When the offseason began the question with Nick Senzel was where will he fit in. He was blocked by two All-Stars at the spots he played on the field. So the Reds decided to see if he could handle some outfield after the season and he was healthy after having finger surgery. In instructional league he worked in both left field and in center. That didn’t last long, though, as he wound up needing another surgery in order to remove bone spurs in his elbow. After rehabbing from that out in Goodyear, Senzel remained there and continued working on his outfield play. And he remained there the entire offseason – doing everything he could to learn the position of center field.

Then as January and February got here, there began to be short, but interesting quotes about Nick Senzel and the outfield. David Bell saw things that he liked when he was in Goodyear prior to spring training. Then once spring began he noted that Senzel was the favorite to win the job in center – even before games had begun. President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams, when specifically asked about service time manipulation and Nick Senzel noted that the plan was to take the best 25 guys to Cincinnati.

Everyone was saying the right thing when it came to the idea that if Nick Senzel could play center field that he would make the team out of the spring. That left some people thrilled. And it left some people angry. The Reds were saying that they were going to go with the best 25 guys and try to win. That left a lot of people happy. On the flip side, the Reds were also saying that keeping Senzel down in the minors for 11 days meant not getting an entire extra year out of him before he reached free agency. And that angered a lot of people, too, because the argument was that it’s stupid to not get that additional season in six years at the expense of two weeks right now.

What the Reds were saying was drastically different than the approach that the Toronto Blue Jays were taking with their top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Their General Manager said that he didn’t see him as a Major League player right now. Technically, he’s right. But only because you can’t be a Major Leaguer until you are called up. And he hasn’t been called up, yet. Guerrero hit .402/.449/.671 in Double-A last year. He got promoted to Triple-A for the final five weeks of the season. While there he hit .336/.414/.564 with 15 walks and 10 strikeouts. Ross Atkins went on to say things that to anyone paying attention was simply him lying to our faces so the Blue Jays can manipulate the service time of Guerrero to gain an extra season of team control.

Then the games actually started being played. In the first game Nick Senzel played in center field there was no real action for him to show anything. Two lazy fly balls he barely had to move for. In the second game, though, he was tested. Multiple times. And to this writer, he showed everything you needed to see from a guy to know he had what it takes to handle playing the position. He had the speed. He showed good reads. And he took good routes on five different baseballs.

And then the next game happened. There was only one play and Nick Senzel came up just short on a diving play where his route wasn’t direct – there was a bit of a circle to it. It was the first night game. The lights in spring training parks aren’t as good as the ones in Major League parks (this was from the broadcasters on the game). Maybe he simply got a bad read. That happens to even elite center fielders at times. Perhaps he does just need more experience, both at the position, and playing it under the lights.

David Bell had something interesting to say prior to the game played earlier today about Nick Senzel, though. John Fay would later publish an article with more from both Senzel and Bell, which you can read here.

Is this the first sign that the Reds have realized that maybe some of the things they said weeks earlier were setting them up for not having stated reasons for sending Nick Senzel to Triple-A in order to gain that extra season of control? Or is this acknowledging that it’s possible he needs more work before he’s ready for the Major Leagues in a center field role? Let’s explore both possibilities.

Could this be the start of sending Nick Senzel to the minors for non-baseball reasons?

Maybe this is semantics, but getting an extra year of team control isn’t a baseball reason. It’s a management reason. Are the Reds doing a little bit of damage control, potentially, with the statement made by David Bell? Yes, it’s possible that they are. It’s what the Chicago Cubs did with Kris Bryant. Granted, Bryant was not learning a new position, like Nick Senzel is, but the reason they stated when sending him to the minor leagues despite his hitting .425 and slugging 1.175 with nine homers in 14 games, was that he needed to work on his defense.

So, what did Kris Bryant do in Triple-A for the seven whole games he played? He posted an .889 fielding percentage and fielding less than 20 baseballs. That was enough, though, for him to have learned to play better defense. Bryant is still talking about how ridiculous the situation was today. Teams have been doing this forever. It hasn’t been until recently, though, that we’ve seen teams making statements to preempt the move. Having the ability to know how these guys are playing, being able to see them – just the all out information that’s available today on minor leaguers and prospects changes how teams have had to go about their business.

Could this be the Reds simply acknowledging that there’s a chance that Nick Senzel could go to the Minors for baseball reasons?

To answer the question asked, yes, it’s certainly possible. Despite my belief that he’s ready and it’s worth dealing with a growing pain (if there even are any), it is possible that sending Nick Senzel to Triple-A to work on his defense is a viable baseball reason to do so. I don’t believe we’ve seen a reason to think that’s a good reason yet. But that doesn’t mean we won’t.

There’s a difference between the Major Leagues and the minors when it comes to outfield defense. As noted above, the lighting is simply better in the Majors. While the minors have come a long way in terms of lighting in the last two decades, it’s still not Major League level. The lights are higher. The lights are brighter. And perhaps just as important – the third level of the stadium. Minor League stadiums have two levels, not three. And that second level is rather small. If the reasons are “night games”, or “the third level” reads, the argument doesn’t hold much water.

But what if the Reds truly believe that Nick Senzel needs more work or aspects of playing center field? Does he need to work on reading the ball better? Do his routes need improvement? Are some of the situational plays in need of work (where to throw the ball in situation XYZ, when to go for the diving play versus pulling up and not taking that risk because of the situation of the game). Playing around the wall, how to play the ball off of the wall or decide to slow up and play the ball off of the wall could be a skill that may need to be worked on.

There are actual baseball reasons that could present themselves that hold water for why Nick Senzel could be sent to Triple-A to actually work on his defense.

What will the Reds decide to do with Nick Senzel?

It’s tough to say at this point what the Reds will do. There have certainly been slightly mixed signals, but we may also be reading into it a little bit. Here’s where I stand, though: If the Reds send Nick Senzel to Triple-A to “work on his defense” and they call him up in April, then they probably weren’t being truthful in their reasoning. It’s understandable that they wouldn’t be – they can’t be. For as much as people like to say service time manipulation is legal in the collective bargaining agreement, it’s not. It’s why teams never come out and say it. And it’s why teams make up things like “he has to work on his defense”.

It’s just tough to see how three weeks in Triple-A would be enough to make the difference in “learning” center field. Especially with the other options in the Major Leagues being what they are – no true center fielder. But if the Reds keep Nick Senzel in Triple-A beyond April, and keep him in center, for a while, actually allowing him to get repetitions, experience, and learn more – then the words would hold true.

Maybe the previous 1557 words typed here are all for nothing. We don’t know what the Cincinnati Reds are going to do at this point. Nick Senzel very well could be on the opening day roster. Maybe he heads back to Louisville to begin the season. Today’s comments by David Bell could be taken a lot of different ways. And reading the reactions to the quote, people are taking it in many different ways.

62 Responses

  1. Oldtimer

    Senzel will play CF for Reds in February and March. After that, it depends on how well he does in Feb/Mar ST.

    He looked good in CF when I saw him play Feb 27.

  2. BigRedMachine

    Doug–what are the odds that a work stoppage/new agreement will retroactively adjust eligibility so that these things teams are (illegally) doing with play time are rendered moot?

    • Optimist

      I’ve been thinking the same thing – I think it’s worth it for the Reds to take the gamble that it will be fixed – thus have Senzel in CF on opening day. It does at least three things – 1 – shows Senzel they’re not (&^*#^ around with him, 2 – shows the fans they’re serious, and 3 – shows the other owners what their position on the next CBA is.

      In other words, it’s a leadership move, and shows they’re serious about the “window” opening now.

  3. Wes

    Reds have done an excellent job exciting the fan base this offseason. If they send senzel down and start slow they could completely deflate all that momentum in a weeks time. That has to be part of their decision making. Senzel breaking camp however, will continue to fuel the fan base and get folks to turn out for the games. Hope reds management wants to keep mojo rolling and go w Nick.

    • Muddycleats

      Agree, however still too many OFs & not enough quality SP. Have 2 give up something 2 get something

      • True and Correct

        What does that mean ? You want Schebler starting the year in center. Keeping Nick down for however long to start the year, will not bode well for the Reds and the MLB. It’s a joke, and will be changed sooner than later.
        If I lived in Cinn. and was a Reds fan, I’d be seriously angry off if the Reds lied all along, and keep him in the minors for a month, 3 weeks, 11 games, or whatever.

        Watch the language.

  4. LB

    Doug, personally I read the Bell quotes a bit differently. While I think it’s entirely likely (and maybe probable) that Senzel starts the year in AAA, I took the quotes as Bell saying he’s seen positive things from Senzel, and to build on those things, he needs to see a lot of time in CF this spring. I figured it was something to explain the reasoning of Senzel starting so many of the recent games in CF, and to explain that they plan on continuing playing him out there a lot this March, as there’s only so much he can gain on the side fields.

    Lord knows, though

  5. Bill

    Honest question … I’m not sure about your statement regarding service time and the CBA. Can you cite where the CBA prohibits a team from adding a player to their roster in order to gain an extra year of control? Has there been a successful grievance filed against a team for doing this? I ask because I’ve read the CBA and can’t find any prohibition and I don’t recall a grievance ever going to a hearing over this. The point is, to file a grievance you have to be able to cite where management didn’t follow the contract. If the argument is that it’s implied but not explicit, then precedence would be important. I think it’s quite possible we don’t actually know how an arbitrator might rule on this issue.

    That said, I agree with you. If the Reds send him down for a couple of weeks, it will look disingenuous–legal or illegal there are good business reasons not to take this approach … bad for relations with players and fans. He could actually need some time to hone his CF skills to play defense at a major league level and the Reds roster is pretty tight. One thing for sure, he seems to being doing his level best to make this a very tough decision for the Reds.

    • True and Correct

      Whether there has or hasn’t been a grievance that’s been upheld……things change.
      Players Union will definitely be filing a grievance on behalf of Vlad Jr., and probably on behalf of Senzel, and Eloy. As an attorney for 40 years, time is ripe for such a grievance.

    • Doug Gray

      There hasn’t been a won grievance over it because unless the team says “we are sending him down to gain time”, it’s almost impossible to prove that’s really why they are doing it. There have been several filed in recent years.

      There’s a reason they don’t say it even though literally everyone knows they are actually doing it: It’s not allowed.

      • Bill

        There really is nothing in the CBA for the MLBPA to hang their hat on. The CBA gives teams broad latitude. Of note, the following section immediately follows the section on crediting ML service time which is the section that specifically states 172 days equals one season:

        ARTICLE XXII—Management Rights
        Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to restrict the rights of
        the Clubs to manage and direct their operations in any manner whatso
        ever except as specifically limited by the terms of this Agreement.

        The CBA doesn’t specifically address whether a team can delay promotion of a player to the majors to gain an additional year of control of the player. Given that it’s silent on the issue, overcoming Article XXII would be a challenge for the MLBPA.

        Further, if Kris Bryant can’t win a grievance on this issue, then the bar is very, very high for any player to clear. I can’t imagine that an arbitrator wouldn’t see his situation exactly as you described it above. These guys are highly experienced is these very specialized cased. For a grievance to be sustained, the MLBPA must prove the contract has been violated.

        Moreover, since the Kris Bryant case, MLBPA has signed a new CBA with no changes to the provisions that continue to allow teams to gain an extra year of control.

        The reason it’s almost impossible to prove is that there is no specific prohibition in the CBA. I haven’t found a single time that the MLBPA or Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, argued that it is not allowed. They argued it was a loophole that was bad for player/union relations and one that was bad for the game by keeping the best players off the field. My take, it’s a bad policy, but it is absolutely allowed under the CBA until successfully challenged by grievance.

    • Big Ed

      Bill, to answer your question, every contract by law carries an implied duty for the parties to act in good faith. That includes loan agreements, sales contracts under the Uniform Commercial Code, collective bargaining agreements, etc.

      Courts (and in this case arbitrators) enforce contracts as if they are the law between the parties. So, if it is determined that one party is not acting in good faith, a court or arbitrator will make the breaching party to pay the consequences. Here, the MLBPA and/or Senzel could file a grievance that the team failed to act in good faith by sending Senzel to the minors.

      The better example is Vlad, Jr., because everybody in baseball knows that putting him in AAA was done solely for the purpose of extending team “control.” A team is not acting in good faith with respect to the CBA when it purposefully impedes a player’s service time accrual (read, free agency eligibility) in this manner.

      Intent is a hard thing to prove, and the Reds might well be able to win any Senzel grievance. But Vlad would likely win his grievance, because the Hays would have to flat-out lie under oath st the grievance hearing. Even the mother of the Toronto GM would know he was lying by saying that Vlad wasn’t their best 3B option. And that is a pretty good standard – if your mother would think you are lying, then you are probably lying.

      With Senzel, I think the Reds’ management need Les to be honest with themselves, if they think for baseball reasons that Senzel should be in Cincinnati on Opening Dsy, then that’s what they should do.

      • Bill

        Thanks Big Ed, I agree with almost everything you said. The problem is good faith is subjective and difficult to establish in this case as the CBA does not address this issue. What an arbitrator will not do in a labor case is change the contract between the two parties. Probably an academic discussion as there are so many reasons for a team front office to avoid publicly stating they are sending a player down to gain an extra year of control; they have tremendous incentives to publicly avoid that line of reasoning that go beyond a potential grievance. The facts are:

        1. CBA states 172 day threshold. Since a minor league assignment must be at least 20 days to count, essentially any minor league time prevents a player from reaching a full year of service time.
        2. There is nothing in the CBA that gives a player or the MLBPA the right to second guess a major league team on when they promote a player.
        3. There’s been no successful grievance filed. Kris Bryant and MLBPA filed and failed to meet the threshold with a third party arbitrator.
        4. The players and owners signed off on the exact same language in the current CBA that existed prior to the Kris Bryant case. This established a precedent that runs counter to your good faith argument. In a grievance hearing, a team would certainly point out the MLBPA chose other issues over service time to address in the last CBA giving tacit approval to the continued practice.
        5. Keeping players in the minors to in order to gain an extra year of control (and sometimes to avoid ‘super two’ status) is a common practice. I think we all agree there are many cases that can be cited.
        6. If the practice is outside the spirit and intent of the CBA, the Commissioner would have an obligation to intervene. He’s done that recently when teams skirted rules for signing international free agents. This hasn’t happened, at least not publicly.

        I really have made a legitimate effort to find an authoritative source to support Doug’s assertion. Based on my research, it’s speculation (albeit very common among sports writers), not fact, to state that the CBA prohibits teams from consider service time in their calculus when deciding when to promote a player. No one wins this argument until another player files a grievance. Maybe that happens this summer. But if it does, it won’t involve Senzel as he:
        – Missed most of last season and the AFL due to injury
        – Is learning a new position
        – and the Reds have legitimate depth from which to choose their opening day roster.

        These are all potentially valid baseball related reasons, easily defendable, and clearly well within established precedent.

      • Bill

        And thanks Big Ed for actually answering my question.

      • Big Ed

        I don’t see any difference between CF and 2B, as far as diving and colliding go. If anything, a 2B dives for a lot more balls than does a CF. Plus, the 2B is more apt to have contact with a baserunner, and will have to play pop-ups near the wall down the rightfield line.

        Senzel had his last bout of vertigo diving for a ball at third. I don’t think there is any evidence that CF is any greater risk than anywhere else.

        They haven’t traded Gennett, because nobody with any money or with any chance to contend needs a second baseman. So, you can expect the Reds to keep Gennett all year, with Senzel in CF.

      • Big Ed

        Well, that last one is out of place.

        My understanding on the Kris Bryant grievance was that it was filed but never set for a hearing. That could certainly be wrong.

        I don’t see much defense to the Vlad, Jr. decision. Even the Toronto GM seemed to be embarrassed to be saying what he was saying.

  6. Stock

    Door #1: Send him down to add a year of control.
    Door #2: Send him down because his defense needs work.
    Door #3: Send him down because they do not see how he is that much of an upgrade in CF over Schebler.

    Everyone is so focused on the defense of Senzel. Maybe Schebler has impressed the Reds coaching staff with his defense. Maybe Schebler’s bat has impressed the Reds coaching staff. He does have a 1/7 K/BB ratio this spring. Very impressive even if he has yet to face a ML pitcher.

    As I have been saying all along, I think the Reds send Senzel to Louisville. But not for service time and not to improve his defense but rather because the team does not improve that much with him on the roster.

    I think Bell’s words have changed not because of service time issues or ability to play but rather because of playing time issues.

    C: Barnhart, Casali, (Joe if the Reds feel he has a future at C)
    IF: Votto, Gennett, Suarez, Peraza, Iglesias, Dietrich
    OF: Kemp, Winker, Schebler, Puig

    That is 12 or 13. Other than Casali all 12 guarantees are players who were regulars last summer. Very impressive group of 10 players.

    • True and Correct

      Schebler is maybe a .250 hitter, at best, and to suggest that there is barely an upgrade, and Schebler has suddenly impressed the Reds with his bat and glove is a poor excuse to keep Senzel in the minors.
      MLB will be dealt with a lawsuit if this crap continues this year. And they will lose such a lawsuit.
      Scheblers average draft position, when he gets drafted 1/2 the time in 12 team leagues is 333. Kemp’s is 300. This from the best fantasy baseball players in the planet.
      Get real.

      • jon

        Sorry but schebler is better than senzel in cf right now no matter what your fantasy friends think.lol.

      • MK

        There is no lawsuit potential here. It is part of the collective bargaining agreement adherence to which is part of initial and subsequent player contracts. I can’t see it be a big strike issue either. The veteran players, who make up a huge majority of the Players Association, won’t give up their incomes to give a rookie a better chance to take his job

      • Stock

        LOL. Maybe you should change your title from True and Correct to Man with no clue.

        Players not selected in the top 200 last year who did finished in the top 50 overall last year:

        Michael Brantley, Mitch Haniger, Jesus Aguiler, David Peralta, Tommy Pham, Aaron Hicks, Jose Peraza, Max Muncy. That is a 16% miss rate on the top 50.

        Obviously, fantasy baseball misses players too. You can go back to last year’s posts if you want to verify it but last year I stated that Gennett would be a stud and he was being drafted in the 150-200 range in fantasy. I felt the same way with Peraza, though I may not have pushed it as much. Both were top 50 fantasy players last year. I am pretty sure I stated last spring that Senzel would not lose his prospect status last year. I think I was correct there.

        Part of the reason Schebler is being drafted so late is playing time concerns. Winker and Kemp are low on draft boards for the same reason.

      • Stock

        Schebler played in 107 games last year (380 AB) You multiply his AB by 1.5 and you get Mike Moustakas. Multiply his other stats by 1.5 and you get Mike Moustakas. Moustakas finished 86 in fantasy in my league. If Schebler will not be available at pick 250 in my leagues because he will already be on my team. If he does not play every day I can drop him.

        But if he does I get a bargain because history tells me that if he can stay healthy he is a fantasy stud.

      • ohiojim

        But staying healthy is a legitimate part of evaluation; and, Schebler has issues. Then again so does Senzel.

      • Reaganspad

        I think Schebler is a 280 hitter, and with improved walk rates, is really in the conversation.

        He HAS already hit 30 HRs in a ML Season. He HAS improved his use of the entire field, and he IS improving his eye at the plate this year. He IS fast also, and can play CF, and he HAS been a starter on a big league club.

        I think Senzel has to take his job, which may mean that Senzel will be Rookie of the year. But to Doug’s point in the article, having Senzel up in the bigs so he can learn how to play the lights and the walls make no sense to me. Hard as it sounds, if he cannot beat out Schebler for a starters job, he should be in Louisville through May as Doug suggests so that when he is up, he is not learning routes on fly balls to CF to cost them early season games.

        Senzel will be up soon enough and when he is, he is not going anywhere

  7. Simon Cowell

    Here is common sense. The Reds don’t have to play Nick Senzel. The Reds do have to play several other players otherwise they will lose them from the organization entirely. That logic would upset Nick Senzel? Fans would refuse to show up because the Reds wanted to protect another player?
    If I was running the Reds Nick Senzel wouldn’t see Cincinnati until 1) a trade reduces the 25 man 2) a long term injury on the 25 man 3) September call ups.

    • True and Correct

      haha. You may be right. Matt Kemp ? Scott Schebler ?

      September call ups ? Yeah, the Reds will be drawing flies if they use your common sense.
      Senzel has NEVER hit under .300. He has 5 tool skills. He also plays 2nd, and Scooter may end up getting traded.
      Kemp is over the hill, and Winker will never be a super star.
      Your opinion that Senzel may not be an upgrade over Schebler is pretty myopic.

      • True and correct

        Kemp’s ADP is 330, not 300. That’s the 28th round of 30 rounds.

      • Simon Cowell

        so you DFA KEMP and Winker? I see flies alright.

      • Stock

        Using your fantasy comparison, I feel that given regular AB, Winker will easily hit .310 and hit 23 HR. These are the numbers Gennett put up last year when he finished 36 in fantasy.

        Freddie Freeman is considered a star and he hit .309 with 23 HR last year. Winker is easily his equal.

        These low draft positions are because of playing time concerns. This is exactly what Simon is implying when he says that Senzel will start in Louisville. If he doesn’t start in Louisville who do the Reds drop?

      • Oldtimer

        Kemp made 2018 NL All-Star team and played (started) for LAD in World Series. Over what hill?

    • Doug Gray

      Thank God you don’t run the Reds. September? My goodness.

      • Simon Cowell

        So who do you DFA to Put Senzel on the 25 ? That is what it comes down to. You would rather have Senzel opening day and give another player freely to our competitors. FYI September is my last option Doug not my first. I am assuming as you apparently are not that the Reds will be flipping players prior to July.
        You simply hate to agree with me. My decision making is flawless and because you hate me you have to disagree. Nice guy you are.

      • Stock

        Again Simon you are spot on.

        Dietrich and Iglesias were regulars last year. To DFA them now makes no sense.

        Casali (or some catcher) must be on the roster to back up Barnhart.

        Schebler, Puig, Winker and Kemp need to be on the roster.

        Those are the 4 bench spots. To DFA any of these players makes no sense. I guess you could send Schebler down since he still has options. In fact you could gain an extra year of control with both Schebler and Senzel if you want to move them up and down enough to do so.

      • Stock

        Simon is right Doug:

        Let’s assume Gennett and Suarez are matching last years performance. You don’t bring Senzel up to bench them.

        Let’s say Winker is at .310/.410/.490
        Let’s say Schebler is at .260/.335/.465 and playing good defense in CF.

        You can’t bring Senzel up and bench one of these two.

        Are you going to bring Senzel up to ride the pine?
        Are you going to bring Senzel up to platoon with Puig?

        I keep him in the minors until I can find everyday AB.

        That means Injury or Trade. Simon is right. There is just no room.

        Once Bell discovered that this week his language with Senzel changed. Again, I choose the door you did not even propose. I choose Door #3.

    • Stock

      Simon my man.

      Someone making sense. I agree there is no rush to bring up Senzel. I don’t really see September but I can without a doubt see him in Louisville until the our first series with the Cubs in May. Also when Schebler gets injured even if for 2 weeks he should be brought up because he is the best option available.

      Schebler is so much better than this site give him credit for. Sounds a lot like last year when people were so ready to give 2B to Senzel when Scooter was clearly the better choice.

      Is Senzel better than Schebler long term? Without a doubt. Is Senzel better than Schebler right now? Maybe but it is not quite so evident. Schebler is far to good to sit on the bench.

      • Wes

        Schebler is 28, makes minimum wage, and has sat on the bench his whole career. There’s not a player in baseball history that has pitched to a 1000 batters and had a 1000 at bats that u can’t skew their stats to make them look better than they are. His closest thing to a full season he hit 230 and could only muster 67 rbi despite hitting 30 homeruns.

        You really think he’s in the reds future plans ? Then why did they move senzel to his most likely position or acquire Puig or acquire kemp? Or Dietrich or Iglesias?

        Senzel was spoke of as the centerpiece of a Kluber trade while Schebler will never be the centerpiece of any trade. They are no where near the same level and haven’t been since nick played at Tennessee.

        Once rosters are set and season starts there’s a chance reds dfa Schebler and no one picks him up and he ends up in Louisville and staying with organization. Most teams will already have their forth outfielder and won’t see him as a significant upgrade. Not saying it’s likely but there’s more of a chance of that then Schebler being moved for anything of value.

        Y’all love Schebler so much- better hope reds acquire another quality starter using kemp’s salary to offset finances. That’s the only way he stays a red unless he passes through waivers.

    • Tom

      Simon, I agree with this 100%. It’s called quality depth. If Senzel were destroying AAA, though, you’d pretty much have to call him up. But the likelihood of something else forcing the issue is pretty high. A trade or injury may make things awkward for those hoping to gain another year of control if it happens first week of the year. Then what! :)

      • Michael W.

        This response is intended for Wes’s comment above. While I am no expert on baseball or Schebler specifically.. your knock on him for only being able “to muster up only 67 rbi’s despite hitting 30 home runs” seems kind of silly to me?? People have to be on base in front of you to increase your rbi’s.. if one extra person was on base everytime Schebler hit a home run he would then have 97 rbi’s and you would be less likely to even bring that up?.. sometimes certain stats seem to be irrelevant such as a pitcher’s win/loss record? Please educate me if I am missing something, willing to listen/learn. I just don’t like to see a player getting bashed for something that is not something he can completely control. Such as if Joey Votto is getting hated on for walking too much and they aren’t throwing him strikes.

      • Stock

        you are not missing anything Michael. Wes had to adjust things to fit his story. He also had to come up with an excuse to ignore 2018 and use 2017.

        Why trade for Puig and Kemp?

        Well just my opinion but Kemp, Wood and Cash is much more valuable than Homer Bailey. Puig is just a bonus throw in.

        We got Dietrich and Iglesias for next to nothing. Great signings. Not sure what this has to do with the Senzel/Schebler situation.

        Two weeks ago the Reds were probably thinking Schebler could not handle CF. I am thinking they feel differently now. Hence door #3.

        I am willing to give you 10-1 odds the Reds don’t waive Schebler.

        As for him passing through waivers. I believe he would be an upgrade for Naquin (2017 OPS .520, 2018 OPS .651) who is projected to be the starting RF in Cleveland. He would be an upgrade over Greg Allen (2017 OPS .625, 2018 OPS .653) who is projected to be the starting LF in Cleveland. For the record Schebler is at (2017 OPS .739, 2018 OPS .777)

      • wes

        @Michael, correct. If Schebler drove in a reasonable amount of runs compared to his power than I surely wouldn’t bring that up and I also would not continually comment him being the odd man out. Driving in runs is a skill just as driving the ball out of the park is a skill. Scheblers whole career he has struggled driving in runs…

        @stock, thank you for engaging in the Schbler convo. I don’t hate the guy nor do I think he’s terrible- reds have better options and he’s odd man out- at least thats how it seems and I doubt there’s much schebler has done in past week or two to make management think different of him. When you quote partial season OPS or just OPS- you are skewing his stats. He’s never put together a quality season that says he deserves to be playing or starting. Maybe he’s not waived and kept but in doing so- no way they stall Senzel for schebler. And no way they cut kemp just to keep schebler when 90 percent of us were begging for them to cut homer and they rolled him into a trade. They will hope to do the same with a quality option in Ervin to back him up.

        Also, in case you missed it, Puig is a super star. When he makes a catch or throw or smashes the ball- it leads on mlb tv or close to lead- that is bc that’s what fans want to see. Not a stat line- but some crazy acting goof ball whos got all the talent in the world. There is no bigger draw in Cincy in 2019 than Puig. More people will come see him at GABP this season than will come for any other player including Gray or Votto or Senzel. He was the headline of that trade and reds are hoping to capitalize on his popularity, roll that into an extension, and show the baseball world Cincinnati is a place Cubans call home. Can you debate that??

      • Michael W.

        @Wes after reading your comment back I think you are saying Scott Schebler has poor batting statistics with runners on base or in high leverage situations? I tried researching a bit but had difficulties finding a good place to find such stats easily and be able to compare him to other players. I think I understand what you are saying but don’t have the knowledge on where/what to look for precisely to help make that judgement about him.

        I like your thoughts about Puig and Cincinnati being a place where Cuban players continue to call home.

  8. Billy

    Is there any chance that the decision to send Senzel down might be influenced more by a roster crunch than by the service time issue?

    Suppose they think Senzel is the best CF on the roster, and they’d be willing to play him from day 1. But Bell only wants a 4 man bench. If you keep Senzel on, then one of Dietrich, Kemp, Schebler, or Iglesias has to go. Maybe you feel that Senzel is only a slight upgrade on Schebler, and it isn’t worth losing one of those guys. That’s the 25-man issue. Alternatively, Dietrich and Iglesias aren’t on the 40-man, and you’ll already have to 60-day or DFA someone for at least those spots. Senzel isn’t on the 40-man yet either, so he’d be a third 40-man cut. I’m not really sure who the options are for that, but there is value (admittedly, probably very marginal) in keeping your depth. If the upgrade that Senzel provides is seen as marginal in the short term, maybe they punt the issue for a little bit and save the service time in the process.

    • Stock

      Well said Billy. I never even considered the loss of another player to the 40 man roster but all the more reason to send Senzel to Louisville.

      Bell figured it out this week so his language has changed.

    • MK

      Billy, I am sure they will need a 40-man spot for Zack Duke also. I wouldn’t be surprise to see Blandino put on 60-day DL and maybe Robert Stephenson. Connor Joe can be returned to LA, but would still need another for J. Iglesias , Detrich, Senzel and Duke.

    • Big Ed

      Jeez. Do you guys really think the Reds would keep Connor Joe or Blake Trahan on the 40-man, rather than bring up Senzel?

  9. TJ

    The pros and cons can be debated ad nauseam, but at the end of the day one additional year of control is greater than 14 days. It just is. Yes the player hates it, yes it could (and I mean could not will) cost the reds a game or two, but the additional year is still greater. Chicago did it, Toronto will do it and the Reds should (and will) do it.

    Can we find something else to criticize the management for (like not getting a top line starter)?

    • MK

      Whether due to a lack of Senzel or just bad luck a 3-8 start which takes the team out of contention probably means a loss of millions of dollars in fan base ticket sales. That might have more value than a year of control of a guy who could be a bust in 6 years.

      • TJ

        You are mixing analysis. We can’t compare Senzel to a replacement player because Senzel has no history. So its all projections. The results will be the results. We could have a good or bad start, with or without him. As of now the analysis is Schebler/Kemp vs Senzel for 12 games (7% of the season). The difference will be negligible based on any reasonable inputs. That against a year of control. The year ALWAYS wins.

        And writer that says we don’t know if that extra year is value because he may be a $30mm/year man, well I guess you don’t understand value. A superstar on a 1 year (at 30 no less) will have tremendous trade value. A contender will always look for a year rental to push them over the top, but not be bogged down with a multiyear burden.

  10. LeRoy

    All this talk about an extra year of service for Senzel doesn’t talk about the possibility that by the time Senzel reaches his last year of free agency, he may already be too expensive for the Reds and they have to get rid (trade him) and they wind up without him any way. If he’s a super star his salary in arb would probably be between 25 and 30M. Maybe too rich for the Reds. I say bring him up day 1 and let him play. If he proves good try to extend him at a reasonable rate past his free agency years.

  11. Cbus

    It just makes to much sense to start the year with Schebler/Ervin platoon in CF and Senzel in AAA to not do it. Their defense is better right now than Senzel and I don’t think it’s even that close. Their offense isn’t that far behind Senzel’s either. Someone on the infield or outfield is going to get hurt or not perfom during the first month or two and that is when you bring up Senzel. Gaining the extra year of control is just a bonus.

  12. Tom

    There is enough excitement without the Senzel story line. A fun team to follow from the get.

    Bring up Senzel after 2 mos learning the position in AAA. I would call that due diligence.

    This is supposed to be a contending team. If you bring up a star prospect early and he costs 2-3 games with his glove it would sour things. You are costing a year of control for bad defensive play and spoiling the honeymoon.

    Send him to AAA for darn good reason(s), bring him up in 30 days minimum. The team will sink or swim on the pitching early on anyways.

    In fact, if he were a top 10 prospect as a SP, that would be a much harder discussion.

    As is, there are 2-3 very competent CF with MLB experience at the position that should be out there early on. I would feel satisfied if Senzel were a late May call up.

  13. Stock

    This roster crunch is exactly why I have been all for a trade with Cleveland for Kluber. Send Scooter, Kemp (+ Cash), Roark and Trammell (and one or two other prospects if necessary) to Cleveland for Kluber or Bauer.

    Then Senzel can play everyday at 2B. Schebler, Puig and Winker can play everyday in the OF.

  14. Phil

    There are so many more factors than Senzel’s service time and defense; the glut of outfielders, the roster/bench, what to do with Kemp, whether other teams have interest in Reds OFer’s. This decision is weeks away, yet every other day it is the topic here for the exact same debate.

  15. MikeinSoCal

    Do we really want Senzel diving for balls and crashing into walls? 2B is a much better option. Obviously a trade is the only way to make the pieces of the puzzle fit. Right now it has to be Schebler, Winker, Puig.

  16. sixpack2

    It is a Business and a small market team can not and should not go on emotions. He goes down until a trade or injury clears a place for him, but a least two weeks. He will not use any money as the extra year is in arbitration. I see a lot of arguments based on feelings and again I do not think that plays with adults. You do your best regardless as pouting or anger only hurts yourself.

  17. Stock

    Another reason to keep Connor Joe on the roster to open the year. If someone get hurt the first week and Connor Joe is in LA the Reds can bring up a RP and say that was their intention all along to go with 13 RP. Connor Joe just changed their thinking. After 2 weeks you can work out a trade for Connor Joe and send him down and bring Senzel up.

  18. doofus

    Nick Senzel will have more reps in CF in Cincy than in L’ville if he starts on opening day. Is this not the root of the argument, providing him with more CF reps so he can become a better CFer?

  19. MBZ

    Unless the Reds make some trades, ie Kemp or Gennett, the only way Senzel should be up is as a utility man. Senzel could play 2B, 3B, and CF. 2 positions he is very used to, and one he seeming has the ability for.

    Kemp/Puig/Winker 141 games
    Suarez, Peraza, Gennett, Votto 141 games
    Senzel 105 games
    Iglesias 21 games
    Dietrich 21 games

    I don’t know but I think with the way this roster is made up, this is the best way to get all the guys plenty of playing time, with an appropriate amount of rest.