The San Diego Padres sent off 30-year-old infielder Yangervis Solarte to the Toronto Blue Jays for a couple of lesser known prospects.
The trade is a clear win for the Blue Jays. Solarte floated around the minor leagues from 2006 until he broke out as a feel good story for the New York Yankees back in 2014. He was later dealt to the Padres in the Chase Headley deal at the deadline.
Josh Donaldson has been the subject of trade rumors, and Toronto’s infield always seems to be banged up. With Solarte’s ability to play anywhere, he fills a big need.
So, what did the Padres get in return?
Edward Olivares, OF
Olivares is the real get of the deal. Part of a Lansing team that had superstars Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Olivares big 2017 got somewhat buried.
Olivares was signed out of Venezuela before the 2014 season. He played his first three years in Rookie ball, showing signs of life, but never exhibiting top notch stuff. Turning 21 entering his first year at full-season ball, Olivares exploded in Low and High-A.
He slashed .277/.330/.500 in Lansing before a late season promotion to the Florida State League. The right-handed slugger has a quick bat, but is mostly pull power, launching 15 of his 17 home runs to left field. He has well-above average speed, and combined with that power, he was able to add in 26 doubles and nine triples. Olivares was good on the base paths, swiping 18 of 25 stolen base attempts.
Obviously, Olivares isn’t a perfect prospect. Again, using only his time in the Midwest League, he only struck out 17.7 percent of the time, but he also only walked 4.7 percent of the time. Those numbers were more balanced in the FSL, but he also only played 19 games at the level. His Lansing numbers are more indicative of his previous time in Rookie ball. He also could possibly add some more power if he can bring his ground ball rate (44.2 percent) down a bit. He makes his fly balls count with a 12.9 percent home run to fly ball ratio.
Watch this home run. You can see how wiry he is, which makes his power more impressive (and shows there is likely more coming should he continue to progress as he did this year). He has a little noise pre-swing, but when he sees his pitch, he unloads quickly and powerfully (video courtesy of Blue Jays Prospects on YouTube).
Olivares also excels defensively. His speed gives him the range and he has the arm to play all three outfield positions. That gives him the floor of a fourth outfielder and the ceiling of an everyday centerfielder.
Still just 21, Olivares looks like he has room to grow. He’s 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, so a reduced ground ball rate and some added muscle, the Padres are looking at a future 20/20 player who makes pretty good contact. This is a great get for the Padres, and one the Blue Jays were able to make thanks to some depth at the position.
Jared Carkuff, RHP
The Padres also received Carkuff in the deal. Now 24 years old, Carkuff is a future bullpen arm that could make his big league debut this season.
Carkuff was drafted in the 35th round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Austin Peay. The righty was all over the place in his first full year as a pro, playing in Short Season ball and even making an appearance in Triple-A.
He was a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities with Lansing, but the Padres would have to be pretty pressed for arms to see him as a future closer. He has a nice fastball-slider combo, but isn’t a big strikeout guy. That said, he could serve a roll out of the bullpen in San Diego this year.