5:13pm: Cincinnati has officially announced both deals. As expected, Farmer is in camp on a minor league contract as a non-roster invitee.
2:45pm: The Reds have signed infielder Donovan Solano to a contract worth $4.5MM, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. It was previously reported by various reporters, including C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, that Solano had a locker in the Reds’ spring clubhouse, along with right-hander Buck Farmer.
Solano, 34, spent many years as a classic journeyman, bouncing from the Cardinals to the Marlins, Yankees and Dodgers, playing 370 MLB games from 2012 to 2018. Prior to the 2019 season, he signed a minor league deal with the Giants and has quietly had an excellent showing for San Fran over the past three campaigns. In that time, he’s gotten 775 plate appearances and hit .308/.354/.435, for a wRC+ of 114. He mostly slotted in at second base but also saw some time at third base and shortstop for the Giants.
The Reds don’t really need help at the keystone as they have Jonathan India, last year’s National League Rookie of the Year, slotted in there. Third base is a bit more open, however, in the wake of this week’s trade of Eugenio Suarez. The club could use Mike Moustakas as their everyday third baseman but he dealt with multiple injuries last year and only got into 62 games. Now that National League teams are able to use the designated hitter, Moustakas could be a good candidate for slotting into the DH role. There’s also the possibility of a platoon, as Moustakas hits from the left and Solano from the right. Solano’s career spits aren’t drastic, but he did put up a wRC+ of 121 against lefties last year, compared to just 96 against righties.
As for Farmer, the 31-year-old has spent his entire big league career up until now with the Tigers, who drafted him in 2013. Over the past seven seasons, he has appeared in 241 games, mostly as a reliever, throwing 320 2/3 innings with a 5.33 ERA, 20.3% strikeout rate and 10.6% walk rate.
The club released him in August, at which point Farmer signed a minor league deal with the Rangers but never cracked their big league roster. Presumably, his deal with the Reds is a minor league deal as well.