There is no question that Yangervis Solarte is both a fan favorite and a beloved player in San Diego, but he is also a solid starter on a team that is still some time away from being a threat in the NL West. Considering he’s in his prime and has two years left on his contract (with two years of options tacked on to that), he deserves an opportunity to compete for a title while he’s able to contribute, and in order to get the most out of giving him that opportunity, the Padres need to trade him this year when he would be far more than a rental for the receiving team.
To get a feel for Solarte’s value, a look at a comparable trade that occurred this past offseason is necessary. Solarte is slashing .268/.349/.425, which is actually down a bit from last season when he had a .286/.341/.467 line. His WAR this season so far is 0.8, but it was a quality 2.8 last year.
Anyways, during this past offseason, Logan Forsythe was dealt from the Rays to the Dodgers for Jose De Leon, who is currently the #27 prospect in all of baseball. Forsythe is in the final year of his contract and, at the time of the trade, had just finished a .264/.333/.444 season with a WAR of 3.3. Now, it hasn’t exactly worked out for the Dodgers this season as he is providing them with a disappointing .201/.331/.276 slash line and a WAR of 0.6
With more time on a team friendly contract and a similar value in terms of WAR last season, Solarte should theoretically gain the Padres a stronger prospect package in return than Forsythe landed for the Rays.
Keeping that in mind, we will look at some possible trade packages over the next two days that could make for a mutually beneficial trade for the Friars and Solarte.
Possible Returns for Solarte
Boston Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec (Red Sox #4), C.J. Chatham (#6), and Trey Ball (#29)
Despite Pablo Sandoval’s .212/.269/.354 line to start the season and the poor replacement play they’ve gotten at the hot corner with Sandoval injured, the Red Sox are tied atop the AL East with the Yankees. Naturally, Solarte would be a great replacement to help put them over the top against the surprising Yankees if they continue to prefer giving Rafeal Dever time to season in the minors. Even if he was recalled, Solarte could provide flexibility at second and DH.
With the bevy of prospects they traded away to acquire Chris Sale in December, a larger package than most would appear to be required from the depleted Red Sox system. Bobby Dalbec’s strong arm and power bat are attractive qualities that could land him with the Padres, but his range needs to improve to stick at third base. He showed promise last year in Lowell (New York-Pennsylvania League), hitting .386/.427/.674.
Even though Chatham is a taller than average shortstop with unremarkable speed (Grade 50), he still makes a great SS with his plus arm, strong glove, and instincts. On top of his defensive prowess, Chatham grades as a good hitter who makes great contact, giving the Red Sox confidence enough to draft him in the second round of the 2016 draft.
With Ball, the Padres would be picking up a former #7 overall pick in need of a change of scenery. Since adding muscle after joining the Sox’s system right out of high school, his fastball has actually slowed down, dropping from a top speed of 94 mph to around 92 mph. His walks sit at 4.5/9 IP in his first season in AA, and his BAA is .316. On the upside, he has a strong, deceptive changeup (Grade 55), and with a change in pitching instruction, he has a chance to regain some of his velocity and start missing some bats. Worst case scenario, the Padres could shift him to the bullpen or try him out in the outfield, where he was a strong, quick outfielder with a power bat.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Ray (Brewers #2, MLB #23), Demi Orimoloye (Brewers #24)
With the Brewers holding the position as the surprise leaders of the NL Central and their starting 2B Jonathan Villar hitting a sub-par .213/.283/.342, they could be buyers, assuming they stay in the lead or within striking distance of the Cubs.
While Lewis Brinson is an attractive trade target for the Padres given his five-tool game, the Brewers are very unlikely to move him, especially he’s already close enough to joining Milwaukee regularly. The next best thing would be Ray, who similarly possesses five-tool prowess, albeit with a weaker arm than Brinson. Although Ray has a higher rate of swinging strikes than you’d like to see, his 15 homers and 44 steals in his last year of college, as well as his 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases already through the first 53 games of the high-A season portend a great upside for this future major league centerfielder.
Orimoloye is an unrefined but promising prospect originally from Nigeria, who moved to Canada at the age of 10 months. He has plus power, speed, and arm strength. He is only hitting .239 for the year, but at just twenty year of age that isn’t overly concerning for Single-A ball. As he grows as a player offensively and defensively, his power and strong arm could help turn him into a middle of the order right fielder.
New York Yankees: Blake Rutherford (Yankees #3, MLB #32), Miguel Andujar (#9), and Freicer Perez (#26)
With the Baby Bombers still tied for the lead this late in the season, a team that might have been expected to sell at the deadline this year looks like a team that might be buying. Even more surprisingly, they could be buying at third base, a position which they addressed three years ago in a trade sending none other than Yangervis Solarte to the Padres to get Chase Headley. With Headley slashing .245/.335/.362 and Chris Carte being jettisoned, Solarte would be an improvement that could help push the Yanks to a division title. After all, the farm in New York is so full that there should be some expendable prospects.
While Clint Frazier, with his power hitting and overall five-tool prospects, would be a great pickup for the Padres, he seems to be a very likely part of the Yankees future, especially since he was just acquired last summer in the Andrew Miller trade. Jorge Mateo also seems like he would be a great trade centerpiece, but his sometimes erratic defensive play at short and the bevy of middle infielders in the Padres’ system makes it seem like too much of a risk to go for him as the centerpiece of a trade, even though his speed (Grade 80) is very tempting.
This leaves us with Rutherford. He’s a likely corner outfielder with all five tools at least graded at 50, with his hitting and power at 55. His strength and ability to make contact blended with his pitch recognition, plate discipline, and use of the entire field could lead to his growth into a complete hitter. He might even live up to the favorable comparisons he has received to another Yankees outfielder from the 2000 World Series champions, David Justice.
Andujar, a signee out of the Dominican Republic at age 16, has recently hit his stride. He began his season at AA Trenton for the first time this year and slashed .312/.342/.494, leading to a recent promotion to AAA, where he has continued with a .353/.421/.489 line through his first week. He has strong hitting and power grades due to his raw power and consistent hard contact, but he needs to refine his approach at the plate to cut down on strikeouts and weak contact. His strongest tool, his arm (Grade 70), is well-suited for his position at third base; although, he has some fielding inconsistencies to improve upon. Nevertheless, he could make a strong case to play third in the majors in the near future.
Perez makes an interesting case to finish out this package, but his 6’8” frame could use some filling out as he sits at 190 lbs right now. Even so, since joining the Yankees system in 2014 out of the Dominican, Perez has upped his fastball from the 90-93 mph range to 94-97 mph, with a current ceiling at 99 mph. While his length makes his fastball deceptive, it makes his curveball hard to control, which could ultimately shift him to a bullpen role in the major leagues.
Part 2 of this piece will run tomorrow morning…