We’ve been through this before. A new, seemingly unheard of player rises from the ashes of obscurity and takes the team that took a chance on him by storm. That’s what Yangervis Solarte is doing in San Diego, and it’s the same thing he did in New York. I saw it all, fans. I saw some career minor leaguer beat all odds and become the starting third baseman for the Yankees by force. He pried that job from the hands of other players and for a time he earned it. New York was in a frenzy over this odd story about a guy with a weird name. Articles were written, TV shows were talking about him, Yankees broadcasters were in love and the ink on the first page of the upcoming movie script was beginning to dry. It’s safe to say that New York and its fans jumped the gun on this one. Yangervis Solarte, like Ithacus, flew too high and the fall was ugly to watch. Friars fans need to temper their enthusiasm for their new third baseman.
He was a doubles machine early on. Driving in runs by rocketing balls into the gaps and coming up in seemingly every clutch situation. He played great defense and hustled on every single play. At one point during the early goings he led the American League in batting average. Fans in the Bronx thought they had found a diamond in the rough and they all thought that they knew Yangervis Solarte was here to stay. Then a slump came. It was alright because he had slumped before, and broke out of it each time. But this one didn’t stop and it snowballed into a zero for the century-type slump. Soon he lost his starting spot, and then the bench wasn’t enough. He struggled in every aspect. Pinch hitting was a no go. Defense fell flat. That good old “clutch factor” disappeared. So the Yankees sent him down for a week or so and he did great… in Triple-A. After getting called back up, he still struggled. Then he was traded to the Padres for Chase Headley and the player that had stole the hearts of every New Yorker just became “That one guy who was good for a while before we traded him”. Headley became the Yankees third baseman and the era of Yangervis Solarte seemed to be a long way away. The league figured out Yangervis and he couldn’t adjust.
Now, you all see how good he’s been in his new uniform. Currently batting .271 with 3 home runs and 15 RBI in just 27 games. All San Diego media can write about is how “Solarte is here to stay” and “he’s been so great since being traded”. Is he the third baseman of San Diego’s future? Did the Yankees give up too quick? Did the Padres get a steal for Chase Headley?
The feel good story goes on and on and we’re all waiting for the premier of the movie about his life (Sandra Bullock and Hank Azaria. That’s all I’m saying). Maybe Solarte is just a National League ball player. It could be that he’s better suited to play in the Senior Circuit. But the youngster who is being hailed as the next Padres third baseman after being hailed as the next Yankees third baseman may be set to slam directly into the wall again. San Diego can root and cheer all they want, but it’s time to lower the expectations and not get too high on Yangervis Solarte.