The Toronto Blue Jays have officially declined to exercise their club option on infielder Yangervis Solarte after a disappointing 2018 campaign.
The 31-year old was tabbed to earn $5.5 million if the team had decided to pick up the option for the 2019 season. Yangervis Solarte struggled in his season north of the border especially in the second half of the season. The Blue Jays will pay Solarte $750,000 to rid themselves of their contractual obligation with him.
Solarte slashed .226/.277/.378 with 17 homers while also hitting into 21 rally-killing double plays in 122 games. He hit just .175 while being relegated to the bench for much of the second half seeing action in only 30 games after the All-Star break. The infielder hardly hustled out of the box and would hardly be a good example for a rebuilding team with a plethora of young players moving forward.
The native of Venezuela won’t immediately qualify for free agency as he has less than six years of MLB service time. Solarte will remain on the Jays 40-man roster eligible for salary arbitration although the Jays will in all likelihood cut ties with him before that ever transpires.
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The Blue Jays acquired Solarte from the San Diego Padres in exchange for two minor league players during the last offseason. Solarte appeared to be quite the asset in the initial stages however the honeymoon phase quickly faded as the infielder quickly wore out his welcome with his repeated lackluster effort level.
This roster move will also help alleviate the backlog of infielders on the Jays current roster. Regardless, the eventual promotion of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and a healthy Brandon Drury would have eaten up any potential playing time for Solarte in 2019.
This move actually makes plenty of sense and should afford the Jays with the increased financial flexibility to shore up some starting pitching depth. Conversely, the Blue Jays did pick up the club option on first baseman Justin Smoak who is signed at an affordable $8 million for 2019.