When Reds Country learned that Cincinnati had traded for a shortstop this past weekend, expectations were high that it may have been Amed Rosario or perhaps Willy Adames. Unfortunately, it was another low-budget move that we’ve come to expect from the Cincinnati Reds this winter. The newly acquired Kyle Holder has an uphill battle in order to make the roster.
Holder is a slick-fielding shortstop, formerly of the New York Yankees organization, who was picked up in the Rule 5 Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this offseason. After re-signing Didi Gregorius, the Phillies needed to make room on the team’s 40-man roster, so they dealt Holder to Cincinnati.
Kyle Holder will struggle to make the Reds roster.
The Reds missed out on the top free agent shortstops available this winter. Marcus Semien signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, Andrelton Simmons joined the Minnesota Twins, and, as we mentioned, Gregorius re-signed with the Phillies. Even Freddy Galvis agreed to a new contract, signing a one-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles.
Only the Reds and Oakland A’s remain unsettled at the shortstop position heading into the 2021 season. This is extremely frustrating for fans in Cincinnati who heard all offseason that the priority was to add a shortstop. Kyle Holder is not it.
Holder, a former first-round pick of the Yankees, signed for $1.8M out of San Diego University. Holder was well-regarded as the best defensive shortstop and one of the best defensive players in the 2015 MLB Draft. The problem is, he’s a below-average player at the plate.
Kyle Holder is a glove-first shortstop.
I’m a big fan of defense, really, I am. But, in today’s game, with so much emphasis on launch angle, exit velocity, etc. it’s hard to have a defensive-minded player as the everyday starter at any position. We saw the Reds try this before, and fail, with Billy Hamilton.
But at least Hamilton had speed on the base paths. Holder is not a threat to steal and is a below-average runner. Again, in today’s game, it’s about how much pop you have in that bat. Until Major League Baseball decides to ban the shift, defense-first players will be overlooked and serve no more than a reserve role.
For Kylee Holder, that could be problematic. Holder is a Rule 5 draftee, meaning that he must remain on Cincinnati’s active roster all season in order to stay in thee Queen City. Otherwise, he must be offered back to the Yankees.
With Kyle Farmer, and maybe even the likes of Alex Blandino and Jonathan India ahead of him on the depth chart, Holder will struggle to showcase his talents this spring. Unless Holder plays out of this world during his time at Goodyear, don’t expect to see the 26-year-old last too long on the Cincinnati Reds roster.