NEW YORK -- Yangervis Solarte was the feel-good story of this year's spring training camp and the first two months of the regular season, when he batted .298 with six home runs and 26 RBIs. But he tailed off badly after that, and today his Yankees career ended when he was shipped off to San Diego along with minor league pitching prospect Rafael De Paula for Chase Headley.
Solarte spoke by phone with Marly Rivera of ESPNDeportes.com on his way to the airport.
New York Yankees
"I just want to thank the New York Yankees for the opportunity they gave me; they made my dream to play in the majors come true," said Solarte, who had spent eight seasons in the minor league systems of two other organizations before making New York's team this past spring. "I am very thankful for the support the Yankee fans gave me, which was completely unexpected; they gave me inspiration to keep fighting and working hard."
But Solarte, 26, was clearly blindsided by the trade, which was announced this afternoon. "I never imagined I would be traded, but I see it as a positive, as an opportunity to get to play every day, and do what I have to do to stay in the majors," he said. "If it were not for the Yankees I would not be where I am today, so I want to thank everyone for their support; this is another opportunity for me to prove myself as a player. It was amazing getting to play next to one of the best players of all time.''
By that, Solarte meant Derek Jeter. Duh.
Considering the similarity between Solarte's and Headley's stats this season, Yankees GM Brian Cashman was asked if he considered Solarte's April and May an aberration, and his June and July -- when he hit just .200 over his final 200 plate appearances as a Yankee -- more indicative of the player he was likely to be.
"It’s hard to say," Cashman said. "Some players can find themselves later in their career and I think that’s yet to be determined in Yangervis Solarte’s case. When we signed him our assessment was he would be a real quality support player, and he emerged into something much more than that, something that our scouting reports didn’t really project. There has been a market correction to some degree."
Cashman also thanked Solarte for his early-season contributions, when for a time he was among the team leaders in home runs and RBIs. "He was a great story," Cashman said. "He was a great individual. He gave us everything he had. So we were lucky to have him. He really saved our bacon early this year. When we had a lot of other issues going on this year, he stepped up. And for that we’re thankful. He brings a lot of energy and a positive attitude so I wish him well."