The Blue Jays not picking-up the option on Yangervis Solarte for 2019 had a lot more to do than just the financial commitment or their glut of infielders.
It was the way he played the game. When times were good, Solarte was a fan favourite and solid power hitter. When things went bad however, Solarte became lazy, lacked enthusiasm, and was as unproductive as any player on the team.
Solarte has probably been asking himself why the Blue Jays went out and acquired him last winter given that they had no intention of keeping him over the long run. It did seem a bit strange that Toronto would bring-in another infielder, Brandon Drury, when they already had Solarte, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Aledmys Diaz, Devon Travis and a slew of prospects near ready for the majors. Truth be told, by the time they acquired Drury in late July, Toronto had already realized that Solarte and his style of play weren’t for them.
New manager Charlie Montoyo mentioned during his introductory press conference that all he asks of his players is that they play hard and give it their best. I hardly think Solarte would appreciate such an approach when he almost always dogs it running to 1st base.
How on earth do the Blue Jays ever expect to beat the Yankees and Red Sox when those clubs not only boast more talent, but work harder too. The days of Toronto players dogging-it are over. Montoyo has made it perfectly clear that style of play won’t fly with him. There’s nothing fans hate more than a player that doesn’t hustle.
With a young crop of prospects already making the jump to the big leagues, the last thing Toronto needs is a veteran with a half-assed approach. The Blue Jays will be in tough over the next few years as they try to climb back atop the AL East. And there’s no chance of accomplishing such a difficult task if they build around players that give any less than max effort.