The Cincinnati Reds have acquired minor league shortstop Kyle Holder from the Philadelphia Phillies according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Holder was a Rule 5 pick this past December, coming over to Philadelphia from the New York Yankees. The rules still apply for Cincinnati – Holder has to make the active roster out of spring training or be offered back to the Yankees.

The Yankees 1st round pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of San Diego, Holder struggled to hit early on in his professional career. He posted a .527 OPS in rookie ball with Staten Island over 56 games in 2015. The next two years his OPS was just .669 and .666 in Low-A and Advanced-A. In 2018 he missed much of the year, playing in just 48 games while posting a .667 OPS in A-ball and Double-A. In 2019, as a 25-year-old, he finally started to show something with the bat as he hit .265/.336/.405 for Double-A Trenton. That was easily the best offensive season he’s had as a professional.

Kyle Holder will turn 27-years-old in May and he’s never played above Double-A. He’s not known to hit much, and he’s not expected to hit much, either. Where he does stand out, though, is with his glove. He’s a plus defender with a plus arm at the second most valuable defensive position on the fielder. During the 2020 year he was with the Yankees at their alternate site, but never had a chance to reach the Major Leagues.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network says that this move doesn’t mean that Cincinnati isn’t still trying to acquire a starting shortstop, noting that the Reds are still hoping to land Amed Rosario from Cleveland in a trade. Rosario is one of two shortstops that was acquired by Cleveland when they traded Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets, leaving them with options to work with on the trade market.

ZiPS has a projection for Kyle Holder in the 2021 season for a .232/.283/.340 line and -0.4 WAR. Plus defense, but a bat that is well below-average. The -0.4 WAR, though, does come with an accumulated 458 plate appearances, which is tough to see if he’s putting up that kind of offensive line.

76 Responses

  1. JB

    Awesome! If you add up all the zip projections of our shortstops do they equal at least a positive WAR?

    • KDJ

      The Reds continue their trend of needing a car, but buying yet another used bicycle off a front lawn.

  2. Jon

    Insert vomit emoji. I seriously hope this is nothing more than a depth signing.

  3. burtgummer01

    They didn’t want to pay Didi so they take the Phillies scraps instead

    • David

      Well, yes. Did you expect something else? Really?

  4. Colorado Red

    What did they give up. Hope not much. Looks like an offer him back routine.
    We got a no hit SS, in Tucker.

    • Colorado Red

      I an an idiot. He is a SS, not a catcher. We have a couple in the minors who can do this. Still not a good trade.

  5. Greenfield Red

    Well, now the Reds can print those World Series tickets.

    I’m holding on to my fandom that is 50 years in the making, and what do the Reds do? They trade for one team’s left overs and let us know they are still trying to trade for another team’s leftovers. And yet both of the other teams involved finished worse than the Reds last year.

    Pathetic is the only word that comes to mind.

  6. Magnum 44

    Hey you got to admit Krall sure knows how to move the needle……That trade makes you want to go out and buy tickets.

  7. Greenfield Red

    Next we’ll find out this was really a 3 team trade with Hunter Greene and Jose Garcia going to the Yankees and some 29 year-old minor leaguer going to Philly from NY.

  8. Votto4life

    Can this off-season possible get any worse?

    • TR

      Not likely with February just around the corner.

  9. Optimist

    Kyle “Place” Holder for Garcia, or the “Other Kyle” placeholder for Garcia?

    • TR

      No offense intended to Kyle Holder, but place holder seems to be an appropriate expression for whoever occupies the shortstop position in the next year or two while Jose Garcia hones in on his ML hitting skills.

    • Mark Moore

      That’s what I thought when I read this. They sacrifice this kid (not really at kid at 27) and develop Garcia with less pressure. He’ll bat 9th (assuming the DH) and what they want is a solid glove.

      I’m not upset at the no Didi given what he ended up getting from the Phillies. It would have been nice, but whatever …

      • VaRedsFan

        2 yrs 24 million hardly breaks the bank

      • VaRedsFan

        correction 28 million. Isn’t 14 million per year what we were expecting?? And only 2 years.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Why did the Reds reallocate money if they weren’t going to spend it? Or is that just another lie from the FO? Between moving Iglesias and non-tendering Bradley, Goodwin, and Casali they had the money to sign Didi. The let the last viable FA go for a price they could have easily afforded. Only to then let the team that beat them in FA give them their leftovers. Pathetic.

      • Redsvol

        I really don’t think Didi ever wanted to play for the Reds. Reds tried to get him 2 straight years now and he signed with Phillies both times. Seems clear he and his agent were just using Reds to leverage for more $. Can’t blame him, but I doubt we ever had a chance.
        2021 will ride on the main guys hitting like their career averages, Senzel and Shogo improving (they can’t get worse), and the pitching staff continuing to develop. If we’re in the playoff hunt in June I’m hopeful they’ll go out and upgrade the SS position.

    • Hotto4Votto

      That’s the perfect nickname for him. That’s what I’ll call him from here on. What a lame move Reds.

  10. Alex Reds

    Can’t hurt to see if they’ve got something in Holder. I doubt they gave up much of anything, as once Phillies signed Didi, he wasn’t going to make the roster. Saves Phillies the money to return back to the Yankees. This also gives Reds a tiny bit of leverage in future SS trades. On one hand, I wish Bob would have spent $15-16 million for 2 years for Didi. On the second hand, I wish the Reds weren’t saddled with bad contracts – Votto, Moose, Akiyama – including from last years signings. On the third hand, Bob wasn’t patient and traded away a very bright Reds future that was controllable starting in about 2022-23 with what would have been as of now 7x top 100 prospects. Payroll also would have cleared out by then, and the Reds could finally buy the Arenado/Betts/Goldschmidt/Bauer type contracts with high WAR return without giving up much of prospects. On the fourth hand, Bob went all in and then wasn’t willing to invest even $15 million extra into the team during the all in period. On the fifth hand, Bob won’t accelerate the next coming soon rebuild by trading anything with value and expiring contracts or bought out contracts in the next two years – Suarez, previously Bauer at mid season, Moose/Castellanos and eat their contracts so they actually have value, Winker, etc. Gray’s value might be highest right now with control and recent performance. This also gets a higher draft pick. We ran out of hands.. Apparently Bob wants to win but not spend extra money. You can’t be a small market team with their highest paid players with very negative value based on poor performance and age decline. Krall is doing the best he can with a slashed payroll and no clear franchise direction other than muddle through. By best he can, I mean what else can he do with the owner limitations and prior poor decisions. Suarez value will likely be higher at mid-season if he gets back to stronger performance.
    As far as shortstops, might as well have Alfredo Rodriguez compete with Holder as defensive shortstops until García is ready, hopefully ready by mid season. Alfredo’s defense should also be strong, and while he has no power, might be able to hit similar to Holder. We can also go with the hope and pray strategy for Blandino and Farmer miracles – and the rest of most of the roster that underperformed past year.
    The reality is this team won’t be good until it clears bad contracts and frees up payroll without giving up prospects and adding elite prospects. I remember when Braves fans were mad the Braves double dipped their rebuild and extended it since they weren’t ready to go all in yet. That patience was smart for a mid market payroll and look at where they are now.

    • MK

      Nothing wrong with Moose and Akiyama contracts

      • BigRedMike

        The Castellanos and Moustakas contracts are bad contracts. Akiyama is fine

        Maybe Krall will actually have a plan, unlike Williams

  11. Scott Patrick

    Can we just get new ownership that is willing to spend money to make money. This is a fiasco and it’s apparent Krall is way over his head. Teams have took advantage of the Reds for past several years due to incompetent front office.

    • Doug Gray

      If ownership isn’t willing to spend money, what is Krall supposed to do?

      • Jon

        Ownership should at least say that they won’t be spending more money, instead of leading fans to believe otherwise.

      • Doug Gray

        They basically did that already when they said they’d be “reallocating” money.

      • Mark Moore

        Exactly. I doubt Billy Beane could do his job given the situation. Well, maybe he could … but I doubt it.

      • Klugo

        Something special. You dont have to be perfect to succeed. You just have to be special. Krall seems average, at best.

    • Mark Moore

      I won’t say other teams took advantage of the Reds. These are $1B+ corporations. In that strata, you don’t just get taken advantage of. You do make choices, many of which appear to be questionable and give away an advantage to another team. None of these teams HAVE to make the trades they make or sign the players they sign. They choose to do it.

      To Doug’s point, ownership handcuffs the GM role. Krall does little on his own.

  12. RojoBenjy

    This makes no sense to me. A move just to make a move?

    • Hotto4Votto

      It’s barely even a move. Our “move” for a SS is a guy another team didn’t seem fit to give a 40-man spot to.

  13. LDS

    Even on a depth move, why tie up a slot on the 40 man roster for AA no bat SS? This is on par with buying a lottery ticket expecting to win the jackpot.

    • Indydoug

      It ‘s not a spot on the 40 man but the 25 or 26 man roster. Or offer him back to Yankees. Or possibly trade Yankees Castillo so Ress can send him to minors…??

  14. Hotto4Votto

    Ugh. The longer this offseason has gone one the more disgusted I’ve been with the Reds. More dumpster diving antics. I don’t want Place Holder. I don’t want Rosario. I want the Reds to go out and get an actual SS that can help with 2021. It’s going to be a long season. It’s been a brutally long offseason already.

  15. Woodrow Thedaug

    At what point can we wonder if a Simmons or Gregorius was offered more money by the Reds, but chose elsewhere – a better chance to win, more comfort with an organization? Maybe Simmons was offered $11 million, but he dislikes Skyline? Didi was offered more, but can’t handle seeing David Bell everyday and thinking about how the 2001 Mariners should have won it all? Or something like that.

    Would that make us feel better or worse?

  16. Optimist

    Consider this angle – perhaps the Reds/Krall/Bob are angling for 3 months of SS play from the current roster. They’re looking at the post-2021 season FA list of SSs, and thinking there will be a glut of 1/2 season rentals available at the trade deadline.

    If they stay within range of a playoff spot, they make a move for one of the soon to be FAs, knowing they only get a few months of value, but at a correspondingly low cost both in salary and the traded values.

    If they fall out of playoff range, so what, they’ll be sellers as well, but not in the crowded SS market.

    It gets Garcia the extra year in AA/AAA everyone concurs with, and keeps the payroll static. They also get to see if they need a full rebuild, contingent on how last years contracts perform.

    It’s a small-market/COVID budget strategy, and has some merit in looking ahead to see how prospects and contracts develop.

    • Kevin Patrick

      This articulates so much better what I happened to be feeling too.

  17. LDS

    MLBTR is posting that the Reds are discussing Adames. That sounds like a decent pick up if it didn’t cost them everything. Wait it’s the Reds, nothing to see here.

  18. doofus

    I do not believe that Jose Garcia IS the long term answer at SS. The front office (aka Lucy) has everyone (Charlie Brown) believing that he “only needs to sharpen his hitting skills,” but that is just FO spin. We should not fall for it.

    Garcia is a great glove, no bat SS. Call him a an Alfredo Rodriguez clone.

    Teams know that the Reds are desperate for a SS. Perhaps Krall should not have telegraphed that at the start of the offseason. I wonder how well he does at playing Poker? This is why teams are setting the price high for the Reds to acquire any SS they possess. So unable to meet the price, in prospects or capital, the Reds FO pursue low cost, low level shortstops. The end result is bupkis.

    Until Nick Krall can prove that he can dance with his peers or play Poker in the talent acquisition arena of major league baseball, the Reds will not secure a front line SS.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Garcia may or may not cut it at SS. But he’s shown a lot more offensive skills and has more potential to tap into still than Rodriguez has ever shown.
      A brief comparison at the same level:
      Garcia (age 21) put up 280/343/436/779 at A+ Daytona in a notoriously pitcher friendly league.
      Rodriguez (age 23) put up 253/294/294/588 at A+ Daytona his first go around. Then 207/270/324/595 the next season before moving up to AA.

      That season was Garcia’s last season before being called up to the Reds. He hit very well for the league, and much much better than Rodriguez at a younger age. They’re not the same caliber of hitting prospect.

      • doofus

        If Garcia has “a lot more offense skills” than Rodriguez, what are they? What potential does Garcia possess that has not been “tapped” yet?

        With respect, it seems that you are down with Lucy’s rap.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Well at the same level, he’s hit for a better average, he’s gotten on base at a better clip, he’s hit for more power in a league that absolutely saps power all at a younger age than Rodriguez. Better hit skill, better plate discipline, better power. He was 15 of 17 in stolen base attempts, Rodriguez was 11 for 20. What other offensive skills do you want? The numbers (not Lucy) clearly state at the same level at a younger age Garcia is much better offensively in every area.

    • Matt WI

      But Doofus, don’t you remember the spring training HR’s Garcia hit? They clearly proved he should be starting. Everyone needs to etch that into their brain before commenting on somone’s spring stats, ever, ever again.

    • Doug Gray

      Jose Garcia is better at literally every single aspect of the game than Alfredo Rodriguez. All of them. He’s a better defender, he’s got a better arm, he’s faster, he can hit better, and he has a chance to actually hit for a little bit of power.

      Alfredo Rodriguez has 1203 career minor league at-bats and he’s got 5 home runs. FIVE.

      There’s no comparison at all between the two players other than they are both from Cuba and both happen to play shortstop. That’s where any and all comparisons should end.

      Signed,
      A guy who has watched each of them play over 100 baseball games each.

      • DaveCT

        Reds Minor Leagues should be required reading

      • Jimbo44CN

        Agree. Garcia has plenty of potential. Just have to see if he develops.

      • doofus

        Reds fans should rest easy, because Garcia is better than Rodriguez in every facet of the game.

      • Doug Gray

        Yes. That was my point, that people should rest easy, not that you were completely incorrect in your assessment of the two players.

      • Jim m

        So why did they give Alfredo Rodriguez $7 million dollars? Who was the great scout who said he was the next great thing? Hopefully no longer a Reds scout

  19. Kim Henry

    Terrible off season so far. We all agree (I think). We are all Reds fans (I think). So, why do we expect anything more than the recent moves or lack thereof? I still think we are ok as long as our pitching remains in tact. Many teams have been successful with light hitting shortstops. I know I’m going back a life time but a Mark Belanger with Orioles comes to mind. I am certainly the minority here, but go with Garcia and HIS DEFENSE. Any offence will be a plus but promote the kid and his ego with defense and let him know what you expect from him. To end: the way they have let us down this winter; anything positive will be a plus.

  20. vegastypo

    I’m really begin to think that “reallocating our resources” meant saving money to pay owners or investors or whoever.

    The one thing I’m wondering about, though, is whether any of these other free agents were actually interested in the Reds. These guys might have been demanding that the Reds seriously overbid to get them to sign.

  21. Votto4life

    The Reds bring in Kyle Holder or someone like him at the end of Spring Training no one notices. Why in the world would they claim the priority this off-season was to acquire a SS, pass on every impact SS available, make this deal and then put this young man all over their social media. The organization is completely tone death.

  22. 3rdbaseTom

    After the Cardinals most recent trade, the Reds’ front office decided, eh …there goes our hopes. We’ll just keep our money.

  23. Tom Reeves

    It’s clear the Reds are fire-sailing the team.

    Is that because of the lack of revenue in 2020 and the same is projected for this year? (Yes, I think so).

    Is it because the Reds beefed up for 2020 and knew they’d have to sell immediately? (I don’t think so)

    Is Bob not liquid enough sending in an infusion of cash to help the team? (I think it doesn’t matter – he’s not adding cash to cover payroll and I wouldn’t either.).

    Instead of worry about this season, should we be worried about the sustainability of the franchise in Cincinnati? (I think so if these cost cuts don’t work. But, I also think the only way the team moves is if Bob C sells to a bigger billionaire.).

      • LDS

        Castellini is CEO and majority owner but there’s a good number of additional investors, like the Williams brothers, the Linder group, etc. Bottom line – if the ownership group can’t field a product that the customer will buy then sell and reap the profits. The Reds franchise is estimated at $1 billion plus.

      • Tom Reeves

        None of the ownership group takes a shareholder distrubution from the club — meaning, they don’t take the profits. The group that bought the Reds was quite wealthy — enough to by a quarter of a billion dollar ball club. I can’t imagine any of them want to inject cash to pay for player salaries not covered by revenue.

        Calls for a different ownership group are not wise. The next ownership group may have no locality to Cincinnati and might see the profits to be gained by moving the team to a faster growing market.

        Nope, we’re living in one of the smallest markets with one of the least wealthy owners and we’re expecting miracles every year. It’s not a realistic expectation.

      • doofus

        Mr. reeves,

        Where is (are) this (these) “fast growing market(s)” that you speak of?

    • TR

      Since the early 1950’s, when relocations and expansions of ML franchises became news, there has been an underlying threat that the Red’s franchise could possibly be moved to a larger metro area. Due to a long history, and the fact controlling ownership has been kept in local hands, that has not happened. IMO, a possible change at the top could be that the Williams Family again becomes the principal owner and Dick Williams returns as the leader of the franchise with Nick Krall as the GM.

      • Optimist

        Welcome to the club – this is news from when Dick was hired – normal managing partner rotation, but with a twist of front office experience thrown in a-la Steinbrenner.

      • Jim m

        So we just have to act like “be happy you have a team” mentality and zero expectations right?

  24. Redhaze

    Jonathan Villar or a trade for Trevor Story.

  25. Redhaze

    Serious question. What can Kyle Holder do that is so much better than Alex Blandino and Kyle Farmer?

    • Doug Gray

      Actually play defense at shortstop.

    • David

      I have seen Blandino play. He is not a shortstop, and does not have a strong arm.

      A worse shortstop that Jose Peraza. Blandino has a 2nd baseman’s arm.

  26. DaveCT

    Rule V pick. Seems like a 26th man, defensive replacement to me if he sticks. I suspect he’ll be suiting back up for the Yankees. We shall see.

  27. GreatRedLegsFan

    Just another weak bat, defensive wizard infielder, nothing stands out here. I wasn’t expecting any major SS FA signing, nor a blockbuster trade, but rather sign a stopgag for a year or two until the pandemic dust clears.

  28. CI3J

    Here’s a hint: If you’re 27 years old and never made it above AA, you ain’t cut out for the big leagues.

    What’s with the Reds this offseason, acquiring a bunch of not even has-beens, but never-weres?

    • Optimist

      I remember Mike Easler. Heck, I even remember knuckleballers.

  29. west larry

    Let’s see. They picked up a 27 year old shortstop who has never played above double A, and is a two time Rule 5 pick? Wow! hold the presses. I hope they didn’t give up more than a bucket of balls for him. Okay, he’s minor league depth-let’s move on and find someone who has played a couple of months in the majors.

    • doofus

      A new bucket of balls or used bucket of balls?