The San Diego Padres made a major step towards infield stability this weekend, extending third baseman Yangervis Solarte through 2018.
General manager A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres have made the most of their opportunity to improve the roster this offseason. Bringing in pitching depth in the form of Clayton Richard, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyrell Jenkins, and possibly more, it appears that the focus is now shifting towards the rest of the roster.
The deal also gives San Diego club options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, giving the team more control.
The multi-million dollar contract may seem a little steep, but Solarte’s value warrants a deal of this caliber. As a reliable third baseman, the 29-year-old hit .286 in 2016, marking the third consecutive year in which his average has improved.
A consistent glove at third base, this move is also a major plus for an infield which would be thin without Solarte. Trade rumors left many wondering whether or not rookie Ryan Schimpf would move over to third.
Thankfully, Solarte’s return means that this will not be necessary on a regular basis. Schimpf, Carlos Asuaje, and the rest of the young infield will be given time to develop with the pressure off, a major benefit for the future of the organization.
More from Friars on Base
- Jurickson Profar free agency update likely rules out Padres reunion
- Fernando Tatis Jr. may not take to outfield move after Xander Bogaerts addition
- Padres News: Fernando Tatis Jr. trade rumors, Seth Lugo chase, Manny Machado
- Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
- This veteran DH target seems ideal for contending Padres roster
The only striking issue with Solarte based on last season’s stats is his increased strikeouts. His 63 in 2016 is up from his 56 in 2015, despite his 128 less plate appearances between the two seasons. Still, as productive as the third baseman still managed to be at the plate, this is something the club can handle even if it isn’t dealt with.
Solarte’s return also comes as a slight surprise, since several other teams expressed interest in the former amateur free agent this offseason. However, with the pain of a family tragedy which rocked the organization in September still very fresh, whichever move is best for the Solarte family should be the top priority. And of course, there is no reason to believe it wasn’t in the discussions leading up to this deal.
There are many advantages to bringing back Solarte under a multi-year deal, but stability at the hot corner is most important. With this contract, the Padres and their fans now have a better idea of how the Opening Day lineup is going to look. And with Solarte in it, it sure looks a lot better.