Nick Senzel will reportedly start seeing time at second base in spring training. Cincinnati Reds General Manager Dick Williams was on the Hot Stove Report on 700 WLW this evening and was asked about the situation. Williams noted that he will be exposed to the position during spring training. For Senzel, it won’t be a new experience, just one he’s been away from for a few years.

During his freshman and sophomore seasons at Tennessee, Nick Senzel played second base. With the Volunteers he would slide to third base for his junior season. He also saw a little bit of time at shortstop during the season. Since being drafted in June of 2016, Senzel has played exclusively at third base for the Reds.

In 2017 Eugenio Suarez had a breakout season, both at the plate and in the field. That put the Reds in a position where they had an All-Star caliber third baseman, as well as arguably the top third base prospect on the planet knocking on the door for 2018. Short of trading one of them, something had to give. It seems that for now, that give may be sliding Nick Senzel to second base.

At the time of the draft some scouts were suggesting that Nick Senzel should slide back to second base as a pro. The added value of his bat at the position would be a boost, and he was athletic enough to handle the position defensively. It sounds like we will all get our first look at it in February.

It’s also worth noting that Dick Williams said it was likely that Senzel would start the year in Triple-A. That’s not surprising. Keeping him in the Minor Leagues for 10 days will give the organization another full year of team control.

What will the Reds do with Nick Senzel and the others?

This does bring up another question, though: What happens with the other second basemen in the organization? Scooter Gennett is coming off of an outstanding season at the plate for the Reds. And he’s under team control for both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Gennett did see some action in the outfield in 2017 with the Reds, but the outfield is also crowded moving forward (at least for now). Behind Gennett are prospects Alex Blandino and Shed Long. And then there is Dilson Herrera, who is coming off of shoulder surgery, and must stick to the 25-man roster.

It is going to be interesting to see how all of this plays out. The Reds certainly have a whole lot of different ways that they can maneuver this entire situation. There are lots of pieces to this puzzle, and probably more than one way to complete it. Hopefully the organization can figure out the right way to maximize things at the big league level with all of the players involved.

49 Responses

  1. Rob

    Not a bad move considering how well Suarez has played. Reds definitely have to start exploring some trades this offseason due to a surplus at certain positions. Senzel is young and can always move back to third after a year or two. He is, after all, a rookie.

    Reply
  2. Shamrock

    Scooter Gennett flat out earned the Reds 2B job. I mean, if he’d been the starter from day one he would have hit about .290 with 32-33HR and 110RBI’s this season.
    He’s even a Cincinnati native for Christ’s sake. Now, after his age 27 breakout year, we’re just gonna toss him to the curb? That’s a bunch of BS in my book.

    Meanwhile, this peraza kid has looked about as useless as Luis Quinones. Yet it appears he’s just gonna be handed our starting shortstop position.

    I think the best way to handle this would be to let Suarez and Senzel both get work at SS and whichever one is worse can be moved right back to the 3rd Base.

    Reply
    • Simon Cowell

      Suarez is essentially an all-star thirdbasemen no need to move him or challenge his position. That leaves Senzel without a spot? If he can prove to have glove at second then that leaves Scooter platooning at second, filling in with the outfield and a solid bench option. Decent chance he gets the same amount of atbats as 2017 so relax there bud.
      If you ask me the real odd man out is going to be Herrea. He has nowhere to play at this point.

      Blandino if he can’t backup short we will see him go in a trade. Looks more and more like Peraza is our shortstop for better or worse.

      Still plenty of questions on our outfield though we could be looking at all three being traded off or replaced.

      Reply
    • Doug Gray

      Suarez and Senzel are not shortstops.

      Scooter Gennett seems like he’s a huge beneficiary of the juiced to the gils baseball. His breakout coincides perfectly with it. If MLB decides to “fix” the baseball, the one thing that caused him to break out, power, is likely to disappear and he’s back to an average bat with below-average defense. He won’t be tossed aside, but he may wind up in a utility role or traded to help fill a different need.

      The Reds have a shortstop problem. This, however, has nothing at all to do with that.

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      • Simon Cowell

        Exactly. Not Senzel’s fault or Suarez. They will both be playing every day by the end of the season just not at shortstop.

      • Bubba Woo

        Neither is Jose Peraza. The difference is that Suarez and Senzel have ML bats. If you’re not going to resign Cozart, I’d much rather have Senzel-3B/Suarez-SS/Gennett-2B than Suarez-3B/Peraza-SS/Senzel-2B. The added offense more than makes up for Suarez being somewhat error prone at SS, and up until last year he played there his entire career.

      • Doug Gray

        Bubba – Peraza IS a shortstop, though. Whether he can hit is an entirely different question, though. The Reds don’t seem to believe that Suarez can play shortstop these days. They aren’t stupid. If they thought, even a little bit, that he could actually play shortstop, then he’s be playing shortstop. That bat at that position? Yeah, they wouldn’t think twice if they thought he could handle the position. But they aren’t talking about it at all.

        I’ve said all along, I’d try Suarez at shortstop in the spring. Heck, I’d tell him the plan this offseason would be to try and slim down to make it happen. But, I don’t get to make those decisions, and the people who do, don’t seem to think it’s going to happen. While they certainly aren’t always right, they’ve got way more information that we do on whether or not it’s likely he can do it, and they seem to think he can’t.

      • Tom Diesman

        Doug, I’m curious why you feel that Suarez is no longer a legitimate option as a SS. All reports when we got him seemed to say he would be an average defender at SS at the worst case. Did he really play so badly there in 95 games as a 23 year old for Cincy in 2015 that he played himself off of that position for good. His issues there in 2015 really seemed like a young player finding his way and maturing in the big leagues to me rather than him being a player who did not have the tools and skills to play the position. Have you seen or heard reports since indicating he can no longer handle SS?

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds aren’t considering it and that speaks volumes.

        But in his time in the Majors at shortstop, he simply wasn’t good. Some of that was the throwing errors, which certainly could be an issue that is fixed at this point. But he’s also a bigger guy today than he was two years ago when he last played the position.

      • The Duke

        Suarez is about 10-15 lbs heavier than when he came up, and he was average defensively at SS at the lower weight.

      • Todd Ertel

        Doug -agree that scooter is an average second baseman with average speed but his offense and power is way above average — he is a gym rat who has expanded his strength and now hits with power to all fields –his weakness is difficulty with left handed pitching and ideally should be platooned and used off the bench against left handed starters .- Perraza is ideal utility inf / cf who has good speed and an average bat and could platoon at 2nd base — without Cozart they need a true shortstop Todd

        cozart

  3. Greenfield Red

    I applaud this possible move. When you boil it all down, good hitters are hard to find. Suarez was very good last year, and with another step up in pitch selection will be close to elite at the major league level. Senzel has been elite in the minors, and they drafted him because they think he will be elite in the majors. I don’t want either of them traded, I want them both in the lineup… somehow. Moving one to another infield spot may be the key.

    Reply
  4. Cguy

    I’d take this news with a grain of salt. This is the same guy that about a year ago claimed Devin Meseraco was his starting catcher & Tucker Barnhart was the back-up. Same guy that gave away BP to make room for Hererra & Peraza to get playing time at 2nd base until Cozart could be traded. Besides, I’m not sure they can get Gennett out of the lineup without trading him.

    Reply
  5. Michael B. Green

    Chase Utley came up through the system as a 3B and then settled in at 2B so I trust that Williams is listening to his scouts and assessors. Even Larkin had to play a little 2B to break into the bigs.

    Reply
  6. Norwood Nate

    I think this is for the best. Suarez has turned into an elite 3B on both sides of the ball. Got to get Senzel’s bat into the lineup, and he’d be a huge upgrade at 2B. The best case scenario is they can trade Scooter for another useful piece. If not he’s a solid LH bat off the bench who can cover a couple of spots on the field.

    Reply
    • The Duke

      Over the next few years, I like the idea of Scooter and Blandino off the bench. Blandino can back up all 4 IF spots (SS for days off, but not long term) and be a solid RH bat off the bench, while Scooter can back up the 3 non-SS IF spots and both corner OF spots with some LH pop off the bench. That kind of versatility would allow the Reds to have 2 other bench spots be a guy who can back up CF and a backup catcher, then with the traditional last bench spot they could go for an all bat guy to pinch hit or an 8th reliever out of the bullpen.

      Reply
    • Doug Gray

      I’d argue that Suarez isn’t elite offensively, yet. He’s definitely above-average, but he’s not quite elite there.

      Reply
      • Norwood Nate

        That’s fair, and I may have been projecting a bit. I’ll take above-average bat with his defense at 3B though.

  7. The Duke

    As Doug mentioned, Senzel has nearly as much time at 2B as he does 3B since high school. 2 years as the starting 2B for Tennessee will make this transition a lot smoother than it could have been for someone with no experience there. Senzel has plenty of range for 2B in my opinion, and while I like Scooter Gennett, I think he’s best used in a super sub role getting between 300 and 400 at bats a year. His defense isn’t that good, while Senzel’s can be above average to plus. It makes sense to get Senzel time there, plus Scooter will get his shot while we delay Senzel’s arbitration clock and get him a little taste of AAA ball first as well.

    I’d love to see the Reds get aggressive at SS, but I think they are going to give Peraza at least one year as “the man” at SS and if he falters much like he did last year then they’ll start exploring other option be it a trade or in free agency. He flashed his hitting ability at the end of 2016, and if he can start to drive the ball more consistently and layoff the borderline pitches when it isn’t 2 strikes, I think we could see him with a .300+ batting average again. His bat to ball skills are tremendous, he just hits too many pitchers pitches on the outside of the strike zone or out of the strike zone all together. More plate discipline and waiting for pitches he can drive could make a big difference, even if it comes at the cost of a few more K’s, but it would also come with more BB’s as well.

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  8. CP

    I think Senzel or Suarez moving to 2B was inevitable, and Suarez has already established himself at the MLB level. The next question is whether or not the Reds can take some of this surplus of 2B and corner OF talent, and trade it to help us at the SS or CF position.

    Any teams out there that have a surplus at those positions, but not at 2B or corner OF? The trouble I see is a SS can always move to 2B and a CF can always move to a corner OF spot. So why would any teams that have what we need, but not what we have need us? The solution may have to come from some our our young SP’s being dealt as well……

    Reply
  9. sultanofswaff

    I’m not opposed to Senzel playing 2B in theory, but this just adds to the number of redundancies at that position. Gennett is a starting 2B, Long will be, Blandino and Herrera could be. The front office has to leverage some of this surplus talent to better the major league team. It’s useless rotting at AAA.

    You could theorize this moves portends a sell high trade of Gennett. If we could get a dominant reliever, I’d do it. Senzel becomes my starter and Blandino or Herrera becomes the backup.

    Reply
    • The Duke

      Gennett’s defense at 2B leaves much to be desired. Herrera has had a litany of injuries and hasn’t shown well in AAA in multiple years now. Shed hasn’t had any consistent success above A ball yet. Blandino had a nice bounce back year last year but is far from a sure thing, and may have to fill a backup role until a chance opens up. Lets not fall too in love with all our supposed depth. Odds are against any of them making it, let alone all of them.

      On a side note, does Shed have enough speed to possibly man CF, or is he more Phillip Ervin speed?

      Reply
      • The Duke

        Nevermind, Shed has about average rated speed and the SB numbers to back up that assessment. I thought I remembered him being quicker than that when he was in Dayton in 2016.

      • Hoyce

        i would trade one of Denzel or preferably Suarez for either a CF, SS or pitching.
        I hate to move players off of their natural positions
        And I think scooter is a perfect platoon guy. He absolutely smoked RHP this year.
        But Doug has brought up Yelich in the past- Marlins are trying to shed payroll how about: scooter, Duvall, BHam and Garrett for Yelich. That’s a lot of quality controlled young players for a stud CF. that allows the Marlins to trade Stanton and Gordon to free up $. And allows reds to free up positions for senzel(2B) and winker(LF). And upgrading huge in CF
        Does that trade pique the Marlins interest Doug????

      • Norwood Nate

        Since Senzel started his college career as a 2B, isn’t this just moving him back to his natural position? Or is it possible elite athletes can play more than one position? Suarez started as a SS, Long was drafted as a catcher, Blandino played 3B and SS in college. Guys change positions for a multitude of reasons. A good reason to change positions is to get more better-than-average bats in the lineup. This is especially good when the guy switching positions will be an upgrade on both offense and defense.

  10. Hoyce

    and I think the Reds end up resigning cozart at 3 years/36M
    Look at that on base skill w: votto, winker, cozart, Yelich, senzel and Suarez hitting in the first 6 spots. Would def tax the opposing teams starter

    Reply
    • Jasonp

      Cozart had a great offensive year last year, but why does everyone seem to think a career OBP of .305 in 2700 at bats is going to have a .385 OBP again next year. His best year in OBP coming into last year was .310.

      It’s like ignoring his first 6 years and saying that he is going to continue to be like the 1 year that was different. He could have another good year but this last year was way different then he has ever been.

      Reply
      • Reaganspad

        well if his plate approach, stance and pitches he swings at reverts back to 2016, then he will hit like he did in 2016.

        However his approach and at bats in 2017 were completely different. And the results were a donkey

    • Jasonp

      You mentioned Cozart’s on base skills along with Votto, Winker, Yelich, Senzel, and Suarez. i was pointing out that though out his career he doesn’t fit the mold of every other player you mentioned except if you think he is going to be a similar player to what he was last year instead of the player he has been during the rest of his career.

      If he get on base to his career stats would you still want him at 13 mil a year?

      Reply
      • The Duke

        Some people are going to be surprised at how little Cozart gets. 2 years and under $20 million is my guess.

  11. Alex

    Senzel isn’t gonna start in the majors this year so 2nd is still gennets position. If gennet performa well like last year he won’t get benched so most likely will be traded sometime after senzel comes up. if senzel performs and proves he is ready to be an everyday play in the mlb.

    Reply
    • Hoyce

      Not starting senzel in majors(which ur right,he won’t) buys u about what a week or 2? Teams aren’t going to trade In First month of season. And a team like reds can’t have a blockade of major league talent at a certain position while other positions are manned by incompetents

      Reply
      • The Duke

        If Gennett is producing, then Senzel probably stays down until at least June or so to avoid Super 2.

  12. Arnold Ziffle

    Second base won’t be the only position that the Reds have Senzel play in spring training. They will give him some time in LF and RF too.
    There is interest on the Reds corner OF’s Duvall and Schebler from teams looking for power. If teams miss out on JD Martinez and even Jay Bruce in free agency, they are sizing up Duvall and Schebler. If teams miss out on Stanton or Ozuna in the trade market, they may have interest in low cost additions with power.
    Boston is looking for 2 power bats at 1B, DH or LF. They said on MLB Network radio this morning that Boston might be willing to giveup JBJ, Betts or even Benintendi (?) in the right trade. Boston also needs a 2B as Pedroia starts the season on he DL, plus Pedroia will need a back up when he comes back. Boston could also use an insurance policy on their young 3B, Rafael Devers. If Dever hits a sophomore slump like many do, thy will need a back up plan. Scooter Gennett would work wonders here.
    Duvall and Scooter to Boston for one of those OF plus one. Benintendi could play CF for Cincinnati. So could JBJ. Not so sure about Betts.
    Toronto could be a nice match.
    Colorado could be a nice match for Duvall.
    Arizona could be a match if they lose JD Martinez.
    The SF Giants could be a match for BHam.
    Having 5 offensive positions open (SS, 2B, LF, CF, and RF) is a little bit disconcerting this far into the rebuild. Winker and Senzel are two solutions. Need to settle on the other 3 very soon.

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      The “right trade” is Stanton. They aren’t giving up those guys for anyone else.

      Reply
      • CP

        What if the Reds packaged Duval and Iglesias though? That changes everything I would think and puts the Red Sox with the kind of bullpen that has been very popular in the playoffs the last few years.

        Red Sox- Duval & Iglesias
        Reds- Jackie Bradley Jr. & 2 or 3 high ceiling minor leaguers

        Duval’s power would play big off that green monster, Iglesias and Kimbrell in the bullpen would be huge for them. Reds get the CF they need, and continue to extend the window of competition with refilling the minor league coffers. Thoughts?

      • Doug Gray

        It’s an interesting idea, but I’m just not sure it’s enough. Duvall is an average hitting left fielder and his defense would be neutralized big time in Fenway. It would be interesting to pour through the statcast data to see what the Green Monster would potentially do for his offense, though. Could depend on just how badly the Red Sox think they need another reliever.

        At the same time, I’m not sure the Reds would trade Iglesias unless the return involved a star coming back. Not sure that’s JBJ at this point.

      • CP

        Yeah I wasn’t sure what the minor league pieces back from the Red Sox would need to look like for the Reds to be open to sending away Iglesias.

        The only top 100 prospects it looks like they have are their top two. Jay Groome (LHP) and Michael Chavis (3B). You can always use more pitching, but we are flush with infielders.

        What about like Tanner Houck (RHP), their 4th best prospect, and C.J. Catham (SS), their 7h best? Gives the Reds another pitcher with a good arm to add to the SP coffers, and another SS in the mix that can actually stick it. If asking for Catham is too much could look at Chad De La Guerra who is a little farther along in the minors, but less of a ceiling perhaps…

      • HavaKlu

        Don’t see how Duvall’s defense would be neutralized by the Green Monster. In fact, it might be enhanced. Yaz won 7 Gold Gloves and led LF in assists 9 years playing in front of the Green Monster.

      • Doug Gray

        Because there’s so much less ground to cover in left field because of the Green Monster…. It would definitely not be enhanced. Routine 310 foot fly outs in every park in baseball bang off of the Green Monster for singles and doubles every week. Heck, probably two a game.

    • Cguy

      “Colorado could be a nice match for Duvall” in a trade for what? Are we talking Brendan Rodgers or Riley Pint as the prominent prospect in the return? If not, why consider the trade? It’s not getting rid of Duvall or Schebler that is the problem, it’s eventually improving the future of the team.

      Reply
  13. Hoyce

    Here’s another trade idea: homer and mesoraco to Rockies for Ian Desmond. All coming off bad years. And money dead even. Although one more year of control on Desmond compared to the other two combined. Move Desmond back to SS. Rox always need/want pitching.

    Reply

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