Hamilton, Duvall, Schebler, Winker…four names to occupy three spots in the Reds’ outfield. At the end of the day it’s a good problem to have, but the Reds’ front office will have to make some decisions in the near future regarding what they want their outfield of the future to look like. Although it’s a good problem to have, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy problem to figure out.
The most obvious answer to the Reds’ outfield shuffle is to trade either Adam Duvall or Scott Schebler. Schebler and Duvall are pretty similar players with similar skill sets. Both players are relatively young and aren’t eligible to be free agents until 2022, both hit for above average power, and both are pretty good defensively.
If I had to pick one player to keep though, it would be Scott Schebler. Schebler is younger (26 compared to Duvall who is 28), has one more year of team control, has the ability to get on base at a higher clip, and hits for slightly more power than Duvall. It’s not always about whom you’re keeping though; it can also be about who you’re trading. In my opinion, I think Duvall could yield more in a trade based on his name alone. He was a Home Run Derby darling not even a year ago and the Reds’ lone All Star in 2016. People know who Adam Duvall is and that can count for something in a trade. When the dust settles Duvall is probably the better overall player but Schebler has the higher ceiling and has a skill set that better suites the Reds’ lineup with his raw power and on base numbers.
I think trading either Schebler or Duvall is inevitable but then the question becomes WHEN to trade them. Jesse Winker is currently blossoming in Triple A Louisville which puts some pressure on the Reds to get him big league experience. Winker doesn’t have to be an everyday player this year but he needs big league reps. The Reds can either trade Schebler or Duvall at this year’s deadline or hang on to them and make the trio of Duvall, Schebler, and Winker work in left and right field for the remainder of the year.
Unless the Reds receive a legitimate quality offer at this year’s trade deadline I don’t think there’s any shame in keeping Duvall and Schebler through the end of this season and even up until the trade deadline of next season. Duvall and Schebler’s free agent years of 2022 and 2023 gives the Reds time to continue to evaluate their players to ultimately make a decision on who they want to trade. Their remaining team eligibility also gives the Reds flexibility with a trading partner knowing that those players will be under team control for a significant amount of years.
The Reds’ outfield has come a long way over the past couple seasons. The corner outfield spots have evolved and improved (yes, I said improved) from Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd to Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall. Hopefully the Reds can figure out a way to maximize the talent available to them in the outfield and make the right decision when choosing which players to move forward with.