The Blue Jays announced that they’ve declined their $5.5MM club option on infielder Yangervis Solarte, per a team announcement. He’ll instead earn a $750K buyout. However, because Solarte does not yet have six full years of Major League service, he’ll remain on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster as an arbitration-eligible player for the time being. It seems decidedly unlikely, though, that he’ll reach arbitration with the Jays. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected Solarte for a $5.9MM salary through arbitration, and it’d obviously make little sense for Toronto to buy out an option that was already cheaper than what he might otherwise earn in arbitration.
Solarte, 31, was acquired from the Padres last offseason in exchange for prospects Jared Carkuff and Edward Olivares. At the time, he was coming off a fairly productive four-year run to open his big league career, having batted a combined .267/.327/.419 (105 OPS+) through 2061 plate appearances with the Yankees and Padres (with most of that work coming as a Padre, where pitcher-friendly Petco Park was his home).
Solarte seemed poised for a solid offensive season but instead faceplanted with a .226/.277/.378 slash in 506 PAs with Toronto. He did swat 17 home runs, but his OBP woes and career-worst defensive ratings led WAR to view him as a sub-replacement-level player in 2018. It’s possible that Toronto could try to cut Solarte loose and try to bring him back at a lower rate, but it’s also possible that he’ll simply be passed through waivers and, upon clearing, hit the open market as a free agent.