very could include moving Solarte, which to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of either. He’s been a good emotional leader for this team, and would probably be a good fit going forward with a young roster. That said, if moving him nets a return that makes sense and Drury can fill the void, maybe it works out for the best.
What exactly Solarte could bring back in a trade remains to be seen. The Blue Jays sent Edward Olivares and Jared Carkuff to acquire him last year, and his value might have taken a small hit with one less year of control. That said, he is having a pretty solid year as I’ve mentioned above, so perhaps the Blue Jays have an interested party that likes his power and versatility.
With other veterans like Curtis Granderson, Tyler Clippard, John Axford, and possibly others expected to be on the move, you can likely add Solarte to the list of names to watch. Like it or not, it only makes sense.