Pirates’ offseason trade target: Yangervis Solarte

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Yangervis Solarte
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Yangervis Solarte /
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Toward the top of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ offseason to do list is adding third base help, could Yangervis Solarte be the player that adds that help?

As Jung Ho Kang‘s status remains unknown, the Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves needing to add third base help this offseason. This help could come in a variety of ways. It could be an everyday third baseman, a second baseman allowing Josh Harrison to slide over to third base, or someone to platoon with David Freese.

A player that falls into the platoon category would be Yangervis Solarte. The 30-year-old Solarte is a switch-hitter who has always hit right-handed pitching well in his career. This could make him an enticing third base platoon partner to be paired with David Freese.

To add Yangervis Solarte, Neal Huntington and the Pirates would have to swing a deal with the San Diego Padres. Solarte is under contract with the Padres through the 2020 season and is owed $17.25 million the next three seasons.

Due to the emergence of young players such as Carlos Asuaje and Cory Spangenberg, the Padres might be willing to listen to trade offers for Yangervis Solarte. Another factor is that the Padres are still in the process of rebuilding and would most likely be open to trading any player not named Wil Myers, Manuel Margot, or Jose Pirela.

During his Major League career Solarte has played every position except center field and catcher. At third base, Solarte has had his fair share of defensive issues. His lifetime defensive runs saved (DRS) at third base is -5. However, in 2017 he improved greatly posting a career-best +2 DRS at the hot corner.

The biggest appeal of Solarte is his bat against right-handed pitching. During his Major League career Solarte owns a 7.8 percent walk rate, a strikeout rate of just 11.4 percent, and an on-base percentage of .334 against right-handed pitching. Solarte has slugged .432 against righties during his time as a Big Leaguer, his ISO is .160, and his .332 wOBA is 12 points higher than league average.

This is a bat that would pair well with David Freese in a third base platoon. Despite his struggles in 2017, Freese still mashed left-handed pitching to the tune of a 15.5 percent walk rate, .409 on-base percentage, a .421 slugging percentage, and a .364 wOBA. In his career Freese owns a .380 on-base percentage, .464 slugging percentage, and a wOBA of .366 against left-handed pitching.

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In 2018 the Pittsburgh Pirates’ third base equation needs to be different than it was in 2017. If not, and David Freese is relied upon to play every day again, the Pirates will have failed to address their biggest need when it comes to the lineup and the offense is more likely to struggle again.

Attempting to swing a trade with the San Diego Padres for Yangervis Solarte could help the Pirates fix third base next season. Solarte is an above league average hitter against right-handed pitchers and Freese is against left-handed pitchers. A platoon of these two could be very productive in 2018.