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Depth added, but Toronto infield remains intact

Diaz, Ngoepe, Solarte added to mix behind Smoak, Travis, Tulo and Donaldson
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO --- The infield seems to be one area of the roster where the Blue Jays' current status quo should work.

Toronto made a pair of moves early in the offseason to address the infield, acquiring Aledmys Diaz from the Cardinals and Gift Ngoepe from the Pirates. The club continued to bolster its depth Saturday, acquiring Yangervis Solarte from the Padres.

TORONTO --- The infield seems to be one area of the roster where the Blue Jays' current status quo should work.

Toronto made a pair of moves early in the offseason to address the infield, acquiring Aledmys Diaz from the Cardinals and Gift Ngoepe from the Pirates. The club continued to bolster its depth Saturday, acquiring Yangervis Solarte from the Padres.

MLB.com is taking a closer look at each aspect of the Blue Jays' roster as part of its Around the Horn series. Earlier this week, catching depth was examined, and now it's time to take a closer look at where things stand with the infield:

First base: Justin Smoak enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, but until he repeats that level of performance in back-to-back years there will be no shortage of skeptics. One area of concern is that despite the overall strong numbers, Smoak struggled over the final two months by hitting .213 with eight home runs and a .717 OPS.

Video: Donaldson and Smoak provide Smooth and Crisp plays

He's the undisputed starting first baseman and will hit in the middle of Toronto's lineup with a $4.125 million salary that should be a bargain, but a repeat performance will be needed if Toronto plans to reverse last year's offensive struggles. If Smoak misses time, Steve Pearce or prospect Rowdy Tellez will be first in line as replacements.

Second base: While Devon Travis likely enters Spring Training as the starting second baseman, there is talk that he could end up in the outfield. When healthy, Travis will receive everyday at-bats and should hit at the top of the lineup. Alongside right-hander Aaron Sanchez, Travis might be the biggest X-factor on Toronto's roster, and while there's no questioning the upside, he has yet to appear in more than 101 games in any of his three seasons.

If Travis moves to the outfield, then Diaz or Solarte could play second base, but considering Toronto's checkered health it might make more sense to keep them as a valuable backups and add an outfielder from outside the organization.

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki isn't going anywhere any time soon. He has three years and $58 million remaining on his contract while also possessing a full no-trade clause. Tulowitzki will be the everyday shortstop, but the Blue Jays have some concerns about his ability to avoid injuries.

Video: TOR@BOS: Tulowitzk collects four hits vs. the Red Sox

Ngoepe was acquired to provide depth, but with a career .671 OPS, the 27-year-old doesn't offer much with the bat. Diaz is another option if the Blue Jays decide against making him the everyday second baseman, and Solarte has also played shortstop. One other name to keep an eye on is prospect Richard Urena. So the club has plenty of options behind the oft-injured Tulowitzki, but the fact remains Toronto needs his bat.

Third base: Josh Donaldson's situation has not changed since the end of the season. The Cardinals -- along with a countless number of other teams -- want him, but the Blue Jays have yet to show any inclination toward making a trade. That could change if Toronto gets off to a slow start, and with no word of progress being made in contract negotiations, it's certainly possible Donaldson's time in Toronto is drawing to a close.

Until his situation is resolved, Donaldson will remain the face of this franchise and the club will cling to the hope that a potential MVP season will give the Blue Jays a chance to compete in the AL East. Top Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is waiting in the wings, but likely is another season away from his MLB debut. If Donaldson goes down with an injury, this is another spot that could be covered by Diaz or Solarte.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook.

Toronto Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson, Justin Smoak, Devon Travis, Troy Tulowitzki