Blue Jays acquire infielder Solarte from Padres for prospect Olivares
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TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays acquired infielder Yangervis Solarte from the San Diego Padres on Saturday in exchange for prospects Edward Olivares and Jared Carkuff.
Solarte, 30, had 18 homers and 64 RBIs over 128 games last season. He made his big-league debut with the New York Yankees in 2014.
"We've been talking about Yangervis for a long time internally and our discussions date back with San Diego into last year, really," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said on a conference call. "He's an interesting, versatile player who has a nice offensive track record and a great reputation in the clubhouse and one that we thought would complement us well."
Solarte spent most of last season at second base but can play all four infield positions. Atkins said that versatility is what attracted the Blue Jays to him.
"We see him playing on a very regular basis and whether that mean spelling second base, spelling at shortstop from time to time, at third, (he) can play first, he's been in the outfield before. So it's really about versatility," Atkins said. "By no means do we see him solely as a backup third baseman."
Olivares, 21, started last year at single-A Lansing before moving to Class-A Dunedin of the Florida State league. The centre-fielder hit 17 homers and had 72 RBIs over 120 games.
He was originally signed by the Blue Jays in 2014 as an international free agent from Caracas, Venezuela.
Carkuff, a 24-year-old right-hander, finished last season with triple-A Buffalo. He played with four minor-league teams over the year, posting a 3-4 record and 3.86 earned-run average.
The native of Bell Buckle, Tenn., has a 7-4 mark with 15 saves and 3.21 ERA in 52 career minor-league games. He was selected by Toronto in the 35th round of the June 2016 draft out of Austin Peay State University.
The Blue Jays have not made many changes to their roster this off-season. One area that's still to be addressed is their need for a corner outfielder.
"I think definitely that need remains and that will be one of the holes we look to fill to complement our outfielders," Atkins said. "We also feel as though we have a very good group that could be potentially at triple-A. We feel like we could start the season with the outfielders that we have.
"We will definitely look to see if there's a way to upgrade or compliment our outfield."
Atkins said second baseman Devon Travis and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki were both recovering well from injuries and he expects both to be ready for the start of spring training.
Tulowitzki rolled his ankle in late July and didn't return to action while Travis had a knee injury that kept him out for 112 games.
"Devon has really, really progressed as well as we possibly could have expected and Troy, his ankle has really responding well to everything," Atkins said. "Both have hit every mark that we've asked them to hit."