During this past summer, the wheels were quickly coming off for the San Diego Padres’ franchise. The GM, Josh Byrnes was under fire for using $90 million dollars, and not having a damn thing to show for it other than injuries (Josh Johnson, Jedd Gyorko, Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, Everth Cabrera, Andrew Cashner, etc.), futility at the plate (Chase Headley, Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso), and off the field issues with a pair of suspensions (Maybin and Cabrera, both of whom came AFTER Byrnes was shown the door.)
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As the spring turned to summer, and it became obvious that the Padres were not going to be a playoff-caliber team, GM Josh Byrnes was shown the door, and piece by piece, members of the San Diego Padres were traded away. Huston Street was the first domino to fall, going to Anaheim. Then came third baseman Chase Headley. He got his wish, was dealt to a big market team to show he is worth the big dollars as he enters free agency. The results are for another day, but the one piece the Padres received back in the Headley deal, was rookie infielder Yangervis Solarte. Rafael De Paula was a thrown-in arm who has yet to develop.
Recently, Baseball America named Solarte on their All-Rookie team for 2014 as an honorable mention pick. Not bad for a 27-year-old career minor leaguer, who was dealt prior to spending even one full season in the big leagues. Combined, the infielder hit .260/.336/.369 with 10 bombs in less than 140 games for both New York and San Diego. What has made Solarte so valuable to the Padres, is that he can play third base, second base, shortstop and some corner outfield. Did I mention he’s a switch-hitter too?
While Solarte may never develop into a foundation building block for the Padres, he’s certainly a valuable asset that every team needs to have to be competitive. Solarte provides Bud Black with depth and roster flexibility, while also minimizing the roster impact. Solarte takes up one roster spot, and can play up to five different positions. For a player with some pop in his bat, can hit from both sides of the plate, and has an excellent work ethic, the Padres will take that any day of the week.