MLB’s Winter Meetings started today, and the rumor mills have started churning as well. After trading or non-tendering seven players last week, it’s clear that the Padres are in “sell” mode with the older members of the roster. Reports are stating that third baseman Yangervis Solarte is being “aggressively shopped”. After a career-best season in 2016, he’s a valuable asset in a market hungry for players with his skill set. Ken Rosenthal notes that our closest rival is in the market:
Sources: #Dodgers among teams talking to #Padres about Solarte. Possible 3B if team loses Turner; also played 2B and even 1B in 2015-16.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 5, 2016
Another team that may be interested is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their incumbent hot cornerman Jung Ho Kang was recently arrested for fleeing the scene of a DUI in his native Korea, his third such offense. Solarte brings versatility as well, with experience at second base as well as first. The bat is really what makes him valuable after an impressive .286/.341/.467 showing last year. A number of teams could see him as an upgrade either as a starter or a backup infielder, and since this is his first arbitration-eligible season, he comes at a fair price with three years of team control.
If Solarte were to get dealt, the team would lose its oldest position player, a charismatic leader who seemed to come in to his own last season. In his void, the team would likely slide new greyhair Ryan Schimpf over to third base, slot Cory Spangenberg in at second, and move Carlos Asuaje into a backup role. The team has already added two minor league journeymen to El Paso’s roster in Jamie Romak and Dusty Coleman; the former being a corner IF/OF with a power bat and the latter a slick-fielding shortstop somewhat of the Adam Rosales mold in skill set and in makeup. Prior talk of a potential re-signing of Rosales would bring back the man who covered Solarte’s post for much of his DL stints last year.
Yangervis became a fan favorite last year. An early quad injury placed him on the disabled list, but when he returned his presence ignited the offense and stabilized the defense. The loss of his wife near the end of the season was a tragic reminder of the human element of the game, and the team rallied around him. Now the veteran may be considered a “sell high” candidate by a management team looking to capitalize on a career season and build beyond the immediate value Solarte represents.