How would you handle Nick Senzel if you were the Reds? Doug Gray February 2, 2019 102 Comments Yesterday saw John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculate that the center field job is Nick Senzel’s to lose this spring on twitter. Talked to Dick Williams about center field. Sounds like it’s Senzel’s job to lose: “. . . he will be given every opportunity to focus on center field, play center field, learn center field, improve in center field to see where he stacks up against our other options.” #reds — John Fay (@johnfayman) February 1, 2019 A few hours later he published an article on the topic at the Cincinnati Enquirer. The main point of the article is essentially the same part of his tweet that’s posted above. The Cincinnati Reds are going to give him a real look out there in the spring. Nick Senzel will be given an opportunity to win the job – or so that’s what they are saying. That kind of brings up the question, though, of how the Reds could actually handle the situation. On the surface, the idea is to just play the best players at the best position they can handle. If Nick Senzel is the best option for center field, then play him there and call it a day. But things aren’t always that simple, unfortunately. We’ve seen things play out over the last decade plus, time-and-again, where teams keep premiere prospects down for the first two weeks of the season in order to get an entire extra year of service time. If the Reds deemed Nick Senzel ready from day one and called him up for opening day, and he never went back to the minors, he would be a free agent following the 2024 season. If the Reds were to call him up 11 days later, he would not become a free agent until after the 2025 season. That can work out for a team. But it may also work against the team. Kris Bryant had this happen to him. He was sent to the Minor Leagues after spring training in 2015 despite hitting .425/.477/1.175 with 9 home runs in 14 games. Their reasoning? He needed to work on his defense. Less than two weeks later he was called up to the Major Leagues and has never looked back. He must have really figured out that defense thing quickly. Especially since in his first week in the majors he saw action in both center and left field – positions he never played a single inning of while in the minors. Why does this matter? Well, because Kris Bryant is still awfully bothered by the fact that the Cubs treated him this way. He reportedly turned down a very large contract offer made by Chicago in the 2018 season. Retaining him for the Cubs isn’t going to be easy. Not just because the guy is a superstar and will cost plenty of money – money that the Cubs, of course, have – but because he doesn’t seem to be willing to give them any sort of discount, either. And the belief is that it’s because of how they treated him at the very start of his career. That should be a consideration for the Reds when it gets to be decision time at the end of March. Is that extra year worth it if you hope to retain the player long term and they may, and should, hold it against you if you manipulate it? That’s a tougher question. The player isn’t guaranteed to sign with you long term even if you do treat them correctly. At the same time, if the player would have considered re-signing, you may have shot yourself in the foot from the very start. The Reds are saying that they are going to give Nick Senzel the look. They are saying he’ll have the opportunity in center field this spring. The look is that they are “going for it” in 2019. There’s been multiple acquisitions that are only for this upcoming season in mind. The words and the actions seem to follow that. As was noted yesterday, ZiPS seems to put the Reds, as the roster stands right now, in the thick of playoff contention. When you are at that point, every single win matters. A handful of games without a player, while thinking six or seven years down the road, could be worth considering, too. Put yourself in the Cincinnati Reds front offices seat. Spring training is winding down and Nick Senzel is the best center fielder on your roster. What do you do? Are you thinking about the 2025 season? Or are you bringing him up for Opening Day and thinking about 2019? Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditPocket 102 Responses James K February 2, 2019 The Reds should be “going for it” this year, and if so they should try to win every game they can, including the first two weeks. I say play Senzel from the start. Cguy February 2, 2019 If the Reds were truly “going for it” this year. Senzel would already have been traded for Kluber or Realmuto. Keeping Senzel in the minors for a couple weeks is a no-brainer. Keeping him in Louisville for a couple more months to avoid Super 2 status is different. That’s a situation they’ll just have to monitor. CP February 2, 2019 I don’t necessarily agree that if they were “going for it” that they would have traded Senzel. It’s a very real possibility that a year from now Senzel is going to be spoken of on these pages as one of if not the most valuable player the Reds have. Not to mention he is cost controlled for very little salary for at least the next 6 years! Going for it is just as much about the moves you don’t make as it is the ones you do. Many times, it takes more discipline to NOT do something than to DO something. Cguy February 2, 2019 Let me elaborate. Senzel’s “vertigo” condition may prevent him from being an everyday cf. I am unaware of any final resolution of that condition. If he can’t play cf, he’s effectively blocked by Suarez & Gennett. However it was reported that Nick could have been the headliner prospect in a deal to acquire Syndergard, Kleuber, & lately Realmuto. If the Reds are “going for it” in 2019, the best use of Senzel’s talent is in the acquisition of a front line player. Keeping him is obviously a long term gamble. Dollar Bill February 3, 2019 Did Chris Bryant have an injury history in the minors including vertigo? I say keep Senzel down and gain the extra year. Brian February 2, 2019 The system sucks, but it is what it is. Trading 11 games for a 162 is a no brainer, especially when you consider you’ll be trading someone’s first 11 games of their career for 162 games in someone’s prime. Easy call. It’s suck for senzel, but as far as decisions go, it doesn’t get any easier than this for the reds Ghettotrout1 February 2, 2019 I agree w Brian Colorado Red February 2, 2019 Yes, But there is a new CBA coming up, and the rules may change. Bring him up on day 1, and offer him a 7 year extension sixpack2 February 6, 2019 Yep! as they say, it is what it is! Sean February 2, 2019 I think that because Senzel is represented by Scott Boras then the odds of him signing a new deal of any sorts before reaching FA are slim and zilch. Therefore, I would get every single day I could get out of him while you have control and would send him down to start the season. CP February 2, 2019 The Scott Boras angle is a good point. I didn’t think about that. Steve D February 2, 2019 That is a good point. The Reds rarely sign Boras free agents. So for 11 games and we get another year I say leave him in AAA and let him work on CF and bring him up mid April. Doug Gray February 2, 2019 The Reds rarely sign ANY free agents. Oldtimer February 2, 2019 OF at Louisville in April. Then OF and/or INF with Reds from May through September. Somewhat like Dan Driessen in 1973. DD hit over .400 at AAA then was called up to Reds in June. He remained a Red into 1984. He played INF (3B and 1B) and OF (LF and RF) for Reds. MK February 2, 2019 Didn’t hurt that Dennis Menke hit .191 that year also. Like Senzel, Driessen had to give up his best position 1b to play. MK February 2, 2019 If Senzel is as bad in center as Driessen was at third then he should start down to learn the position and probably make it longer than 11 days. Oldtimer February 2, 2019 Driessen was C when he signed with Reds. Not good at 3B but better than Menke (1973) or Vukovich (1975) as hitter. He was passable as LF in mid 1970s. Optimist February 2, 2019 Perhaps a way to avoid the alleged Bryant situation is to offer Senzel a 1 year extension of some sort for the Opening Day call up. If he doesn’t accept it, then 2 weeks with the Bats. Give the player the 1 year option/take it or leave it. Of course, that becomes Exhibit A in the grievance hearing for abuse of the Service Time clause. Also becomes Exhibit 3772 or some such in the CBA renegotiations/strike vote. Doug Gray February 2, 2019 How do you give him a 1-year option? You’d have to get him to agree to a 6-year deal to offer him an option for that “next” year. Stock February 2, 2019 Agreed. I like the idea of a 6 year contract with 3 options to follow similar to Kingery. AllTheHype February 2, 2019 What you are suggesting is not a one year extension, it’s a seven year contract. You can’t “extend” for 2025 without also contracting all the years in between. sixpack2 February 6, 2019 Yep, you play by the rules. At least 2 weeks in Louisville playing CF. Bdh February 2, 2019 I agree with Brian above and since the reds are having him work on center then they could try to pass the decision of him staying down to start the year off as simple as him needing a few more weeks learning the position in AAA. John February 2, 2019 The very best approach to this situation ohiojimw February 2, 2019 As far as I can find the next competitive season game Senzel plays in in CF will be his first competitive season game in CF at any professional level. So, count me on board. It makes solid baseball sense to start him in AAA. Ryan S February 2, 2019 I think you consider how things have played out with Kris Bryant and the implications of holding him down on your relationship with the player. With the current roster and fighting for a wild card spot, every game matters. If he is the best center fielder, I would play him in CF on opening day. You have to bring up a guy at some point and the fact is that if he hasn’t gotten hurt last season, he would have been in the majors already. Call him up, play him, and then worry about signing him long term when the time comes. Why not be the bold organization who is not manipulating service time, where players want to play at. Continue the bold strategy of going for it when nobody else is doing that. If you want to attract free agents to Cincinnati, putting the players first is the way to do it. RedsinWashst February 2, 2019 I agree Brian, he has treated the club fairly by working hard and focused. If he is the best choice start him opening day and hope he treats you fairly later on. I usually preach patience but in this case if he has a good spring offensively and defensively start him from day 1. I’ve caught the fever. Go Reds. Ghettotrout1 February 2, 2019 Brian is saying they need to keep him down for 11 games in order to get the extra year not to bring him up day 1. RedsinWashst February 3, 2019 Sorry meant Ryan. RDriesen February 2, 2019 He would be my starting 2B on opening day. Oldtimer February 2, 2019 Gennett is rated #6 best 2B in MLB. Senzel is not. rgslone February 2, 2019 Darn, those pesky facts. But seriously, if the Reds intend to keep Gennett and Suarez, then they should trade Senzel. As the trade market rumors seem to confirm, Senzel has a lot of value. But, I think that the moment you move Senzel off of 3B you have decreased his value. If you also move him off 2B, then you’re basically relying only on his bat for value – plus, one would expect his defense would then basically be a negative value too. I haven’t seen anyone claiming he’s Joey Votto-esque. So, to me, the plan should be to either play Senzel at 3B or 2B this season or next or trade him. Colorado Red February 2, 2019 Scooter is a FA at the end of this year. If he is a 4 WAR player have to consider a QO, not sure. Senzel will play 2nd next 2020 season. Doc February 3, 2019 Because the ratings are based on the past two years at the MLB level. Since Senzel has not been at MLB level, he is not rated. Not a valid reason for not starting him at 2B. DocProc February 2, 2019 This one’s easy. Eleven days in AAA. They even have the built-in excuse of giving him “more reps in CF” to hone his outfield game. If it were two months, or even one, then start him on Opening Day. But 11 days? Suck it up, everyone. Fish February 2, 2019 Count me as another vote in the “the first two weeks in the minors.” I think you can live with Ervin, Schebler or Puig in CF in exchange for an extra year of control of Senzel. James Hm February 2, 2019 Start Senzel in AAA to get back his rhythm after off season surgeries, ensuring he’s ready to roll at the trade deadline. Package Scooter and trade at the deadline. Start Senzel. Shawn February 2, 2019 I would send him down for a couple weeks. He’s learning a new position so I think it would actually be justified, not just messing with his time. If you want to sign him long term ouc could likely do that after his first season was complete. It would be hard to turn down a contract that will set you for life when a big payday is still 3-4 years away. Stock February 2, 2019 I pursue door number three. Last March the Phillies signed Scott Kingery to a 6 year $24 million contract with three option years. The front end took care of Kingery’s immediate needs with a $1.5 million signing bonus. The back end took care of the Phillies as the final two option years are years where he would have been a FA. My initial thought is it will take more to sign Senzel. He is a 60 per fangraphs and Kingery was 55. However, Senzel is a bigger injury risk so he may want to lock in $25 million guaranteed. If you lock him up for 9 years like the Phillies did with Kingery both sides win and you have a happy player. I am pretty sure Kingery is really happy he signed that contract now and I don’t think the Phillies are regretting it in spite of his poor rookie season. Bernie February 2, 2019 I would like very much for Reds to start the season with the best 25 man roster available but that’s something they have almost never done and certainly not recently. I will be shocked if they don’t have Senzel in the minors to start the season. RedFuture February 2, 2019 It’s a no-brainer for a plethora of reasons! 1) The possibility of injury within the first 11 days thereby wasting a year of control for nothing. 2) I think he can most-likely play CF well but a few more games of training won’t hurt. 4) I can’t believe that would prevent a long term signing (it may be used as public excuse though). 3) Permit more showcase time for Kemp and Schebler as trade candidates. In a perfect world one of Kemp or Schebler will be traded by opening day. Kemp especially makes perfect sense in the AL as a DH. doofus February 5, 2019 Senzel could also experience an injury with the big club. Scott Ledridge February 2, 2019 When Andruw Jones first came up, Bobby Cox told him to not worry about his position, play defense, and let the hitting come. With Senzel, don’t worry about your position, hit, and let the defense come. Norwood Nate February 2, 2019 Nick Senzel will turn 30 in June during the 2025 season. I’d rather have him during his entire prime than extend him for big money at the point he’d be expected to start declining. Maybe he’s a guy that defies the age-related decline until his late 30’s, but the odds aren’t really in anyone’s favor there. Will 14-15 Spring Training games in CF be enough to definitely determine that Senzel is a better option in CF than Schebler, Puig, or Ervin? I doubt it. The Reds have built in understandable reasons to keep Senzel down in AAA to start the year. He’s not on the 40-man, he’s never played a professional inning in CF in a game that matters, he’s coming off a couple different injuries that shortened his season, and the Reds may have a roster crunch to start the year if they roll with an 8-man bullpen as they have recently to start the year until starters get stretched out. Casali, Blandino/Trahan, Kemp, and Ervin fills out the bench to start the year. When the bullpen goes down to 7 guys, then Senzel comes up to take the reliever’s spot. Wes February 2, 2019 They had this same situation with mahle and reds kept him up. It’s terrible business from a gm perspective of a small market team, but it’s good pr amoungst players and fans to a lesser extent D Ray White February 2, 2019 Senzel should be with the Reds on opening day, play Center 2-3 times a week, and get another 1-2 starts a week playing second or third. The wisest course would be to trade Gennett to an AL team and install Senzel at second. jon February 2, 2019 No one wants Scooter. Dollar Bill February 4, 2019 Scooter would be a legit DH for some team. He is not a legit defender at any position. If he didn’t hit the way he does he would already be out of baseball Daytonian February 2, 2019 CF for now. 2B when it opens up. Yes. 11 days (or more) to work on his skills in the minors. We’ll see how things turn out in the Sprint. That’s the way that baseball works in the age of bargaining and player mobility. A team cannot throw away the final year. Daytonian February 2, 2019 “how things work out in the Spring” (not in the Sprint) Josh Mohr February 2, 2019 Start Senzel in CF on OD, bat him 7th and go from there doofus February 5, 2019 Bat him leadoff or second and play on the dirt. Andy February 2, 2019 I wonder if the “year of service” definition will change with the next labor agreement. This is obviously manipulated by the owners every year, everyone does it but can’t say it out loud. I look for the union to make this an important sticking point… maybe push the “year of service” definition to closer to 80 games so that the decision to hold down a talented player isn’t such a no-brainer for the teams. Will they negotiate to make the new (potential) rules retroactive to existing players? Could the Reds damage their relationship with top prospect in order to earn an extra year of control that will disappear when the new labor deal is agreed upon? All this said, given the Reds current outfielders, leaving Senzel in AAA until one outfielder, 3B, or 2B goes to DL probably won’t hurt them much or at all. Rookie Senzel might not be an upgrade over any slated starters. Certainly not over Suarez, Gennett, or Puig, and it’s debatable vs Winker but it’s not a slam dunk either way. He should be better than either Schebler or Kemp but is he better than a platoon of those 2? Not sure. I think it is a defensible position that the Reds season chances improve if Senzel stays fresh starting everyday at AAA, learns CF, and comes up when injury leaves him an opening. If he goes out and puts up Kris Bryant spring training numbers while playing decent CF, then start him there on opening day and start negotiating an extension right away. Steve February 2, 2019 Treat him like the way the Cubs handles Kris Bryant when he first came up. In order to take advantage of his bat rotate him thru CF, LF, 3B, 2B each week while starting four or five games. AirborneJayJay February 2, 2019 I believe the Cubs went back on some assurances they made to Bryant. If the Reds keep Senzel in the loop and get him on board with a plan it should all be good. Still, the first 2 weeks at AAA is the way to go, and should be the plan. Most spring games are day time games. Let Senzel play some night games at AAA just to get a feel for CF at night. Two weeks is good. Tom February 2, 2019 1) Keep him in CF this year and beyond if it goes well. 2) Play Blandino at 2B in 2020-2021. 3) India at 2B/3B 2022-2027 Trade T Stephenson, Barnhart, Gutierrez as part of Realmuto deal Shawn February 2, 2019 I wouldn’t trade Stevenson. We will need him in 2 years when Realmuto is gone Colorado Red February 2, 2019 Unless we get Realmuto, and extend him, lets say 5/70 Michael B. Green February 2, 2019 Since MLB is also a business, the GM will need to balance business and baseball. Allowing Senzel to play a few weeks in AAA at a position that he has never played is not unreasonable. That evidently saves CIN an extra year of service time. While Senzel will likely see an extension before any of that matters, it will likely factor into how one calculates any extension. That equates to savings for CIN and that also means they could deploy that money to improve their club elsewhere. I think we will see a Schebler/Ervin combo early on and let Senzel force his way up. It also provides for a window of time to see if a DL10 guys moves to DL60 and opens up a 40MR spot for Senzel. There is certainly a way to handle this and I completely trust the CIN brass. If they fall a game or two short from the Wild Card, they may regret it, but that is the balancing act for small market teams. Regardless, I am very excited about Senzel’s future. Stating that the job is his to lose is brilliant and reinforces their belief in their future star. Jon Ryker February 2, 2019 Well, this is a no-brainer if they continue to not have a CFer. Matt G February 2, 2019 I see them keeping Jose Siri on the opening day roster as a late inning defensive replacement for the first couple of weeks of the season while Senzel “works on his defense” down in Louisville. Once those couple of weeks are over Senzel comes up and Siri goes down for the rest of the year. Cguy February 2, 2019 What if Siri plays in April like he’s been playing in January? May not be so easy to option him to the MiL. Matt G February 2, 2019 Send down Phil Ervin in that case. AllTheHype February 2, 2019 One other possibility is not mentioned here in both the article and comments: the Reds could gain the extra year by sending him down any time in the next few years for a period of 20 days or more. If I’m the Reds and Senzel rakes in ST and shows he can handle CF, he’s my opening day starter. At any point in the next couple of years if he struggles, send him down for 20 days and gain the extra year. Doug Gray February 2, 2019 You do that when he’s not absolutely, unequivocally struggling, and you’re going to have a grievance filed against you, you’ll lose, you’ll pay him money, and absolutely have no shot of bringing him back in free agency. AllTheHype February 2, 2019 1. I said “if he struggles”. 2. Even if he’s not struggling, just performing average let’s say, the Reds would still NOT lose the grievance as you suggest. There is no precedent that I’me aware of where the team loses such a grievance unless it’s clear cut. So he/his agent can file, just as Boras/Bryant did against the Cubs, and history suggests team will win. Hanawi February 2, 2019 To me it really depends on what he looks like in ST. The Bryant case was so high-profile because of the numbers he put up in the spring. If Senzel does that and plays a solid CF, then he should be on the team to start the season. However, I think it’s probably unlikely that’s the case. He’s not only learning a new position, but he also missed months of the end of last season and the AZL with two different injuries. Making an argument for him to start in AAA is pretty easy, especially since the Reds have 5 solid OF options anyway. So I’d be surprised if he started on the 25 man at the beginning of the season, but very excited if he is able to make the case for being on it. Doug Gray February 2, 2019 It’s not about making the argument. They can always make the argument. The question was: If they deem, internally, that he’s the best option. Phil February 2, 2019 What if you break camp with him and he starts slow and goes 6 for his first 40? What if his inexperience leads to an injury collision w/another OF or the wall? C’mon, easy decision. He starts in AAA and saves a year. And no way he’ll be the obvious best CF in late March anyway. Reds have been smart so far, I trust them to continue. jbonireland February 3, 2019 What if he gets optioned to Louisville to open the season and gets hit by a bus on the way to the ballpark. You can make any number of what if’s. Someone said have Siri on the opening day roster and bring Senzel up after two weeks. Aren’t you gaining up an extra year of Senzel at the expense of Jose Siri? And on and on it goes. Russell Adkins February 2, 2019 I have a feeling he will take the job and not let go in spring training and will make it very hard for them to send him down. If they do it will be for business not performance Eric February 2, 2019 If ,and it is an if, Senzel is the best CF in Spring then you start the year with him in CF. If he is not you send him down to work on it, not for 11 days but for a month. Something else to consider is he could struggle even starting the season in the bigs and could get sent down for a little while to regroup. Stock February 2, 2019 Interesting reads on MLBtraderumors. 1) Padres have an obvious hole for the future and that is 3B. This is why they have been looking a Machado. 2) Padres are were not looking at Harper because they already have six ML outfielders on their roster (LF – Franchy Cordero and Wil Myers, CF – Jankowski and Margot, RF – Reyes and Renfroe. 3) Padres are said to be involved in discussions with Reds and Marlins on Realmuto. 4) Padres have changed course. Now they are focusing on Harper. Maybe the Padres are zeroing in on a trade with the Marlins and Reds in which the trade several of their OF and in the process acquire a 3B, hence creating a need for Harper and eliminating the need for Machado. Wes February 3, 2019 There’s no way I sign in SD if I’m Machado or Harper. SD is where future HOFers go to die. My guess is SD leadership doesn’t accept that as reality so they are all over the place. Doubt they get anything done. Reds schotzie February 2, 2019 The Reds are not only in “win now” mode, but they’re also trying to get as many fans to the ballpark as possible from day one. They know Senzel is a key piece to this. I bet the club leverages the short term benefit of putting their highest profile players on the opening day team as possible, opposed to trying to save a year. Their is precedent for that as well with Amir Garrett. Doug Gray February 2, 2019 Mike Leake. Tyler Mahle. RedFuture February 3, 2019 Unless Mahle absolutely blows away his competitors with an amazing performance this spring he should be ticketed for AAA to begin the season this year and thereby gain back that year of control. There simple are too many still-promising pitchers that should not be exposed to waivers willy-nilly when there is no need. Let’s keep everybody we can and use the options on the players that they can! Stock February 2, 2019 Garrett isn’t really a precedent. The Reds openly stated that year that they would rotate several prospects up and down throughout the year. Garrett may have started the year with the Reds but the plan was without a doubt to have him spend more than two weeks in Louisville. That said you are right about the Reds not worrying about the extra year. Doug pointed to Mahle and Leake as examples. Add to that Hamilton, Votto and Cueto, Norwood Nate February 3, 2019 FWIW, I wish they’d have kept Leake down the extra 11 days. Hindsight being 20-20 and all. And Hamilton and Votto were both Sept. call ups. So it’s not the same situation as breaking camp vs. waiting 11 days with either of them. Pokey Reese’s Red Hot Bat February 3, 2019 Opening Day sells out anyway. The Reds then have a further 5 home matches over the next 11 days. Calling up a top prospect will probably add to the gate for his first match. If attendances were the key factor you’d wait until a non-sold out home match before calling up a prospect but the service time is the key factor (plus lack of defensive experience). doofus February 5, 2019 If Senzel rakes in ST, he is on the OD roster. They’ll find a position. Big Ed February 2, 2019 Senzel took $1.5mm less than slot, as the second pick in the draft, which allowed the Reds tonosy Taylor Trammell enough to sign him. If the Reds stiff him now, to get an extra year of control, Senzel would rightly believe that the Reds have taken advantage of him. A reputation for integrity, once lost, is nearly impossible to regain. If he is the best option for CF, then write his name in the lineup on Opening Day, and forget about 6 years from now. If he turns out to be a perennial All-Star, then extend him for a year when the time comes, at market rates. If he is only a solid player, then the roster stunt will not have helped the Reds, anyway. This team, from Game 1, needs a laser focus on winning games. Senzel should be part of that, from Game 1. Stock February 2, 2019 Very good post Big Ed. Reds schotzie February 2, 2019 That’s a good point, but still worth mentioning the Reds made sure he was highest paid pick in the 2016 draft. Moniak went 1-1 but went 3 mill under slot, 100k less than Senzel, so safe to say it was a good deal for both the Reds and Team Senzel. Norwood Nate February 3, 2019 I don’t think that’s exactly how signing bonuses work. It’s not like Senzel volunteered to take $1.5m less than slot because he thought the Reds would make it up later. They negotiated the signing bonus and that is what both parties agreed upon as being fair. Senzel wasn’t the clear cut #2 pick at the time, although he was certainly near the top of the draft board. But I remember quite a bit of discussion about Puk, Groome, Lewis, Pint, Ray, etc as well leading up to the draft. Teams typically have some leverage with signing bonuses for college guys, because their only option other than signing is to return to college for another year and try to do better than next season. This would be akin to saying if a player lost in arbitration that they would may hold it against the team later. It’s a negotiation, not a favor, and I don’t think the Reds lose any integrity because of anything connected to Senzel’s signing bonus. Bill February 2, 2019 While I think it’s very unlikely Senzel is ready to be the Reds everyday starting CF on opening day (after all, he currently has zero pro or college gametime experience), IF he is the best CF you play him. The Reds goal this year is to win as many games as possible and that means putting the best players on the field. My expectation is that he will need time at AAA to prepare to play in the OF and we’ll see him in May in a super utility role or whenever the Reds need a starter to cover for someone on the DL. RobL February 2, 2019 A couple of things from me. First, if the team is trying to make the playoffs this year, then they should go north with their best players. If Senzel is the best guy for center, I would bring him up. The first 11 games are just as important as the last 11. I am not a fan of the current rules and so I am biased. I understand why people want to play the service time game. But I think it’s bad faith on the part of the front office and want to see the rules changed. So, I say bring him up if he’s the best centerfielder. However, I will say, if he is going to be a super sub, then I feel better about keeping him in Louisville for a bit longer. Simon Cowell February 3, 2019 Billy Hamilton learned to play CF at the major league level with very little practice. Senzel can do the same. Sure we lose Hamilton’s speed but hopefully we have a better all round player in Senzel. I doubt he stays at CF though. My guess is that he is our future second baseman considering that we purged our other top prospect 2b from the organization. Bill February 3, 2019 Actually, Billy Hamilton played a FULL season at Louisville as a CF in 2013 (117 starts, 1,000+ innings). He logged 34 more games in Cf across two winter baseball seasons. Jim t February 3, 2019 The reds started the season last year at 3-18. The season was over and attendance went down hill after that. I can’t believe after a off season of wheeling and dealing in a effort to improve and show the fans they are serious about putting a good product on the field they will leave Goodyear without their best 25 players. If Senzel making the team gives them the best chance to win and avoid the disaster they experienced last year he will be on the 25 man roster from day 1. An extra year off team control is a huge consideration. But in this case I feel the organization has to look near term not far. If Senzel is the best CF on the roster he makes the team. RedFuture February 3, 2019 I don’t think it could possibly be that cut & dried that Sensel’s presense for 10 games can make that much difference when compared to another year of control. Schebler, Puig or Ervin should be able to handle CF during the 1st 6 games in GABP. The next 4 are in PNC park which is only 399 (vs 405) to CF, however one of the power allies is 389 (vs 379). Heck, even Peraza could play a game there if needed. I hope that Sensel can play games 11-162 in CF after that though and be selected to the all-star game, win Rookie of the Year over Tatis and Robles, and play in the WS. Bill February 3, 2019 Several have implied that teams that leverage are acting in bad faith with respect to the CBA. This practice was frequently used before the last CBA was negotiated and signed. Players affected by this rule need to hold their union accountable; they are the ones that didn’t prioritize change in this area. Labor grievances will have a very difficult time overcoming this fact. Cguy February 3, 2019 This morning, for the first time, I believe Realmuto is coming to the Reds. The Zach Duke signing is a done deal. The Reds have yet to add him to their roster, probably because they haven’t yet made a corresponding reduction & their 40 man roster & it’s full. The current trade rumor is Marlins get Barnhart, India, & “a lesser prospect”. I count 4 “lesser prospects” (than India) on the 40 man roster- Mella, Herget, Siri, & Jose Lopez. Barhart & one of those 4 would make 2 open spots on the Reds roster for Realmuto & Duke. It would also bring the payroll for 2019 to $130 MM. Coincidence? Norwood Nate February 3, 2019 Maybe I’m missing something, or maybe it was just an estimate, but how does it bring the Reds payroll to $130m? After the Gray trade the Reds were either $119-120m (depending on the Wood arbitration case). Realmuto is set to make $5.9m while Barnhart is set to make $2.9m. Swapping them on the roster adds $3m to the total making it $122-123m. Unless they’re signing Duke for a lot more money than they should, it’s more likely payroll sits around $125m if they were to add Duke and Realmuto. https://redlegnation.com/2019/01/22/updated-reds-payroll-projection/ Cguy February 3, 2019 I used baseball reference 2019 Estimated Total Payroll current figure of $127.2MM. I added the difference between Realmuto & Barnhart salaries (approx. $3MM). Baseball Reference lists Despaigne for approx. $1.3 MM arbitration salary & does not include the September 15th payment of $7MM by the Dodgers. I concede the net payroll (after the season) will be closer to $124MM than $130 MM. Still think the Realmuto trade is likely & soon. Norwood Nate February 3, 2019 Odd they would list Despaigne as he was a minor league signing. I don’t think the Reds even go to arbitration with him. I also hope they add Realmuto, as he takes this offense to elite levels. Wes February 3, 2019 I haven’t doubted Realmuto trade since it was announced last week. Who’s going to give a better prospect than India? And then Barnhart is a fantastic grab for a second piece. Miami made the offer public hoping to get a better offer but no one is gonna bite. It’ll get done soon enough. They can have Mella, Herget, and Lopez for all I care, but I bet it’s siri. That’s a great grab for a 3rd piece to finalize trade. Worth it though to reds. Siri spent 7 years in miners and prob isn’t ever gonna be the guy we all been dreaming about. KSoze February 3, 2019 I would wait, and get the extra year. Unless we make a trade or move that shuffles our roster, Senzel is not a starter at or near the beginning of 19. My everyday outfield is LF Winker, CF Puig, and RF Kemp. I would still give Senzel a lot of playing time, but not as the everyday CF. The odds seem to be very strong that he’ll be our 2B in 2020. So I want him getting infield reps to. 44Reds February 3, 2019 Somewhat apples and oranges comparing Bryant and Senzel. Bryant was coming off a year when he destroyed minor league baseball, he also looked like the best hitter in baseball in spring training. Furthermore, the Cubs had an opening at 3b. There were no legitimate non-money arguments to keep him down. Sensel on the other hand, while he has looked good, hasn’t exactly owned the minor leagues. Furthermore the Reds currently have 5 outfielders, 3 of which may be able to handle cf as well or better than Senzel. Plenty of legitimate baseball reasons to let him play cf for s couple weeks in minors. As far as going all in, the difference between two weeks of Schebler in cf and two weeks of Senzel is negligible when compared against an extra year of control. Doc February 3, 2019 It would be interesting to see an analysis across all of baseball since this 11 days for an extra year began. How many players can reasonably be said to have been held back for that extra year? How many were still with the team in the extra year? How many performed at elite levels such that clubs would want to sign them in year 7 if not controlled? How does one offer such an absolute opinion without such knowledge? I certainly think that sending Nick Senzel down can be a reasonable baseball decision. He has not played since mid-season. Free agents who played all season, then missed spring training have had notoriously slow starts. Is that likely to happen to someone who missed the last half of the season and then got 50-75 at bats in ST, many of which might be against pitchers who are not ML ready? I can also see bringing him up on OD if he has a fabulous spring offensively and defensively, especially in the latter half of spring when rosters are shrinking and regulars are pitching more. As an old fart purist, I like to see the best 25 players on the roster, best at the roll each is expected to fulfill. I don’t like seeing the contracts tule the roster, aka Homer Bailey. I saw him in two games last spring and he didn’t look all that good. Two bad games but he looked overmatched at the plate. However, not being a statistics hound, I don’t know how good his overall spring was. I hope to see him a lot in the games I have tickets for this spring in Goodyear. MikeinSoCal February 3, 2019 I have some hesitation on giving up India, et al, for Realmuto. I think I prefer a deal with San Diego or Cleveland. San Diego really wants a 3B and they are deep with prospects. I would even consider trading Suárez and keeping Senzel and India if it meant getting Kluber or a haul from San Diego. I don’t think we know just how good India is at this point. habesjn February 3, 2019 I’d start him in AAA at Centerfield for the first 2 weeks. Secure that extra year of control. And then call him up and place him in Centerfield for the remainder of the season. Then in 2020, when I don’t re-sign Scoots, I’d place him at 2nd base for the remainder of his career here with the Reds.