Thursday Reds lunch time links Doug Gray February 8, 2018 24 Comments Mark Sheldon of Reds.com wrote about Nick Senzel as a part of his spring training preview series on Wednesday. If you’re a Reds fan you probably have some knowledge of Senzel. If you’re reading this article, there’s no doubt that you do (otherwise, how on Earth did you wind up here?). Sheldon notes that the excitement and intrigue in the spring for Senzel is quite high. It’s probably the most interesting prospect since Aroldis Chapman or Jay Bruce (who were both also Top 10 prospects in the Minor Leagues at the time). There are some good things in the article, so be sure to go read it when you’re done here, but one thing stood out to me the most. Reds General Manager Dick Williams had this to say in the article: As far as positions, we’ve got one of the best young third baseman in the Minor Leagues. We think he can play other positions. We’re not in a hurry to move him around the diamond. This is a great time to expose him to other opportunities and make sure he’s getting instruction around the infield. This is an interesting quote. While Nick Senzel is certainly one of the best third basemen in the Minor Leagues, not being in a hurry to move him around the diamond seems strange. Eugenio Suarez has been touted as the starting third baseman for this team. He’s under team control for the 2018-2020 seasons. Senzel, barring something very unforeseen, should be Major League ready by midseason of 2018, especially if he’s staying at third base. It’s especially confusing given that Nick Senzel has been working on other positions during the offseason. Of course, all of this goes back to Mark Sheldon’s original point: There’s so much intrigue wrapped up in Senzel. It’s not just because of how good he is as a baseball player, but it’s also about how he fits into the Cincinnati Reds lineup and plans over the next few years. Fangraphs “just beyond the Top 100 prospects” has a few Reds Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel released the Fangraphs Top 100 prospects list on Monday afternoon. Since then they’ve continued the prospect ranking articles throughout the week with the two of them discussing various aspects of the list. On Wednesday afternoon they looked at players they liked who fell into the next range beyond the Top 100 and there were several Reds that made the cut. In the catcher section it was Tyler Stephenson that was listed among seven players. The comment on Stephenson was a bit confusing, though. Haase and Stephenson have big raw power and swing-and-miss issues, and will both be old for the level next year (although Stephenson, who has lost reps due to injury, is a candidate to get promoted artificially). While I agree that there’s plenty of raw power for Tyler Stephenson, the swing-and-miss issue was a bit of a head scratcher. During the 2017 season he only struck out 16.7% of the time with the Dayton Dragons. That’s a pretty good contact rate. At shortstop it was Jeter Downs that got mentioned among 11 middle infielders. Here’s what they had to say about him: Chisholm, Downs, and Severino are all bat-first players on the fringe of sticking at short, and they can either prove their ability to remain there or just hit enough for us not to care. Either development would get them to next year’s 100. It would be big for the Reds and for Jeter Downs if he could take a step forward on both sides of the ball. However, even one area improving would be a big boost. On Tuesday the two of them also held a chat and talked about plenty of Reds related stuff. So be sure you check that out (using the search function could be helpful, though – there’s a ton in there). Dayton Dragons thoughts prior to Spring Training Tom Nichols, the Dayton Dragons radio and tv broadcaster previewed some things for the 2018 season on DaytonDragons.com on Wednesday. It’s a pretty long read, but there’s some good information in there. I really enjoyed the 7th point from the article. It dives into prospect rankings, what goes into them and what they all mean (or at least try to tell the readers). 24 Responses Jake February 8, 2018 Very cryptic comment from Williams. I wonder what the Reds plan is for their infield this year, or if they even have one. It’s pretty obvious starting out while Senzel goes to AAA to start the year – Suarez at third, Peraza at short, Scooter and Herrera share second. Senzel throws a wrench into things. Does Suarez go to second? Short? Will he see starts at both positions early in the season? Very interesting – but good – situation the Reds have. CP February 8, 2018 From the sounds of things Suarez isn’t going to be moved. I would give Senzel every opportunity to see if he can be passable at SS/CF. If there is any way at all for him to just be league average/just below at either of those positions, his bat would justify it I would think. Maybe it’s a stretch to try and FIT him into one of those spots, but those are our greatest weaknesses offensively right now, which means they could be the easiest spots for him to get some playing time. I personally am hoping he can be passable at CF. We know he has underhyped speed and athleticism. Maybe he could be passable at CF while he is young and spry? Then give Pereza every opportunity to prove that the second half of last season wasn’t a fluke. He had an above average OBP in the second half, if I remember correctly. If Pereza can have an OBP of 340 or better, and Senzel slides in at CF, the lineup would be really strong. Pereza (assuming 340+ OBP)- SS Winker- LF Votto- 1B Suarez- 3B Schebler- RF Senzel- CF Scooter- 2B Barnhart- C P The lineup is going to pretty regularly be left handed heavy. But there could be days that Duval, Herrera & Mez get utilized at the same time to better attack a left handed SP. Pereza- SS Senzel- CF Votto- 1B Suarez- 3B Winker- LF Duval- RF Mez- C Herrera- 2B P This would serve as a much more right handed approach to the lineup for days against a lefty. Then there are great pinch hitters available to come in later in Schebler, Scooter & Barnhart. All just dreaming here of course, but fun to think what the lineup could be if Senzel could handle CF. The strength of the lineup would just be so much deeper than it would be otherwise. But at the cost of how much defense would be the obvious concern…. CP February 8, 2018 Upon reading the Dayton article it reminded me of the log jam at SS there will be for Dayton. With Downs and Garcia both expected to be there, how do you see the time at SS being dispersed? I would hate to see Downs not given every opportunity to stick at SS. And I would think much of Garcia’s value is tied up to him sticking at SS as well. Can they just split it 50/50, or is that unrealistic? Will there be a similar problem in CF? I know Fairchild is expected to be there, but will there be anyone else there splitting that time with him? Thanks! Bill February 8, 2018 I would play them at SS and 3B and let their performance determine how to proceed. 3B carries more value than 2B and they both have solid arms. Billy February 8, 2018 Just reading the comment you posted above, it sounds to me like the Reds still see Senzel as a third baseman, but are content with moving him for the short-term. In other words, he may play some second base this year, but they wouldn’t expect it to become his regular position going forward. Norwood Nate February 8, 2018 Over the next two years, barring a trade, the Reds should have several viable options to fill several spots with guys who project to be everyday players. At 2B they have Gennett, Herrera, Long, and potentially Senzel (and that’s not mentioning former 1st round pick and Stanford Cardinal Alex Blandino). At 3B it’s Suarez and Senzel, OF corners with Winker, Schebler, and Duvall. There’s about 8-10 legitimate pitching options for starters and even with some of them moving to the bullpen, there’s a handful of highly touted relievers coming up too. All that and no options for SS or CF outside of the incumbents and no prospects that have played above low A. It would be nice to find a way to diversify our prospects so we don’t find ourselves in a position where we have holes in some areas and surplus in others that we can’t find space for. Billy February 8, 2018 Barring injury, what are the odds that Senzel would still be down at the trade deadline? Could the team possibly be thinking that either Suarez or Gennett will be moved at the deadline if the team is not contending, and that Senzel doesn’t come up until the space is cleared? wes February 8, 2018 If Gennett is repeating last years numbers- not sure how you replace him until he’s traded right? AirborneJayJay February 8, 2018 Williams is all about keeping his options open. No different with Senzel and Suarez. I have read the lines and between the lines of both Williams and Price this winter. I have this feeling that Senzel will take over 3B upon his call up. Suarez will be the one that is moved. However, it seems like the Reds will be content to see how things play out at SS, 2B, LF, and RF for the first couple of months while Senzel is at AAA before they make a plan for Suarez. I think the order they look at will be SS first. Is Peraza holding his own there? If not, that will be the move. Second will be 2B. Are Gennett and Herrera holding it down? If one or both are struggling, that might be it. But I have a feeling they are looking at Suarez for a corner OF spot more than Senzel to pair with Winker. Winker in LF and Suarez in RF. Duval and Schebler will have to step up their games in the first half or lose their spots. With the Reds middling offense, Senzel is taking somebody’s spot. Winker is taking one of Duval and Schebler’s spots. The second half starting 8 may look quite different than the first half starting 8. Norwood Nate February 8, 2018 Well apparently Suarez is slower than Winker, based on base running times, who’s considered to have below average speed for the OF. I don’t think Suarez would be Dunn/Alonso type loafing around out there, but he’s bulked up since moving to the hot corner and I personally doubt he has the speed to make that work as a good option. Senzel has more speed, if they were going to move someone to the corner. But I’d also hate to see either wasted in the OF when both are excellent defenders and could likely both handle 2B well. Especially considering Gennett’s defense is pretty bad as it is. Bill February 8, 2018 If Suarez and Senzel both show all-star potential this year and Suarez is not signed to an extension, I expect Suarez to be traded at the All-star break or next offseason to improve the Reds at another position. To date, on the field, the Reds have given no indication they will actually move either player off their primary position at 3B. Very, very nice problem for the Reds to have. The Duke February 8, 2018 The more I think about it, I’d kind of like them to try giving Senzel a shot at SS and bumping Peraza to CF to platoon with BHam. Maybe Senzel can be an average SS for 2-3 years until someone else comes along with better defense and passable offense, and Suarez mans 3B until he’s a FA and then slide Senzel over. CP February 8, 2018 I would be supportive of that move. They should make every effort to find out if Senzel can be passable defensively at either SS or CF. If he can, his offense will more than makeup the difference. Norwood Nate February 8, 2018 That does make some sense, considering the other options we have at 2B. He seems to be more athletic than people give him credit for. Michael B. Green February 8, 2018 KC or PHI (if they give up on Franco) are to potential fits for Suarez. NYY is a fit too if Andujar does not cut it. Cuthbert or Dozier of KC could fill the void until Senzel is clear of Super 2. What the other chip(s) would look like though are questionable. Value on Merrifield is probably pretty high and he cannot play CF. Mondesi is very talented but light on plate discipline and KC probably won’t deal him. Staumont, Griffin, Skoglund or Blewitt would interest on the pitching side but offensively, Matias would be the gem to mine from the hitting prospects. Prediction: Suarez at 3B until Senzel is ready. Suarez to SS or 2B after that depending on if Gennett or he is dealt to a contender. Let’s see if Suarez logs in ST time at SS or 2B. He is a very nice right-handing hitting complement to Votto, Schebler, Gennett and Winker. Jer-B February 8, 2018 It’s simple. Senzel plays first month or so in AAA and then comes up and plays a utility role or at 2B, 3B or OF full time if someone is injured or traded in 2018 . He will move to 3B full time in 2019, but the Reds wait to see how everything else shakes out with the roster. Suarez get traded or moved to another position by the start of 2019. The Reds wait for a market to open up for Gennett, Duvall, Schebler & BHam at deadline or offseason. Moving a couple of those guys opens up a spot at 2B or corner OF for Suarez. Right now Dick is just holding his cards and waiting to see how things shake out, and I have no problem with this. Players get injured, which could open up playing and or trade opportunities. asinghoff February 8, 2018 I think Dick Williams is just leaving things open. He knows he has Suarez at 3rd for the next 3 seasons. Maybe it was the Reds who tried for the extension and Suarez was the one who turned it down. Since 2018 isn’t expected to be a playoff push, why not light a little fire under Suarez and let him know that you don’t mind trading him for a 1/2 pitching prospect and keeping Senzel at 3rd? Also could give Suarez incentive to sign an extension and then the Reds could focus on Senzel at 2nd. wes February 8, 2018 Very Doubtful Suarez signs an extension- This year Suarez will make more money than all of his years combined prior to this season vs Barnhart signed signed 2+ years before he would ever get a big payday. So to sign him- you would over pay the next 2 years to pay less in year 3 and 4 (1 and 2 of free agency). So four years for 50/60 mil? Reds really don’t need him with Senzel and depth at 2nd, especially to the tune of 12-15 mil a year. With limited funds it doesn’t make sense to over-invest in a place where there’s already enough talent. From Suarez standpoint- if you are finally getting paid- why give up so much? I know theres a risk to run, but he’s projecting as an above average third baseman coming into the prime of his career. It’s not worth giving up 20 million to ensure you get the first 20. I’m sure Yelich hates the deal hes stuck in…. I hope he rakes this year! Builds more value and is traded for quality prospects by trade deadline. I don’t see how he’s in the long term plans at this point. Billy February 8, 2018 I don’t really disagree with any of your points, but I don’t think it is fair to assume that Yelich hates his deal. Maybe he does. Maybe making the most money possible is a motivating factor for him. I’d grant that the MLBPA is probably not fond of that deal at the moment. But I do believe there are people out there who are satisfied with “enough” money, and I’d think that multiple millions is “enough” for most of us. At the level MLB players are at (the good ones, anyway), they’re not looking for the biggest contract they can get so that they can afford to send their kid to private school. If they want to maximize their contract, it’s because it is an indication of how valuable the player is. If a player is confident in his own right and doesn’t feel the need for the team to confirm what he believes his value is, then he can sign a below market deal and not “hate” it. See Mike Trout for an example. I don’t believe he hates his deal, and I’d bet he left as much money on the table as Yelich, if not more. Michael B. Green February 8, 2018 Does Gallo slide into the 3B spot in TEX after Beltre’s contract expires post 2018? If not, that is another potential landing spot for Suarez (next winter or earlier if there is an injury). That would allow time to see where Profar will profile defensively. Josh Morgan is interesting too. Maybe Jonathan Hernandez. I just wonder if we see Senzel at 3B and Long at 2B in Sep 2018 (or earlier) and beyond. To do that, CIN would need a breakout from Peraza or a shift of Suarez to SS. Think we know who is at 1B and C. Jake Y. February 9, 2018 If Senzel could play a viable SS or CF they wouldn’t be playing him at 3B. It’s that simple. MichaelA February 9, 2018 For the life of me, I cannot figure out why there are so many comments focusing on trading Suarez. Suarez is arguably the second best hitter on the team and plays nearly gold glove caliber defense. If he plays again this year as he did last year he could be an All Star. Why do you trade someone like that? Nick Senzel is coming? Awesome! Oh, he plays great 3B? Terrific! The Reds are now fortunate enough to have 2 players: 1 who has proven to be an above average hitter and fielder in the MLB and another who projects from his MiLB numbers to be a perennial All Star. This isn’t a problem!!!!! The only “problem” is figuring out how the players mesh into the best team. Those are the kinds of “problems” a front office dreams of. Both players have the athletic ability to play more than one position. What we are seeing is the beginning of a solid lineup developing. Sit back enjoy watching players develop. I’m not advocating for a never strategy. I am just saying that if Suarez were to be traded, the return would have to be immense. Like, “holy cow I can’t believe ‘X’ team gave up all of that for Suarez!” Having talented multiple talented players with more in the pipeline is not a problem. It is a recipe for putting together good baseball for an extended period of time. AirborneJayJay February 9, 2018 The slow pace of the rebuild has many fans thinking we have to trade most players once they reach veteran status. Trade a veteran for prospects. Trade veterans for pennies on the dollar. Trade for prospects. Trade for prospects. The perpetual rebuild. Reds are shooting for their 5th straight losing season and 4th straight 90+ loss season in 2018. And the Reds front office is content with that. And so now are many Reds fans. A shame. MichaelA February 9, 2018 I get the slow pace of the rebuild is very frustrating. But the notion of jettisoning sold MLB talent for prospects at this point is mind boggling. It’s just my opinion but the turn around from rebuilding to contending lies on the pitching mound. Pitchers get hurt. They just do. The Reds have unfortunately had a quite a bit of bad luck with the pitcher injury bug. It’s my opinion that the Reds would have been far better off running the younger pitchers out there than relying on Arroyo, Feldman etc. This not to belittle those guys, I just believe long term the Reds would have been in a better place had Stephenson not languished in the bullpen and Reed being generally MIA. If they got shelled, so be it. At least the FO would have had a better grip on what talent they have and did they make any adjustments or strides as they continued to start. It is a shame that last year was a lost year instead of a learning year. Hopefully they learned more than I give them credit for.