The Rays and Rangers made a surprising move, as the Rays traded away second baseman Nick Solak for right-handed pitcher Peter Fairbanks.
Nick Solak is a polished hitting prospect. As I wrote in my second base prospect rankings, in which Solak ranked ninth, the Rays have too many interesting middle infield prospects, but Solak has an advanced plate approach and shows the ability to have an above-average, power-speed combination. Solak has talked about a swing change he made in the beginning of June, that helped lead to a big power outburst in which he hit nine home runs with a .979 OPS.
This is definitely an upgrade for Solak: He goes from a super-crowded situation to a less-crowded one in Texas. Rougned Odor has continuously struggled the last two seasons, and while it’s unlikely Solak gets immediate playing time for the big club, he does have an MLB-ready bat and has shown an ability in the minors to play multiple positions.
Meanwhile, the Rays acquire an interesting relief pitcher in Peter Fairbanks. Fairbanks was moved to the bullpen permanently following a second torn UCL and undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2017. In the minors this season, Fairbanks has a 4.15 ERA, but also has shown off an impressive 40:6 K:BB ratio. Fairbanks features a 97 mph fastball and a 89 mph slider, with the slider being the pitch that carried him to that 13.8 K/9 in the minors this season. He pitched in eight games with the MLB team this season and had 15 strikeouts in 8-⅔ innings, while giving up seven walks and having a 9.35 ERA. His control is his biggest issue, but if the Rays can help polish that, he can become a really solid late inning option for a team that needs bullpen help.
(Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire)