The Reds have acquired outfielder Nick Solak from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations, according to an announcement from Texas.
Solak, 28, in January, was a second round pick of the Yankees in 2016 but was traded to the Rays as part of the 2018 three-team deal that saw the Yanks get Brandon Drury and the Diamondbacks get Steven Souza Jr. In July of 2019, the Rays flipped him to Texas for Pete Fairbanks.
After that second trade, Solak made his MLB debut with the Rangers, getting into 33 games down the stretch in 2019. It could hardly have gone much better, as Solak hit .293/.393/.491 in that stretch for a wRC+ of 126. He played second and third base in that time, giving the Rangers an exciting option for the infield.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to maintain those results since then. Over 2020 and 2021, he hit .250/.318/.357 for a wRC+ of just 88. He also struggled defensively and got pushed into a corner outfield role, putting more pressure on him to provide value offensively. He was optioned on and off the team throughout 2022, only getting into 35 big league games and not hitting too much when in the lineup. He finished the season on the IL due to a foot fracture and needed to be reinstated since the IL goes away today and doesn’t come back until Spring Training. Instead of adding him back to the roster, the club has swung a deal and sent him to Cincinnati.
For the Reds, there’s little harm in taking a shot on a bounceback. They’ve been stripping the roster down for the past couple of years and aren’t likely to be competitive here in 2023. Although Solak has struggled at the big league level in the past few years, he’s still performed well in Triple-A. In 2022, that led to a batting line of .278/.371/.489 and a wRC+ of 114.
The Reds have some other outfield options, such as Nick Senzel, TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley and Aristides Aquino, though none of them are really set in stone. Solak still has one option year remaining, which means the Reds don’t even need to commit an active roster spot for him. If he can get his bat back on track, he still has years of arbitration control remaining.