Dick Williams on not calling up Nick Senzel Doug Gray April 16, 2018 43 Comments The Cincinnati Reds didn’t call up Nick Senzel this past week when Eugenio Suarez broke his thumb. They didn’t call him up later in the week once they reached the date in which they could have retained that extra year of control (Friday). Mark Sheldon of Reds.com asked Dick Williams about that decision. What we got was a lot of “GM talk”. Much like what the Cubs said when they didn’t bring up Kris Bryant a few years ago. Much like you hear from every general manager in baseball when asked questions like this. They can’t say ‘we think he’s ready’, or they’re going to lose a grievance to the Players Association and the player will get that service time they were being kept from. With all of that said, let’s dive into something that was said, and why it’s leaving me scratching my head. There’s more to this entire quote, but I don’t feel this sentence is missing the context: You want it (calling him up) to be more dictated by his performance and confidence as opposed to being dictated by the situation here. This quote is a confusing one to me. If the Cincinnati Reds had kept Nick Senzel at second base the entire time he has been in Triple-A, it would be believable. But, the day after Suarez was injured, Nick Senzel slid right on over to third base for the Bats. And he stayed there for several days. The Reds kept losing at the big league level. They also got some good news back on Eugenio Suarez, who may only miss 4 weeks with his broken thumb. After that news came out, the next game saw Nick Senzel slide right on back to second base. And he’s played there ever since. Now, I’m not Sherlock Holmes, or Bones, or some other fictional detective. But, if you want to claim you don’t want the call up to be dictated by the situation in Cincinnati, you can’t also have him playing third base for a few days between the injury to the third baseman and then immediately slide him back to second base the day you get good news on that third baseman. That just doesn’t track. The team was clearly thinking about calling up Nick Senzel and playing him at third base. They don’t make the position change that they did, for three days, otherwise. Whether it was the horrid start that changed their minds for a Friday call up, or the good news on Suarez and they figured they could get by another three weeks – or maybe both, I don’t know. But they were clearly thinking about making that happen. As noted above – they have to say something needs to be improved upon in the minors. Otherwise, they’re going to be in trouble. It’s General Manager speak. He needs to work on this. Or we want to see that. Maybe I am crazy. That’s completely possible. Heck, it’s even completely possible that I’m crazy for typing all of that above. But, all of the evidence points to the Reds actually planning on calling up Senzel to take over at third for Suarez until he came back, and then it changed before the date in which they would have considered calling him up to gain that additional year. And as I’ve stated in the last few days, since that didn’t happen I don’t believe we will see Nick Senzel until the Super 2 date passes. We will have to wait and see, but if I were a gambler, I’d confidently put money on that one. At this point, between the Suarez news, and where this team is at, it just makes sense to save money on an extra year of arbitration. Now if only we could see Alex Blandino play at third base every day until Suarez gets back. But that’s another story. 43 Responses MK April 16, 2018 according to Blue Wahoos radio guy Alf Rod has hamate injury. Said not considered serious but might be out until all Star game. Doug Gray April 16, 2018 Which, of course, is actually serious, because that’s 2 months. Michael Smith April 16, 2018 Bonus points for referencing bones. AC April 17, 2018 Bones is real, though. Doug Gray April 17, 2018 Well, this is true. But, I was referencing the more fictional character on TV rather than the real-life person she’s modeled after. Bubba Woo April 16, 2018 The way the Reds Front Office scouts and manages prospects is nothing short of atrocious: 1. They draft Senzel as a 3B. All thru Rookie, A, A+, and AA, they don’t even entertain the idea of trying him at 3b. Then, right when he’s on the cusp of the Majors, when he should just be trying to adjust to MLB level pitching, they decide to try him out at 2b and SS (despite his college coach not even playing him there.) 2. They trade for Peraza to be there future SS, despite no other team thinking he has the range of an MLB SS. They then use him as a utility guy for a year, then release Phillips to let him play 2b for a year (Where he’s beaten out by a guy they picked up on waivers). Not yet ready to admit defeat, they don’t resign Mozart, and are now playing him at SS, where he’s proving the rest of the league right. 3. They draft Lorenzen in the first round to be a starter and spend a huge amount of $ on Iglesias to be a starter. No one else in the league believes they can be stretched into starters. Lorenzen has now hurt himself for the second time in 3 years attempting to stretch him into a starter. 4. Brandon Finnegan. SEE #3. Stock April 16, 2018 Not to pile on but Howard and Cingrani were not good enough to start in college but that did not keep the Reds from using an early draft pick to waste money on. Bill April 16, 2018 Actually, Nick Howard was used almost exclusively as a starter during his sophomore year and was effect with a 3:38 ERA. http://www.riceowls.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/cingrani_tony00.html Tony Cingrani started while playing community college logging nearly 150 innings as a freshman and sophomore and started 6 more games as a junior at Rice. http://www.riceowls.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/cingrani_tony00.html RobL April 16, 2018 1. When Senzel was drafted, the Reds didn’t know how Suarez would be. Suarez finished the year okay, but not really good. Then last year he had a breakout year, and in the offseason, he signed a very team friendly extension (which nobody want to give the FO credit for). So then, they had to come up with a new plan. 2. They have absolutely hitched their wagon to Peraza. I know a lot of people have written him off, but he is still young. 3. Iglesias signed for about 5 million a year. Not big money. Actually, he is underpaid for a closer. With Lorenzen, there is nothing in his mechanics that say he shouldn’t start. But yes, at this point you have to believe he isn’t made to be a starter. Then again, Homer spent 2.5 years injured and Disco has entered his third year of injury. I don’t recall people saying they can’t start. 4. Yes, many felt Finnegan would make a better reliever, but he was a starter at TCU, and started in the minors for the Royals. So I wouldn’t say the Reds were dumb to view him as a starter. Scott C April 17, 2018 As far as Peraza goes, yes he still has time to improve as a hitter, but it is much more difficult to take strides as a defensive player. You either have the range and arm to play short or you don’t. And it usually does not get better with age, it gets worse. The elite shortstops learn to compensate, those who are not, can’t. B-town Fan April 17, 2018 Bubba, I was bummed they didn’t resign Mozart either. I kinda like Mozart. Bubba Woo April 17, 2018 Ha! Always been more of a Beethoven guy myself… Colorado Red April 17, 2018 Iglesias is a great closer. Still worth the money. Good move MuddyCleats April 17, 2018 Ahmen, and it goes back to what they do on draft day; they just don’t seem to have the people in place to evaluate ML talent or develop it? Senzel & Greene and a few others are NO Brainers, but so many others really leave U scratching your head. Jonathan Linn April 17, 2018 Examples? I think your holding the reds to a higher than realistic standard. This isn’t the NFL where it’s assumed that a teams top 5 picks should start the next year Brad April 16, 2018 How about Reds sending Schebler to Louisville at Lehigh Valley knowing weather would be bad…then moving him to Pensacola. AirborneJayJay April 16, 2018 The Reds front office, over their head and under-whelming. Williams and Jocketty, the MLB version of Dumb and Dumber. Stock April 16, 2018 Not to pile on but Howard and Cingrani were not good enough to start in college but that did not keep the Reds from using an early draft pick to waste money on. Rob April 16, 2018 Relax. Let Senzel perform at AAA. Reds aren’t going anywhere this year. Let him develop then call him up. No head scratching required. He’ll be up soon enough. Lollipopcurve April 17, 2018 Agreed. Had Suarez been a long-term issue, which was an unknown initially, they may have kept Senzel working at third. Worst thing for this kid would be to bring him up to a team in free fall and expect him to make a difference. This is better. Let him learn in AAA while the big club gets its feet on the ground. MuddyCleats April 17, 2018 Agree 2 a pt., but as someone else astutely pointed out, they Reds won’t resign a good young player if he’s asking for anything more than league minimum, so why worry about service time? IMO, Reds r in continual rebuild mode & nothing they’ve done lately suggests otherwise. RedsinWashSt April 17, 2018 Nothing they done lately? They added a team to there minor leagues. They added a coach to every team. By all accounts their last few years of drafting have been good but by all mean keep piling on and scratching your heads. Doug Gray April 17, 2018 To be fair, they added a team destination. They still have the exact same number of teams that they used to. They just cut a DSL team and added the team in Greeneville. Now, that certainly cost them money to do, and I have no idea how much money that was. But, I do think the clarification is needed. MikeD April 17, 2018 100 percent agree with this comment. Why hurry to get him up when it won’t make a difference. I agree the mixed thinking does not give me a lot of confidence, but I’m glad he’s still a Louisville until he shows he should move and that it will be a difference maker. sixpacktwo April 18, 2018 correct. Ryan April 17, 2018 What I got from that quote was he wants him to earn it essentially, not call him up because he’s the 3rd baseman in AAA and the Major league guy got hurt. Performance not circumstance. They never said he couldn’t or wouldn’t play 3rd. When he’s ready, 3rd is the most likely option in right away with Suarez, so the reps at 3rd in AAA make sense. RobL April 17, 2018 631 OPS. His performance hasn’t dictated it. There are no worries, but he isn’t beating down the door. He also happened to go ice cold when Suarez got hurt. When Friday rolled around and he could be called up, he was in a mini slump. Easy justification for keeping him down. Unlike Kris Bryant who destroyed spring training and was called up as soon as the extra year was gained. And as I believe you have correctly stated before, when Senzel comes up, it will be for good. The Reds are not doing anything this year, they need to bide their time until they find a taker for Scooter. Or his performance drops and he goes back to last year’s super sub. RedsinWashSt April 17, 2018 Very good point. todd April 17, 2018 At this point – I (like a lot of other Reds fans) am starting to lose confidence in this front office. The decisions being made are beyond perplexing and can’t be excused away on the “economics of baseball” – which is always their explanation. Their misses on the draft from 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 have finally caught up to them (Jesse Winker, the only sliver of hope from these draft classes), as well as trading a majority of their core, with little to show in return: Cueto, Leake, Chapman, Bruce, Frazier, Latos, Phillips. During the winter, this front office wasn’t exactly “busy”, as they added 2 “replacement level” relievers and lost an All-Star caliber SS. Did we honestly expect them to any better than last year? One more thing, let’s also not forget they came within a minute of failing to sign Hunter Greene… Alex April 17, 2018 I personally think that at the time of the trades most of them were good for us. The worst ones are Frazier and of course Chapman. But the Frazier trade doesn’t look bad now when you see that schebler could be a big time power batt and provide more than Frazier does. But I liked all the other trades at the time of the trade at least The Duke April 19, 2018 People seem to forget that Frazier was not playing well at all when we traded him. He had something like a .670 OPS over his last 50-60 games as a Reds if I recall correctly. The time to trade him was right after the home run derby win, which I’m sure most casual fans would be rioted if the Reds did that. Michael Smith April 17, 2018 What are you talking about. Both 1st round picks are in the majors. Our supplement pi k in 2012 is already in the majors and our 2015 pick is killing it in Daytona and is only 21 The reds have an acceptable success rate for those years. You should ok now that if you spend any time on this site Micheal Cohen April 18, 2018 Yeah the return on those trades were devastating. Jocketty and williams = dumb and dumber. @ AirborneJayJay. kevinz April 17, 2018 I like this move only because Senzel not Raking yet only has 300 or not much more ab’s above A advanced ball. Peraza not willing to give up on either could be a nice 2 hitter where at now or at leadoff. If he plays like did 2nd half of last year and since the Pirates series this year I am sticking with him. Yes his defense could improve but still could about to turn just 24. Not saying be a power hitter but still say more power in there for peraza. Bill April 17, 2018 Kevin, I hope you’re right. When I just look at the box score, I feel optimism. When I watch him hit in a game, I can’t help but feel his approach is easily exploitable as continually swings at pitches outside of the strike zone. I simply haven’t seen any improvement in this regard. I walk every 50 or so at bats is simply not going to work as a starter. His speed, defensive versatility and ability to make contact could make him a suitable utility player, but his approach must improve if he is to remain a starter. kevinz April 17, 2018 I sure hope i am too just being positive in a bad situation for the reds. saw in 2nd half last year when walked 15 times with 20 SO . Thinking see that farther go along into the season. Pokey Reese's Red Hot Bat April 17, 2018 It’s not necessarily a bad idea to dangle the possibility of promotion to the Show to see how they react. Did they see him tighten up? Did they think he was pushing too hard? Hopefully when the time comes he’ll now be that bit better mentally prepared. The Duke April 17, 2018 I think you’re over reacting. Maybe they contemplated bringing Senzel up, but weren’t sure, so they had him slide back over to 3B for a few games. Exploring options doesn’t mean the plan was immediately changed when the injury happened and then immediately changed back when they got good news about the timeframe. It was more likely a “maybe, but lets prepare in case we go forward with this” kind of move, which seems reasonable to me. greg April 17, 2018 I agree with this. We tend to over-analyze things when we follow a team so closely. Just a day or two ago the internet was losing its mind over a completely innocuous tweet that Senzel sent out. Justin April 17, 2018 I’m guessing that now they’ll be back to shopping Scooter and once he’s traded promote Senzel. It’s a great time to sell high on Scooter though some nights he seems like the only Red interested in hitting a baseball. AndyBado April 17, 2018 I’m playing devil’s advocate a little bit with this, but do we know that Senzel is ready for the bigs? He was fantastic across A+ and AA last year. But he hasn’t produced nearly as well in the spring or AAA so far. I think it’s fair if the Reds want to see him put up numbers in the highest level of the minors before they call him up. He’s a great young player with incredible talent, but I think this winter there’s been a little too much “he’s ready now” hype on Reds blogs for a guy who’s played just half a season above A ball. He’ll probably be ready by the middle of the year, but I don’t see any need to rush him this season. The Duke April 17, 2018 I think Senzel could hold his own in the majors right now, but I also think half a season in AAA wouldn’t exactly be hindering his progress either. LeRoy April 17, 2018 The Reds may have considered bringing Senzel up but evidently changed their minds when it looks like Suarez will be back sooner than expected. The real reason I would not have brought him up at this time is that he hasn’t proven he can hit triple A pitching yet. If he came up and hit like he has so far at Louisville, the fans would be hollering that they rushed him to the majors. He can’t be expected to hit in the majors until he hits at triple A. He simply isn’t ready yet. Maybe in a month or two.