The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired two-time Tommy John fireballer RHP Peter Fairbanks from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league infielder/outfielder Nick Solak.
Fairbanks, 25, was added by the Rangers to the major league roster on June 8 and made eight relief appearances for them until being optioned on July 3. This was a shocking leap at the time, as the pitcher had begin the year in Class-A ball. He allowed 9 earned runs in 8.1 IP with 15 strikeouts in his eight appearances.
The 6’6”, 220-pound righthander earned promotions to Double-A Frisco in the Texas League on May 9 and to Triple-A Nashville in the Pacific Coast League on May 29. He has made 24 relief appearances this season between the three levels of the minor leagues, going 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA (26-IP, 12-ER) and 40 strikeouts (13.85 SO/9 IP ratio). He recorded a 2.35 ERA (23-IP, 6-ER) in 21 apps prior to his selection.
Fairbanks’s season debut for Class-A Down East marked his first professional outing since July 21, 2017. He underwent a second Tommy John surgery on August 14, 2017 and missed the entire 2018 season before returning for the fall instructional league. He previously required Tommy John surgery during his junior year of high school. He attended the University of Missouri and pitched three seasons there before being selected by the Rangers in the ninth round of the 2015 June Draft.
Fairbanks has never been ranked on the Rangers top-prospect list by Baseball America.
In exchange for Fairbanks is prospect Nick Solak, who was ranked 93rd overall by FanGraphs in their latest update to THE BOARD.
Originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft, Nick Solak came to Tampa Bay as part of the three team trade that sent Steven Souza Jr to the Arizona Diamondbacks. After spending just over a year in the Rays organization, Solak is on the move yet again.
During his time with the Rays, Solak crushed the baseball, blasting 36 home runs over 211 games played between Double-A and Triple-A. However, his defense has reportedly been lackluster and the Rays have a glut of middle infielders on their active roster in the majors and throughout the upper levels of their system, leaving Solak’s path the big leagues a hard road to trek.
Solak was first reported as a Rays trade candidate due to defensive concerns by R.J. Anderson at CBS Sports. R.J. Anderson is also reporting that the Rays tried to send Solak to the Seattle Mariners in their trade talks for Edwin Encarnacion, before he was eventually dealt to the New York Yankees.
With the acquisition, Fairbanks has been added to the Rays 40-man roster. To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder Christian Arroyo (right forearm tendinitis) was transferred to the 60-day IL. Fairbanks will be assigned to Triple-A Durham.