The Toronto Blue Jays had to decide on team options for Justin Smoak and Yangervis Solarte as they prepare for an intriguing offseason.
When the World Series comes to a close, it starts the clock on an important time for MLB front offices including the Toronto Blue Jays.
Teams have to make decisions on club options for players under contract for the 2019 seasons and the Blue Jays had two contracts to deal with before the deadline. Toronto decided to accept the option for Justin Smoak but decline the one for Yangervis Solarte for 2019.
Both players will remain on the 40-man roster for this season but Solarte can go to arbitration in order to settle on a new contract which will work in favour of the Blue Jays since the infielder was owed $5.5 million in his club option. Considering the struggles Solarte had as the season went along, expect the team to either get him at a more affordable number or see himself out of town.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the depth of options available to the Blue Jays especially young prospects like Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Richard Urena, and trade deadline acquisition, Brandon Drury.
The decision to pick up Smoak’s option was a no-brainer considering the value he brings at a plate and at first base. Considering how Kendrys Morales makes $12 million, it’s difficult to find a reason to complain about Smoak.
When the team announced the extension for Smoak it came with a lot of displeasure because the slugger was prone to striking out. However, it didn’t take long for him to change his approach at the plate and become a prominent hitter in the lineup hitting 38 home runs in 2017 and 25 last season.
Obviously, there’s more work to be done with many players looking for new contracts including Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Kevin Pillar, Randal Grichuk, Devon Travis, Drury, Ryan Tepera, and Almedys Diaz who are eligible for arbitration. Those situations will become clearer over time but some will be tougher to deal with including Stroman and Sanchez.
What do you think about the decisions to accept Smoak’s option but to decline Solarte’s? Which pending contract should we keep an eye on? Let us know in the comments below.