San Diego already entered 2018 with one of the most interesting systems in baseball, but a trade on the new year's first Saturday brought in additional talent and increased the possibility of the Padres' star middle-infield prospects getting Major League playing time next season.
In sending second baseman Yangervis Solarte to Toronto, San Diego got back outfielder Edward Olivares -- formerly the Blue Jays' No. 18 prospect -- and right-handed reliever Jared Carkuff in a deal announced by Padres executive vice president and general manager A.J. Preller.
Olivares, 21, is an athletic outfielder who scores 60s in running and arm strength on the 20-80 scouting scale, and he hit 17 homers in 101 games for Class A Lansing in 2017 -- his first full season as a professional. He went on to play 19 games for Class A Advanced Dunedin and combined to bat .269/.327/.468 with 20 stolen bases.
"It was a chance to add a guy we'd been on for some time," Preller told the The San Diego Union-Tribune. "He has a lot of physical tools and abilities. It's pluses on the scouting card."
Carkuff is 7-4 with a 3.21 ERA in 52 appearances since being selected in the 35th round of the 2016 Draft out of Austin Peay. The 24-year-old has recorded 88 strikeouts against 19 walks over 89 2/3 innings, reaching the Triple-A level for one game last year.
Padres Organization All-Stars
The departure of Solarte, who played 128 games for the Padres last year, may mean a youngster will take over at second base full-time. Carlos Asuaje, a former top prospect, got 84 games there while putting up a .334 on-base percentage and 14 doubles last season.
Waiting at the upper levels of the Minors, however, are No. 49 overall prospect Luis Urias and No. 52 overall prospect Fernando Tatis Jr.
Just 20 years old, Urias hit .296/.398/.380 in 118 games for Double-A San Antonio in 2017. A strong defender, he moved to second base when Tatis -- a slugging shortstop -- jumped from Class A Fort Wayne to the Texas League in August.
Offseason MiLB include
Tatis, who turned 19 on Tuesday, totaled 22 homers, 27 doubles, and 32 steals across the two levels and gained more seasoning in the Dominican Winter League, where he posted a .358 on-base percentage in 17 games.
"You build depth in order to create competition and have guys in case of injury," Preller told the newspaper. "It's also a chance to supplement the club. ... We're still having discussions on the different infielders and we'll see how things play out."