Scott Schebler has spent the entire month of August on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain. He’ll play for Triple-A Louisville the next three nights, with the hope he could be ready for the weekend series in Atlanta.

The next question is: how does manager Bryan Price juggle playing time when Schebler returns?

Schebler struggled in July after putting up pretty good numbers over the first three months of 2017. At this point, he’s hitting .228/.304/.473 with 23 home runs and 45 RBI. It’s reasonable to believe that some of that poor July performance* is due to the shoulder injury. It’s unreasonable to believe that Schebler isn’t going to be a solid big league left right fielder going forward. After all, the guy is just 26 and he’s been a roughly league-average hitter over parts of three seasons. There’s still a bit of upside there, especially since he has light-tower power.

*Schebler was .136/.200/.284 in July, by far his worst of the season. At the end of June, Schebler was hitting .259/.338/.537 overall, with 20 home runs. You can see how much the disastrous July has caused Schebler’s season slash line to drop.

But the Reds have Jesse Winker playing in left right field right now, and many (including yours truly) believe that Winker is the Reds’ left right fielder of the future.

C. Trent addressed this issue yesterday:

When Schebler does return, the Reds outfield mix will be a bit crowded. Corner outfield prospect Jesse Winker figures to remain in the majors and continue receiving regular playing time, and the Reds could elect to see what Patrick Kivlehan could do with more chances as well. The right-handed batting Kivlehan started over the lefty Winker in right Monday with the Chicago Cubs pitching left-hander Jose Quintana.

“It’s that time of year for teams in our position where you start to take a look at some of the other guys in the system,” Price said. “I don’t want to penalize the guys who are here and who have been performing well, but they’re going to get a little bit more periodic time off.”

Winker is ready. No reason for that kid to return to Triple-A. Ever. Kivlehan? Are we kidding here? I mean, I like Kivlehan, and I don’t mind having his bat on the Reds bench at all. But he’s a fifth outfielder. His appearances should be rare, given the fact that the Reds have four other outfielders who need playing time.

The best solution, as far as I can tell, is the same one we’ve been talking about for a while. Take some at-bats from Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton (especially Billy) and spread them around. You can find enough playing time for these four, and all deserve a chance to show what they can do for the last six weeks of the season.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at

Join the conversation! 25 Comments

  1. One of those outfielders (Duvall, Schebler, Winker) has to be traded this offseason. Can’t keep rotating outfielders or either of them will fully develop. Try like hell to trade one and some others for a decent starting pitcher.

  2. Don’t you mean Winker has been playing in right field?

  3. I personally like Billy Hamilton but it is well documented after 4 years what he is offensively.Not sure why when some talk about our outfield going forward they want to have Winker replace Duvall or Schebler.Hamilton is the weak link and along with Peraza who will probably end up at short and Tucker who has to catch we have three guys who have no power and two of them with an obp under 300.In addition Billy I am told will get an increase in salary in the neighborhood of 3mil which puts him around 6 million a year.Surely we aren’t going to bench all that power and play a guy that has none and doesn’t get on base.

    • Your plan makes sense if we ignore the fact that the team spends half of its time (more, probably, in the Reds’ case) playing defense.

      • Your right which means we have to outscore the other teams until our pitching gets fixed or we get lucky and Homer,Disco and Finny return to form next year.I don’t believe in luck and we won’t outscore other teams with those 3 guys playing the majority of the time and don’t forget the pitcher’s spot.Tucker has to play and does get on base.Perazai is 23 and may be able to get his obp up to or at league average.Billy is what the back of his card says he is after 4 years.If Schebler returns and some of his at bats or given to Winker while Billy continues to play every day then you know what the Reds think.

        • The Reds tried that strategy, more or less, during the Adam Dunn era. Those were not winning teams. The current offense is actually pretty good, though there is obviously room for improvement (as there is with every other team’s offense). The offense is decent, the defense is good to excellent, and the pitching is the problem. I haven’t given up hope for some of the young guys, but the Reds may need to augment them with trades/free agents.

      • The one above average catch Billy makes once every 4-5 games doesn’t dismiss the 20 horrible at-bats he gives you in that time span. He’s getting too expensive to keep on the bench in the pinch runner/defensive replacement he should be, so the next logical step is to trade him.

        • Agreed. And it’s not as if these other guys don’t play defense at all. Go with the net positive result that’s also the cheapest solution. The Reds have other more pressing issues to attend to.

        • Billy is 2nd on the team in runs scored, 3rd in hits, at or near the MLB lead in triples and outfield assists and stolen bases. His stats for the past 6 weeks or so (and earlier in the season) were decent. He shouldn’t be batting lead off, certainly, but I’m not convinced that his hitting won’t improve (see Cozart, Zack) and, in the meantime, he provides value in other areas.

          • Maybe Billy’s hitting will improve but I think Cozart’s is a direct result of his altered batting stance. Billy would need to start hitting the ball on the ground more often than he currently does if he is going to be more effective. Maybe he can make the change to do that. I’m not convinced but I never thought Cozart would be hitting like he is for this long either.

          • I agree, Jazzman. BH’s improvement as a hitter is possible, but not certain.

  4. Chad you are right.All 4 guys need to play and Winker needs his share of at bats.With Duval’s diabetes and Billy’s stature both need some time off here and there to stay fresh.Good move if it happens.

  5. Schebler is as streaky as Jay Bruce was, maybe even more so. Schebler’s power is nice, but his overall offense and his overall game are average. He really isn’t a RF but more of a LF. So the Reds are playing him out of position for his bat. A bat that quit hitting. Schebler may be more of an AL type of player that can DH some of the time.
    Winker needs to get at least 20 PA’s a week the rest of the way. Schebler is the one I would try to package up in a blockbuster trade this winter.

    • Did Schebler quit hitting due to his shoulder? I’m just guessing but I would say that’s likely. If healthy I still like a number of things he brings, despite his streakiness which makes all of us groan at times, just as it did with Jay Bruce.

    • I wouldn’t be too upset if Schebler ends up as good as Bruce. Also, trading Schebler now without some sort of bounce back would be selling low on Schebler.

  6. Schebler was also trying to play through an injury which, while noble, wasn’t wise. I’d like to see how he comes back from his injury but he seems like he hammers the ball when he’s feeling good. Even his outs are often crushed. He’s younger than Duvall too. I think we stick with 4 outfielders. Between injuries and age, this will probably work itself out. Hamilton is just such a good CF, I think we suffer through his offense (though Price should absolutely move him down in the order), unless we can somehow package him in a trade to get a good CF who can also hit.

    • It appeared the team was waiting for Duvall or Schebler to fail before they gave Winker a shot.Well they didn’t fail and if Scott doesn’t go on the DL then Winker still wouldn’t be here if you believe his injury had something to do with his slump which I do.Just another failed opportunity by the team to platoon these guys and give equal at bats over a 100 or 120 games.If that had happened we may know who should be the starters or may be we would have found out they all deserve to start so we platoon the 4 guys.This is not a bad thing and if nothing else it allows guys a break here and there.With Duvall having diabetes and Billy being so fragile it would seem like the best thing to do for them and the team.The dollars always play an important part and I seem to remember Billy’s salary next year is almost 3 times what the other guys make together if he indeed gets 6 million.

  7. Doug Gray has over at his site that Amir Garrett will get a 4th option year. Very good news. That will be huge for the Reds and Garrett to further his development. He won’t have to be required to stay on the Red 25-man roster if he makes it. And won’t have to go thru waivers if he has to be sent down to AAA.

    • Big news indeed. Somehow missed it but that’s not surprising. I haven’t had time to do much baseball watching let alone reading and commenting as normal.

  8. I would personally try to share playing time among the 4 outfielders, but the Reds might trade away someone to free up playing time. Contracts will probably play a large role in who stays and goes. Now, whether Reds choose to trade most valuable player or trade away the most expensive player remains to be seen. Winker, Schebler and Duvall are all Pre-Arb, while Billy is paid $2.3mil this year heading into another year of arbitration next year.

    An outfield of Winker, Schebler and Duvall would be cheapest and probably best offensively, but, defensively, losing Hamilton would be a major blow and none of the current OFers are legitimate replacements for Billy in CF.

    Again, I would split playing time between the 4 so that each player got adequate and balanced playing time until things worked themselves out (Maybe a player falters, Schebler becomes better CFer, injury, trade at a later date, etc…). But it will definitely be interesting to see how Reds handle the OF situation this offseason.

    • I don’t really get into defensive metrics because its so hard to define but I don’t think Dexter Fowler is considered to be very good in CF? The Cubs did ok with him. I don’t think Jon Jay is a wiz in CF either. St. Louis has played Grichuk in CF as well. Schebler is athletic enough to do ok there but its his long swing and K/walk ratio that worries me about him? He has the bat speed & power! I’m so back-n-forth on Billy like many Reds fans, but until he shows up in March and weighs 175 then I’m not taking him seriously. The outfield is GABP is so small that it negates a lot of what he brings to the table. He can’t defend walks/hrs

      • I would like them to give Ervin a shot out there as well. Actually before kivlehan. Duvall is the best by far out of all of them. Winker still needs to prove himself but he should play every day. I love Billy but damn he is never going to be an everyday player. He shouldn’t hit against lefties. Where Schebler can hit lefties. Somebody just needs to grab the position and run with it like Duvall did.

      • Yeah, it really comes down to weighing offense vs. defense. I wouldn’t mind Schebler in CF and the more I think about it, the more I like it. This is coming from a guy that loved Choo in CF. On Billy, I do like him as a player, but a lot of times it seems I like Duvall, Winker and Schebler more.

        Let’s see how everybody finishes the year and analyze the 4 over their entire season of work. Immediately, have Schebler fill in for any of the outfielders on their off days (which would be more often to play Schebler and Winker would be off the least in this scenario). If that doesn’t or can’t work, then hope Billy Hamilton has value on trade market and offload the most expensive contract in the outfield while improving the lineup offensively – this trade could happen either this offseason or sometime before next year’s deadline. See what Ervin has as the new 4th OF. This also assumes their is a market for Billy and that someone is willing to pay appropriate price for Billy Hamilton in a trade. The Reds can’t just give Hamilton away.

        Billy Hamilton is probably the weakest link right now, but give everybody some equal playing time and see how things shake out. It keeps them better rested and healthier and then this offseason or next trade deadline, make a trade.

      • Indy: I’m pretty sure that Joe Morgan weighed something like 160. Jazzman says, correctly in my view, that Billy needs to put the ball on the ground more to increase his value as a hitter. As for defense: The outfield gaps are the same in all parks, and the short fences at GABP allow him to play a shallower center, so It isn’t necessarily a slam-dunk that he adds value in a larger park. Not to mention that he plays half of his games in other parks. I’m obviously another irrational Billy fan, mostly because he brings excitement and enthusiasm to the game and I like watching him play, so feel free to temper your enthusiasm for my logic.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at


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