This Cincinnati Reds have acquired Nick Solak from the Texas Rangers for cash considerations. With teams looking to clear spots on the 40-man roster it seems likely that the Rangers were going to put him on waivers or non-tender him if they couldn’t find someone to take him. The Reds seemed to be willing to give up something so the two sides worked out a deal. Cincinnati’s 40-man roster is now full…. at least for now. They will be making plenty of moves and changes in the next week and a half.

Nick Solak missed most of the 2022 season with a broken foot. In the 35 games he played before the injury he hit .207/.309/.329. That’s in line with what he has done in the other parts of three big league seasons. For his career he has hit .252/.327/.372 – but over the last three seasons he’s hit just .246/.317/.354.

In the minor leagues he has hit quite a bit better. The 2016 2nd round pick of the New York Yankees, Solak played in 57 games at Triple-A Round Rock this past season and put up a .278/.371/.489 line. For his career in the minors he’s hit .295/.382/.470.

With that said, Solak will be 28-years-old when the 2023 season begins. He’s not exactly a spring chicken anymore and what may have once been viewed as his upside and potential is more dimly lit now that he’s in his late 20’s.

We talked about his bat some, but let’s talk about the other things he brings to the table. According to the Statcast numbers he’s been among the faster runners in the game since he made his debut in 2019. He’s not among the elite of the elite, but his sprint speed has been in the 85th percentile or better each season. Defensively he’s had experience in the big leagues at first base, second base, third base, center, and left. In the minors he’s also played a little bit of right field.

From a roster building standpoint you can see where he could fill a utility player role with a potential to fill in all over the place on a given day. When it comes to his bat, there are some things worth looking at that could be positive. As a right-handed hitter he’s hit much better against lefties, posting a .283/.363/.428 line in 336 plate appearances in the majors. He probably shouldn’t get much time against right-handed pitchers, though, with a .652 OPS against them in 638 plate appearances in his career.

Solak can hit the ball hard according to Statcast. That’s not a bad thing. But what is a bad thing is that he hits the ball on the ground a ton. For his career he’s been a 53% ground ball rate hitter. If a pitcher had that for a ground ball rate we’d be talking about how many grounders they get and they’d be pushing their way towards the top of the ground ball leaderboard. It’s tough to hit for power when you put the ball on the ground. Maybe Cincinnati can get him to put the ball in the air a little more often and it’ll help him pick up some slugging.

66 Responses

  1. Bob Purkey

    Who said the Reds wouldn’t be active in the off season?

  2. Capt. Phreddie Pizzazz

    Looks like a depth piece, or a poor man’s Kyle Farmer – should he be traded.

    • west larry

      I agree with that, If Barrero plays shortstop next year, and I think he will, then K Farmer and his six-million-dollar contract for 2023 will be gone.

  3. Tom Diesman

    Solak also has an option year remaining so doesn’t have to be carried on the 25 man roster next season. His .283/.363/.428/.791 line in 336 PA in MLB against LHP might make him a decent platoon partner for Fraley as well.

  4. Jim Walker

    Younger and much cheaper than Kyle Farmer. Cheaper and only ~6 months older than Nick Senzel. Younger than Matt Reynolds at about the same price. Same utility as all 3. Unless Solak is a bluff to leverage negotiations with Framer or Senzel, one or both of them are goners, and maybe Reynolds too.

    • Mark Moore

      That explanation makes the most sense to me. He’s going to take somebody’s spot on the 40 within the next couple of weeks or he won’t be with the club.

    • MBS

      I think he just took Aquino’s spot. Farmer should be safe as the roster is currently constructed. I think Steer takes the utility role that Senzel was named to late last year.

      • Redsvol

        was just going to say this. Who would you rather have, Aristedes Aquino or Nick Solar. By the look of platoon splits, it might be better to have Nick Solar. Plus i watched Aquino’s highlights in winter league the other day and he looked like Fred Sanford running around the bases – not aging well.

      • Votto4lfe

        It sounds like Aquino has superior defense. The question is does Nick Solak hit well enough to overcome what he gives up on defense? Who knows?

        This guy seems OK to take a flyer on, but if he was acquired to fill a need and the Front Office is depending on him (or players like him) to fill that need, then this team is going to continue to struggle.

      • Votto4life

        I’m not saying your wrong MBS, but why is Kyle Farmer safe? He is 32 years old and about to get a big raise. Also, he literally has no position. In addition, the Reds have about 46 middle infielders in their system. If you are going to move a player, Kyle Farmer should be number one guy on that list.

        Kyle Farmer should be moved long before the player who won the National Rookie of the Year award two years ago!

      • MBS

        @Votto I think because Barrero hasn’t hit at the MLB level, and EDLC hasn’t been promoted. To sign a SS who’s at least as good of a fallback plan as Farmer will probably be more expensive than just keeping Farmer. I guess there is the chance they risk SS not being manned properly, it wouldn’t be the 1st time the organization rolled the dice at SS.

      • Votto4life

        @MBS yeah and they pretty much committed to Barrero (at least over Farmer) at SS they last half of the season. But you are right about the Reds and Shortstops.

        Honestly, that’s why I wouldn’t move EDLC to the outfield. Until someone wins the SS outright, I would keep him in the infield.

      • Jimbo44CN

        There it is. And not that I totally disagree, but on this board the first guy to go when the Reds pick up another retread is always Aquino.

    • Melvin

      That’s pretty much what I was thinking.

      • MFG

        Barrero cannot hit MLB pitching! The Reds have allot of shortstops in the minors especially EDLC to fill that void.

  5. Votto4life

    MLB trade rumors mentioned he has struggled defensively. I mean , it’s not going to hurt throwing him the mix.

  6. LDS

    Alright, another negative WAR guy. The Reds can never have too many. But, at least, he was cheap.

    • Votto4life

      On the bright side, negative war guys are easier to replace.

  7. MBS

    Seems like we now have 1 whole player in Fraley and Solak, we just need 2 more to complete an outfield. Krall’s got a tough job ahead of him this offseason.

  8. LDS

    BTW, in Sheldon’s article about Krall, I notice India wasn’t one of the “young” players Krall mentioned. Foreshadowing or oversight.

    • MBS

      Funny, I said I think India is likely to be traded by midseason, and people were upset with me. I didn’t even say he should be, just that it seemed likely.

      The timeline to control India doesn’t match up great with the next likely window of opportunity. India also plays a position that many of our top prospects can fill. If they are going to spend money, my guess is it will be on Stephenson. He’s the Lone Ranger in this organization at C, and having an offensive C is a big advantage.

      • LDS

        ROY the year before last. Lousy 2nd year. Would be really selling low. I don’t disagree with you, but they should try to rebuild his value first.

      • MBS

        That would be key, if he has a strong 1st half, it only increases his likelihood of being traded. If he doesn’t, and comes out kinda weak, he’ll stick around. The opposite of what we’d want, but I feel like that’s the likely scenario.

        There is also the @Jim scenario of India becoming a corner OF. I think I like that the most. It fills a real need for the team, it takes a corner infielder off of 2B, and gives way to an actual middle infielder. The only reason why I’m skeptical of this scenario is the fact that they failed so dramatically when they did this with Senzel.

        Also make no mistake I like India, I’m just talking about what I think is going to happen.

      • LDS

        Speaking of @Jim, Fairchild is almost never mentioned in articles about the Reds outfielders. Personally, I prefer him over Fraley & Friedl, probably over Senzel & Aquino too. Senzel is who I’d be looking to trade.

      • Optimist

        India hardly had a lousy second year. Comparing stat lines, his K/BB ratio regressed – everything else tracked fairly well – injury was the problem, and defense. Unless the league has found the hole in his bat, or he cannot adjust, he’s the best leadoff hitter this team has, and they need to find his best defensive position before the prospects starting pushing their way up.

        He likely has very good trade value, and nobody is indispensable, but he’s pretty far down the list of who should be traded. Always keep a C who hits, so TySteve is most valuable there, but unless the offer is ludicrously good there’s no good case for moving India just to make space.

      • LDS

        I agree @Optimist but it’s the Reds we’re talking about. All about the Benjamins.

      • Votto4life

        MBS I was upset with that comment, but only because I thought you were right. I agree India’s days with the Reds are probably numbered.

      • still a red

        I was wondering if this caught others attention. I think it does foreshadow something…and I don’t think its performance related. I think its attitude related. I think India has been really ticked about the rebuild and has probably let it me known. I sensed it way back when the Reds played the Phils near the end of the season and it was noted that India was, what sounded like to me, complaining to Castellanos. I think he’s gone before the season if the Reds can get what they want. Midseason if they can’t and he plays well.

      • Melvin

        Well we do know that anyone who wants to win “too much” and let’s it be known is not in good favor with Big Bob & Son.

  9. RedsGettingBetter

    Typical kind of player the Reds have been acquiring since 2021 offseason…

  10. Rednat

    i remember in the old days of riverfront , a guy that could beat the ball into the ground and had speed would be a good thing. I remember in the 70’s and 80’s players would try to “swing down” on the balls to try to hit high choppers and beat them out. boy have times changed. i still say the biggest investment the reds can make this offseason is to change the turf to a much faster surface with higher bounces ( and move the hr fence way back)

    • Rednat

      i mean, these are the type of players that the reds will be able to afford and will make up the majority of our roster from here on out. guys with speed but little power so you may as well have a field that is more aligned with the skill set

      • Votto4life

        Rednat, I have to disagree with you. These are the type of guys the Reds choose to sign. They can afford better players.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Harder turf leads to more injuries. I’ll take healthier players over infield choppers.

      • Doc

        Les the league in player-games on IL. So much for the benefit of soft turf.

    • Bill J

      Don’t know if true but, read an article that the Dodgers, when they had speed, years ago, dug up a few feet in front of home plate, put in a concrete slab so the fast players could slap the ball and get those high hoppers.

      • Votto4life

        Yeah, Brett Butler made a career hitting those high hops.

  11. Steven Ross

    Another in a long list of offseason acquisitions that mean little to nothing. That’s our Reds! Whoo-who!

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Just you wait until they sign Aaron Ju

      I’m sorry I couldn’t complete that sentence without laughing.

  12. DataDumpster

    Lots of interesting discussion about salary polemics, guys that should be on the way out, and “needs.” Well, this team “needed” 5 third basemen a couple of years ago before the switch to 5 shortstops with the recent trades. Now, they are doubling down on the copious UTLs by adding to the 5 (or so) of them as well.
    This “strategy” reminds me of the 1970s fictitious WEBN Psycho-cybernetics Company that “creates a need and then fulfills it.”
    Meanwhile, we need a solid center fielder among other real needs and not some misapplied Norbert Weiner theory that inspired Tony Robbins (and perhaps David Bell as well).

  13. MK

    They needed another right field bat for the outfield. Probably comes down to Solak and Reynolds for a 26-man spot and maybe a 40-man

  14. catcard202

    Reds traded for a replacement level Platoon UTL… Power Move of the offseason, so far.

    • TR

      The Reds now have their starting left field combo in Fraley/Solak at least for 2023.

  15. Redhaze

    Justin Turner was not picked up by the Dodgers. He is a former Red farmhand. I know he is 38 but we need a stop gap until the youth movement is ready. Great veteran presence for the youth. He has played for championships. Let’s go Reds.

  16. MK

    Actually heard a Trade Rumor that makes some sense. A trade of two bad contract. Reds trade Moose to the Mets for James McCann. That is 1 year of $18 million for two years of $12 each. Gives the Reds a viable backup catcher and Mets get a left handed Bat to back up third and first as well as DH. It also give a small savings in 2023. Rumors said owner Cohen was talking about Moose at trade deadline.

    • Optimist

      I’m still hoping for the Moose-Bellinger trade, but this one makes a bit more sense, given the catching aspect. Doubt the $$$ line up to the Reds satisfaction.

      • MK

        Basically the same for2023 and $ 6 million for back up catcher in ‘24. Think that lines up well. The rumor came from New York media.

    • BK

      Not a bad idea, but a trading partner I like better is KC. MJ Melendez entered 2022 as a highly touted catcher, but projects in LF for the Royals. Royals reportedly are looking for right-handed bats.

    • Jim Walker

      The Reds could make a real statement by going out and getting Wilson Contreras. Assuming Stephenson is physically capable, split the catching duties 60/40 and use the guy not catching on a given day as the DH. It is a solution that reduces the exposure of TS behind the plate without the cost of tanking offense in the process.

      Signing Contreras would start with money of course, but the draw of working Greene, Lodolo et al might be enough to lure WC into what looks like less than a most favorable landing spot. Worth the try at least.

      • old-school

        C trent has an article up on Reds and at catcher said Barnhart, Casali, and Omar Naquez would all be catching candidates to help young pitchers and better than backups this past year.

        Reds payroll will be less than the 110 mil from last year reported by Bobby Nightengale so Reds arent signing any FA contracts over a few million or for more than 1 year. I could see a 1 year vet C/SP/and veteran bat as well as a few relievers on 1 year deals.

      • Jim Walker

        I believe it is whistling Dixie while walking past a graveyard at midnight to operate on the presumption that Stephenson is going to be ready to operate at full potential 5 days a week on opening day.

        They need a 1B catcher and not a typical backup to assure they don’t fall into the situation they were in after TS went down in 2022. Neither Casali nor (particularly not) Barnhart fit that description anymore. Narvaez might squeeze in just under the wire; but his offense was sub par 2 of the past 3 seasons.

        The latest pronouncements I saw from Krall (via Sheldon if I recall right) were that he might end up having more money to spend than he thought several months ago. He hinted he might be able to go higher up in the FA market. Every rebuild needs to have a pivot moment. Bringing in Contreras versus a last roundup 2nd catcher could be it fot the Reds.

        Do I expect them to this? Not really. But that doesn’t diminish the impact it could have if they sucked up and made a real forward looking move.

      • old-school

        Christian Vazquez filled that 1b role well for the Astros and is a free agent. He’d be a great addition and transitional piece for Stephenson to get reps at 1b,DH. I just dont see the Reds committing the 2 years and 15 mil+ or perhaps even 3 years for him. He caught the no-hitter in the WS so would be great for young pitching as well.

      • BK

        @Jim, I’m not sure I understand your skepticism about Stephenson’s readiness on opening day. Broken collar bones heal. None of his injuries are related to each other. Prior to 2022, he rarely missed a game. The notion that he won’t be able to handle the workload is quite speculative.

        Acquiring a 31-year-old, premium free agent at catcher would make a splash but would be both very costly and risky.

      • Jim Walker

        @BK, There is no reason to think Stephenson will not eventually be back to the player he was prior. However, I think it is extremely optimistic to project he will be fully recovered and capable of playing 5-4 days a week at his prior level by opening day. It could even be the end of the season before his prior strength is fully recovered. And the more they play him, the longer this process will take.

        As to injuries, in 2022 TS suffered at least 2 apparent concussions and a possible 3rd one as I recall. That is certainly reason enough for concern to have a fully reliable 1B ready to step in.

      • Melvin

        In my view the idea of Stephenson catching part time and at the DH the rest of the time is the best solution rather than catching practically every day or mostly none. Of course that would cut down on his injury risk but still give us an all star excellent hitting catcher (rare). That only works though if David Bell uses him at DH which he had a hard time doing last year. One way or another TS needs/has to be in the lineup virtually EVERY DAY.

  17. Scott C

    “Yawn” When you have to try hard to see the positives, then it probably not going to be a good deal. He takes a roster spot when they are at a premium.

  18. eddiek957

    I would love that trade. Some players don’t play well in New York

  19. JB

    Reds doing their best to secure another top pick next year.

  20. AMDG

    Solak’s OPS+ over the past couple of years is comparable to Farmer, and well above Senzel. And he’s cheap!

    Considering his low K rate, and adequate OPS+ despite an abysmal BABIP, I suppose there is some “upside” in Solak?

    • Harry Stoner

      One upside is that my auto-correct is already spelling his name “Kojak”.

      • David

        Hey, who luvs ya, baby? 🙂

        Yeah, this is a pretty monumental acquisition.
        Reds treading water, sort of.

      • Melvin

        Wouldn’t he need to play with a tootsie roll pop in his mouth though? 😉 Better than tobacco I guess.

  21. Old-school

    Reds 40 man roster has Senzel and Solar listed as outfielders.
    Bobby Nightengale, prior to the trade, a few days ago said Fraley will play LF against righties and Nick senzel is penciled in as the CF. It would seem with Spencer Steer being acquired and Marte and EDLC progressing, the Nick Senzel super utility role may be dying off.

    Not good news in the OF if you are a righty hitter with many back and forths from MLB to AAA that the Reds pick up and pay cash for another one who is fast and crushes lefty pitchers and you need a platoon partner for Fraley.