It always felt as if Nick Solak’s route to a spot on the Cincinnati Reds roster would need to be a circuitous one, and for a time this spring it seemed as if things were falling in line for him. Joey Votto’s gradual recovery from major shoulder/arm surgery has meant that Wil Myers might well spend more time at 1B early on, thereby opening time in the outfield, while a similarly slow recovery from Nick Senzel meant the outfield mix was further up in the air.
As it turns out, that won’t be in the cards for Solak, at least not as things currently stand. The Cincinnati Reds made another series of cuts on Saturday morning, and Solak was among those optioned to minor league camp.
Without reading too deeply into that decision, I think it’s pretty clear that the OF depth chart now firmly features each of TJ Friedl, Will Benson, and Stuart Fairchild above Solak, while Jose Barrero has showed enough both with glove and bat to be 1/1A with Kevin Newman as middle infield starter and depth. That Christian Encarnacion-Strand continues to absolutely obliterate baseballs might well be more of a factor in this depth chart reordering than anything, also.
Solak aside, it’s Levi Stoudt’s option to minor league camp that’s likely most notable. Acquired as one of the bevy of arms sent from the Seattle Mariners in recent deals, Stoudt flashed some pretty impressive stuff prior to being knocked around a bit in his most recent outing, and was a darkhorse candidate to break camp at the back end of the Reds starting rotation. Instead, he’ll take his talents to AAA Louisville in hopes of refining them, with an eye towards contributing to the Reds at some point later in the 2023 season.
As noted by the Reds, there are still 56 players in camp at the moment, meaning there are plenty more cuts yet to come.