Exploring the idea of the Reds re-signing Donovan Solano is intriguing, yet complicated

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Donovan Solano (7) praises God.
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Donovan Solano (7) praises God. / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Solano was one of those sneaky-good signings on the part of Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall this past spring. Donnie Barrels was inked to a one-year/$4.5M contract after enjoying three successful years with the San Francisco Giants.

During those three seasons in the Bay Area, Solano slashed .308/.354/.434 in 236 games with the Giants. Solano won the Silver Slugger Award during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season while posting an OPS of .828.

With Tyler Stephenson out for the remainder of the season, Jonathan India nursing constant injuries, and Brandon Drury now playing for the San Diego Padres, Donovan Solano has been the best hitter in the Reds lineup. Should the club attempt to re-sign Donnie Barrels this offseason?

Do the Reds have the money available to re-sign Donovan Solano?

Let's get this out of the way first - the Cincinnati Reds have the money to sign Donovan Solano this offseason. The only guaranteed contracts on the books for next season are Joey Votto ($25M) and Mike Moustakas ($18M).

The Reds also have very few players who'll be in line for a pay increase through the arbitration process. Nick Senzel, Kyle Farmer, Luis Cessa, Jeff Hoffman, and Lucas Sims are among those up for arbitration this offseason.

Farmer will likely command the most money, but his deal will probably still be less than $5M in 2023. All together, it'd be surprising if the Reds spent more than $15M on those players up for arbitration. Cincinnati gave Shogo Akiyama $8M to go play elsewhere in 2022, so let's not get caught up in the money aspect.

What position would Donovan Solano play if the Reds re-signed him?

The question isn't about salary as much as it is about playing time. If it's assumed that Joey Votto is healthy, he and Jonathan India will occupy the right side of the infield. Jose Barrero, while some fans may disagree, will likely be the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day shortstop in 2023.

Under that assumption, that leaves third base and the DH spot up for grabs. Kyle Farmer, who has two years of team control remaining on his contract, will likely be the Reds starting third baseman to begin next season.

However, if the Reds intend to transition Nick Senzel into a super utility role and retain players like Mike Moustakas, Alejo Lopez and Matt Reynolds while also giving Spencer Steer a taste of the big leagues, it'll be difficult to allocate playing time to everyone.

There's also the belief that both Matt McLain and Elly De La Cruz may make their way to the major leagues next season as well. The infield is going to get very crowded very quickly, and finding regular at-bats for Solano may be rather difficult.

There's something to be said for a veteran presence like Solano on a rebuilding ball club, however, unless the Cincinnati Reds are willing to part ways with Nick Senzel, Kyle Farmer and/ or Mike Moustakas, it's hard to see Donovan Solano returning in 2023.

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