Lots to unpack here, and we’ll be discussing all the various options over the coming weeks. But, long story short, the Cincinnati Reds reassigned their top prospect, Nick Senzel, to minor league camp today. This wasn’t a surprise, and we can all expect to see Senzel in a Reds uniform at some point over the next couple of months.

The real news is that Senzel — according to Senzel himself — will be playing second base at Louisville. This spring, he has been working out at both third base, which is the position he’s been playing as a professional, and shortstop. (The news that Senzel would be given a shot at the shortstop job caused me to collapse with joy, as you will recall.) Senzel played all three positions — 2B, 3B, SS — in college at the University of Tennessee.

The biggest question I’m hearing is this: why isn’t he playing shortstop at Triple-A??? There are any number of reasons for that. Perhaps the Reds have seen enough to believe he can’t play shortstop on the big league level. That theory would seem to be undercut by manager Bryan Price’s comments today (go read all of Sheldon’s piece on today’s news):

“He showed the ability to move around the diamond,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Talking with [infield coach] Freddie Benavides, he was really excited about the developments he made at short. I think we already think very highly of him as a third baseman.

“He’s got to be ready to play anyplace but first base if we have an injury or setback,” Price said of Senzel.

So again, why not shortstop?

“I just wanted to know where I would play every day in Louisville. I didn’t want to be bouncing around, and they didn’t want me bouncing around, either. I’ll be at second base, and that’s what it is.”

This is not a final decision. With the news that Eugenio Suarez signed a long-term deal with the Reds, Senzel likely won’t be playing much third base for the big league club, barring injury. But if Suarez were to get hurt, Senzel can slide right into that position.

Giving Senzel time at second base gives the Reds even more options, depending upon what happens with the big club, specifically with Jose Peraza and Scooter Gennett. What if Peraza can’t handle the shortstop position on a daily basis for the Reds? What if Scooter is traded? What if either get injured early in the season. Presumably, the Reds are keeping their options open.

This I can tell you, however: very soon, Nick Senzel will be starting for the Cincinnati Reds. At one position or another. I wouldn’t sweat the details just yet.

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.

Join the conversation! 76 Comments

  1. Can’t help but wonder what this means for Shed Long

  2. No surprise on the assignment. Wish Senzel was going to get time at shortstop. Does this make it more likely that Blandino breaks camp with the Reds to platoon / backup for Scooter at 2nd?

    • That is my thinking also. I feel that short stop is the second weakest sposition on this Reds team with center field being the other one. I just don’t see Peraza as a player with a high ceiling the same way that Price evidently does. The only way for the Reds to improve as a ball club is yo strengthen their weakest links. In 2018, the Reds will be a lot weaker at short stop than in 2017. Senzel could turn that around if he was the short stop. But I guess Price cannot see that for the same reasons he still bats Hamilton at leadoff when Winker would be so much better. In other words, he gets stuck in Bakerville.

      • Price doesn’t tell the organization where Senzel plays in the minors. They also haven’t played any games in 2018 so far, so we don’t know where Billy is batting with respect to Winker

    • Blandino could slide over to 3B at AAA, possibly.

    • I think he has to, right? If Blandino starts the year in AAA, they somehow have to find playing time at 2B and 3B for Senzel, Blandino, Herrera and Brandon Dixon, right? And Blake Trahan the SS?

  3. This almost sounds like they plan to trade Gennett and are bound and determined to make Peraza work at Short. Where as I’d prefer to put Peraza on the bench while keeping Gennett at second and putting Senzel at short once he’s comfortable.

    I think Gennett could possibly repeat or even come close to last year’s numbers if he stays in Cincy bcuz GABP is a hitters park. I could be wrong but I just think if he did it once he’s more than capable of doing it again.

    This plan to have Senzel primarily play second in the minors just makes the plan regarding Gennett & Peraza all the more clearer. Crystal clear, in fact. I can’t see anything else tbh. Yes, there’s the added insurance in case of injury but I see the plan also.

  4. Again I’m not convinced we have a log jam in the IF either. To summarize:

    1B: HOFer
    2B: 1 year wonder (essentially, stick with me here)
    3B: All-Star, can play more than 1 spot
    SS: Very unproven very young player
    Blandino: unproven
    Pennington: Has been, now replacement level
    Senzel: elite prospect, unproven

    I don’t see a log jam here. I see 2 good regulars and a bunch of unknowns.

    The Dodgers have log jams, we don’t.

    • Logjam no. Myopia with the manager yes.
      We do not have a log jam of established players in the infield. But I heartily think that the Reds will be better with an infield of Votto, Gennett, Senzel, and Suarez that any other combination. And the reason why is because they do not have a log jam of established players in the infield.

      • 100% agree.

      • Assuming that Senzel can handle SS. I’m not sure he can but it sounds like Freddie Benavides thinks there’s a chance he can. He said he really liked the progress he was making there. Not sure why they won’t have him there as his primary position in AAA. Organizational decision but a bit of a head-scratcher for me.

    • This is a good point, and one that I think is equally applicable to the outfield and the pitching staff but often goes unremarked. The Reds don’t have a logjam anywhere; they have a collection of mediocre-average players all blocking unproven younger players with higher ceilings in the starting lineup, sprinkled with past their “prime” sub-replacement veterans on the bench blocking cheaper younger players and forcing them back into the minor leagues.

      Gosselin, Pennington, and Revere simply should not even be in the discussion when it comes to the 25 man roster. It’s a poor allocation of capitol and an even worse allocation of major league playing time. Dixon, Blandino, and Ervin are all younger and cheaper versions of the veterans that will likely end up taking their spot on the bench. That’s bad for the future of the team, and I think there’s an argument to be made it’s worse for this season as well.

  5. The ‘PLAN’ was for Senzel to play SS until he proven incapable of playing SS effectively. I couldn’t care less about any evaluation by Price regarding a players hitting or fielding ability. I do care about Freddie Benavides’ or Barry Larkin’s opinion regarding Senzel’s ability to play SS. Senzel has done nothing to indicate he will be unable to play SS effectively. Senzel has 2 errors this spring and only 1 of those errors was at SS. His other error was at 3B, his ‘natural’ position. Peraza and Pennington has 3 errors each this spring. Those are the two players the Reds are targeting to play SS this season. All 3 of those players have had virtually the same amount of defensive chances. The IF coaches have glowing reports regarding Senzel’s ability, learning curve and coachability. Senzel simply asked for clarification and consistency in playing a defensive position. A perfectly reasonable request by any top prospect. Now, out of the blue, Senzel is being shifted to 2B.

    Scooter Gennett has had a solid ST, posting an 0.839 OPS against RHP, after posting a stellar 0.874 OPS total and 0.930 OPS against RHP last season. Alex Blandino posted a solid 0.835 OPS last season in the upper minors and a solid 0.908 OPS this spring. Those are the 2 players the Reds are targeting for 2B this season.

    Jose Peraza has had a dismal ST, posting a poor 0.643 OPS, after posting an even poorer 0.622 OPS last season. Cliff Pennington has had a horrible ST, posting a putrid 0.530 OPS, after posting a poor 0.635 OPS last season.

    This is not a baseball decision. This is a political and PR decision. The Reds are protecting Peraza and Pennington at SS by shifting Senzel to 2B rather than risking Senzel forcing their hand if he produces offensively and defensively, playing SS at AAA, while Peraza and Pennington stink up GABP both offensively and defensively. That’s a very likely outcome if Senzel continues to play SS. With only 10 games of playing SS under his belt and playing 2B regularly at AAA, the Reds can simply claim Senzel is not ready or is unable to play SS effectively if Peraza and Pennington stink and the Reds have no other options for SS at the major league level. The Reds traded for Peraza to replace Cozart at SS and by golly, Peraza is going to play SS even if he can’t.

    • “I’m going to fit this square peg in the round hole until it kills me, right after I cut off my nose to spite my face” – Someone in Reds FO after the Senzel news.

    • Peraza was at .310 after today’s game. He has only 1 walk against 7 Ks (unsurprisingly), so I’m not saying it was a great ST, but hardly “dismal.”

      I think it also means 2B and 3B are set, long-term, and were getting a SS next year or this summer .

    • SHCHI, Williams believes in Peraza and that’s that. He’s sticking to his plan/promise(?) to give Peraza every chance to succeed. Even if it means sticking with someone for several years until they finally have a breakout season offensively and/or defensively (if he ever does…which I’m not confident I at all!). Then Williams and all the other Peraza believers will say, “see, we told you!” I believe Peraza will not be a stud or superstar and he’s gonna let Williams down. Peraza supporters will always point to his age right now…bcuz he’s still young he could still improve. Technically that’s right I guess but sometimes the writing’s on the wall already with youngsters. I’m not gonna settle for an average hitter from Peraza when he’s got no power and his defense sucks. Whereas that might be acceptable to some…not me. Senzel should get short as soon as he’s comfortable there. Bottom line! He’s already (probably) a better defender there than Peraza and we just know Senzel’s offense is gonna be better than Peraza’s. It’s a no brainer but let’s hope that they do have enough brains at least, to recognize that Senzel should be playing short.

      • Sandman, I haven’t seen any reports that Senzel is a better fielding shortstop than Peraza. Peraza was considered average to above average in his minor league career, and Senzel was considered marginal for shortstop. I’m hoping Senzel is a solid fielding shortstop – that would be gargantuan for the Reds for the next seven years (or more!), and hope we see reports to this effect soon, but know that pulling such a rabbit out of the hat is rare. If you see (or have seen) such reports, please link them.

        • Thomas, I haven’t seen any reports and I don’t think I’d find hardly any bcuz he’s rarely played SS. I’ve always heard how Peraza’s defense really ain’t all that. Plus, what Shchi said about the errors and how they’ve all had roughly the same amount if chances: Peraza & Pennington=3/Senzel=1. I know it’s just spring training and it’s probably a relatively small sample size but I think with more work Senzel could be a better defensive SS than Peraza. And, of course, Senzel’s offense is gonna be better than Peraza’s. I honestly believe that.

    • I think that it’s possible–likely, even–that the Reds simply want to learn as much about Senzel as possible. They are relying on somewhat unknown and questionable alternatives at both middle infield posiitions, and positional flexibility is desirable. Maybe Peraza exceeds our expectations and Scooter reverts to pre-2017 form. In that case, Senzel’s best spot might be 2nd. Or the reverse could be true. Or maybe Peraza and Scooter are both unable to hack it. I don’t see a clear downside to establishing which positions Senzel can play and which he is best at.

      • I normally agree with you Green, but not here. The Cossack made the best point. You have to plan for the most likely scenario. This being that Peraza will continue to flounder like he has, and that Pennington, as the backup, is most likely worse than Peraza. So groom Senzel at SS so they will have someone to step in and take over. Why 2nd base. Scooter has been nothing but good since his arrival. His worse case is that he should play every game against righties. If Scooter fails, there is a promising Blandino to step in.

        Remember that I said the “most likely scenario.” It doesn’t mean a different, more unlikely scenario might play out. But I believe a team has to plan for the most likely scenario.

        • Peraza was a MUCH better second baseman than SS, so if the plan is to move Scooter wouldnt it be logical that Senzel take over short and Peraza move to 2nd….so why would he be playing second in AAA? I think you’re overstating how “good” Scooter is at 2nd.

    • In a very small sample size, Pennington has had more errors than Senzel at SS. Yes, the reviews for Senzel have been good there but right here, today, Senzel is probably not nearly the defensive SS that Pennington is. I don’t know why the Reds said they won’t have Senzel playing SS at AAA most days, but don’t think it’s to protect Pennington in any way. Pennington is an insurance policy. Maybe it’s to take some pressure of Peraza? I really don’t think it’s as a smokescreen for when Pennington and Peraza stink it up. I think if it comes down to that, you’ll see Senzel playing SS at AAA almost every day and he could be called up pretty quickly if the Reds think he can do it.

    • Good morning, Cossack. while I normally agree with you, I think using Spring stats for much analysis is a bad idea. The biggest thing to remember in this decision is that it can be changed at any time. It is a fluid situation with plenty of variables and plenty of unknowns. We love to reach conclusions, but any conclusion reached is not strong enough to be set in stone, but in sand only.

      • Thomas, no argument from this corner regarding the tenuous nature of ST stats. The only takeaway from Senzel’s ST stats was that there was no takeaway. The stated plan was for Senzel to play SS. The debate was not that Senzel is a better defensive SS than Peraza or Pennington. Errors and fielding % are poor measures of fielding excellence. The debate was that Senzel had not proved himself incapable of playing SS. Yet, when Senzel asked for a consistent position, the Reds trashed their stated plan for Senzel to play SS and moved him to 2B. 2B is a position orf strength at the major league level and within the organization while SS is a postiion of weakness at the major league level and within the organization. The Reds made a decision to fortify a position of strength and leave a position of weakness unfortified for no logical baseball reason, ergo the decision must have been made for non-baseball reasons.

        • I like that: the only takeaway is that there is no takeaway. He didn’t prove that he will bumble the shortstop position.

          As for baseball reasons, perhaps they think it is more likely that they need a second baseman in the next two years more than they need a shortstop – meaning that they like Peraza developing at short and Senzel at second more than they like Senzel at short and Scooter (poor fielder/one year wonder) or Herrera (injured) or Blandino (prospects have dimmed) or Long (won’t be ready/develop). While we each see things on that second baseman list that we like, they may see it differently.

          And we each dream of Senzel handling SS well and giving this team an incredibly potent infield for years to come.

  6. Another perspective for consideration: The front office believes they have more standout talent in the organization at shortstop than at second base. They may believe that within two or three years, Jeter Downs or Jose Garcia will be ready to make more of a difference than Shed Long will be able to make.

    If this is true, you will have Senzel already established at second base, and not have to move him off shortstop to make room for Downs or Garcia. I personally have not seen enough of Senzel at shortstop to have what I consider to be an informed opinion of his range and fielding ability at shortstop.

    In this scenario, Jose Peraza will get the chance to hold down the fort for two or three years at shortstop, and if he blossoms, great! If what we see now is what we will get, then a transition from him to Downs or Garcia would be not a big deal.

    Scooter Gennett should not buy a home in Cincinnati.

    • So Senzel gets denied 3rd Base because of the guy ahead of him (Suarez – not much argument from fans) And you want to deny him a position (SS) because of the people behind him too?

      So the top ranked prospect in our system is being blocked in both directions??? I don’t buy this theory.

      • You are presuming Senzel has adequate or better defensive skills as a major league shortstop. I would submit that while that may be true, there is no evidence of that currently that I am aware of. I saw him make one nice play to his left in a televised spring training game, but that’s all I know.

    • I agree 100%.I want tell you what Scooter is thinking right now,you probably got a pretty good idea from your post.

  7. This looks like this is Dick Williams trying to buy himself some time. About 4 months worth. It gives Peraza 3-4 months to sink or swim at SS. It gives the Reds 3-4 months to find out if Scooters 2017 is sustainable in 2018. It gives the Reds a little time to realize the inevitable, trade Scooter and an OF to clear paths for Winker and Senzel.

    • This may be correct. It appears that Senzel will remain in AAA for much longer than we all have been supposing, not just up to the super 2 cutoff.

      However, I really doubt that Scooter has much value on the trade market and he isn’t a utility player; imo.

    • This is the most logical explanation I’ve seen on this thread.

      • Agreed. And it’s easy to find a justification to change his position at almost any time, as well.

  8. I’m with Cossack. Senzel at 2b makes no sense as a baseball move. Reds need help at ss worse than at 2b. By all reports Senzel has played acceptably at ss, and his bat will likely play well there at mlb level. Suarez to this point hasn’t excelled at bat or with the glove. At least you get the glove with bham.

    • I think (hope?) you pulled a Cincinnati Enquirer name switcheroo, David. Maybe Peraza and not Suarez?

      • I agree with the ol Cossack,they gonna force peraza on us no matter what,have no interest in winning at all this year and they need to prove something with the purge that transpired with all the trades.but folks peraza ain’t never gonna be the answer

        • Peraza is only one year older than Senzel, yet people think Peraza cannot play and Senzel will be able to develop at a position that he has not played professionally. Sure, Senzel is a better overall prospect and much better hitter, but to believe that Peraza won’t develop seems short-sighted. And if Senzel had been rushed to the big leagues at the age of 21 and had to switch between positions and play less than every day, perhaps his hitting and fielding stats might look a lot rougher, but I hope we would not have given up on him already.

      • yep, my bad, and i hadn’t even he’d a cold one when i did that!

  9. This move isn’t about this year. Remember, we’re coming out of a rebuild and not everything is about what we need immediately (mainly consistent pitching).

    I think this means Long, Peraza, and Blandino are depth options, Senzel is at 2B, and our Lorenzo Cain next year is a SS. I’m betting on us grabbing one who hits and fields in a league that has a lot of very good young shortstops, with some teams have a few. Senzel seems a decent option, but why not go get a young stud and have a top 10 guy at every infield spot with, arguably, the top guy at both right side spots? It’s a great time to want a SS (which was bad for Cozart).

    https://www.google.com/amp/ftw.usatoday.com/2016/09/mlb-young-shortstops-best-group-ever-correa-lindor-seager-story-diaz/amp

    Note that Aledmys Diaz is on here (2016 article) and behind Paul DeJong on the field. There are guys to be had and this is a 2019 move.

  10. Hmmm, I am looking at it as he is being prepared for a utility role where he can play any infield position and essentially be an everyday player in such a role. Or, they are preparing for an injury and he will get the call when that happens. They feel good about how he handled the left side so now he will work on the right side in Louisville. I doubt anything is in stone, but he asked for a position so they gave him one. Who is playing everyday SS in Louisville, I wonder?

  11. It means Peraza gets the Billy 5-6 year plan whether he deserves it or not. Meanwhile….Reed gets 1 start per year vs the Cubs. Makes sense!

  12. I reality it will play itself this year….one way or the other. Peraza will need to produce. We’ll see if Senzel can beat up on AAA pitching. Scooter will hit righties…but how well? My main thing is that I just don’t want to see much (or any?) of Pennington or Revere. You can’t rebuild with products that were declared faulty from the manufacturer years ago.

    • I’ve said this before but Revere was respectable in the recent past.. hit for good average to go along with the super speed. Maybe not as fast as Billy but a good hitter. The Reds might just have him in case of injury or trade, they got him cheap I don’t think its a big deal. It might have lit a fire under Ervin, he hasn’t shown anything until this Spring in my opinion. I was wondering why we hadn’t traded him by now tbh. Anyhow, I know it stole some ABs but Ervin has had thousands of ABs at the minor league level and not really done much with them at all, and I don’t think a few more in Spring suddenly makes something click for him… but maybe he has matured regardless. Still I don’t think Revere should be judged so harshly from a few spring ABs his back of card tells a different story.

      • Zero power and doesn’t walk. We have 2 of those already. Ford figured it out with the Pinto. DW should be able to figure it out too.

        • he has batted over .300 3 times in his young career, and .298 another year. last year he was 275. He had a bad outlier in 2016 aside from that a very nice career so far.

      • You’re correct about Ervin’s pro career so far, but Suarez didn’t exact destroy minor league pitching either. He hit .256 in his stint at Lville in 2015. I was clinging to the bomb Ervin hit in Wrigley last year and the 7-17 with 2 walks vs lefties. Perhaps he could be a decent platoon player? We know what Revere is at this point.

        • I like Revere more than Hamilton. Maybe that’s what management is thinking as well. Trade Billy if he gets hot and get some kind of return then play Revere in CF. someone besides Schebler has to play CF when we go to big ballparks, right? If Revere can go back to form from just 2 yrs ago he is a positive WAR player. I think he was positive last year as well. Ervin is still controllable I think they can play the hand without disrupting his development. He has no one to blame but himself for this delay in going PRO.

          • I’m pretty sure Colorado’s GM has more time, money, and resources to study players more then I do, but I swear Billy could help the Rockies! Bat him 9th and make Blackmon a corner OF. Billy would save them 2 runs a homestand by racing in/out in that huge outfield. Not to mention he’d get so many cheap doubles/triples. I think he’s hitting .340 in Coors lifetime or something?

  13. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Senzel has not played 2nd base in the minor leagues extensively. Neither am I aware of any provision in Suarez’s new contract that would prevent the Reds from asking Eugenio to move to ss or 2nd base. Thirdly, Peraza has not failed as a ML ss yet, he just hasn’t been that impressive .. I believe the Reds found out what they wanted to know about Senzel at ss in ST. Now they want to see Nick at 2nd regularly in AAA. I say to Williams, take all the time you need- just get it right.

    • 100 % correct on all counts. Get it right, no final decision has to be made this morning.

    • BO….So what do you think the Reds found out about with Senzel at SS this spring? That he can handle it? If so, why move him off the position, when the Reds are obviously weak there? That he can’t handle it? If there is any evidence of that, i haven’t seen it or read it.

    • Excellent take.

  14. Peraza is by far the best defensive option that the Reds have for shortstop right now. He isn’t Ozzie Smith, but it is clear that “the Reds,” meaning Benavides and Larkin, do not believe that Suarez can effective play short, other than as a stop-gap measure.

    Senzel’s bat is what the Reds should be focused on, which is likely why they are putting the shortstop experiment on the back burner. I think it is a bit much to ask a guy to prepare to be a major league hitter, while at the same time having him learn the toughest defensive position on the field. (I think the outfield, even in center, makes more sense than shortstop, as it is easier to learn and takes advantage of his athleticism.) And for the all the hubbub over Senzel’s bat, he has an OPS in spring training of .633, whereas Peraza is at .723.

  15. First on Friday the announcement of the extension for Eugenio Suarez. All the accolades Dick Williams gushed on about Suarez afterward and the details of the contract, mostly length, had to be of some concern for Senzel and his agent/rep.
    Then this on Monday about Senzel. I would wager that Senzel’s agent/rep sought out a meeting with Dick Williams this past weekend to find out what the long term outlook the Reds have on Senzel. It would appear now that 3B is not an option on the Major League team. Is it at SS, or is it at 2B?
    A position switch and the uncertainty it brings can be unsettling for a player. My guess is that Senzel’s agent/rep asked Williams what the Reds plan is for Senzel and what path was there for Senzel to advance to the Majors on schedule. The Reds plan looks to be 2B now. Senzel’s comment pretty much sums it up and is telling, “I’ll be at 2B and that’s what it is.” Sounds like some disappointment there. It wasn’t “I’ll be at 2B and I look forward to the challenge and playing well there and making it up to the Reds soon.” Nothing like that.
    What this move means can be wide ranging. It affects not one player, but several.
    One is that Scooter will probably be gone by the trade deadline and maybe a little sooner in June or early July. The timing matches up pretty nicely on Senzel’s ETA and Scooter’s estimated departure then. No coincidence. Two, is that Shed Long probably better go buy an outfielders glove and start shagging fly balls in CF during batting practice. Three, for Alex Blandino, an avalanche just covered his path to a starting 2B job with the Reds. He can still be a versatile INF backup at 3B, SS and 2B. But he may be a better player than that. Four, for Brandon Dixon, who seems to be coming into his own, he still can back up the corner INF and OF positions, but at 2B he becomes lower in the pecking order. Five, for Dilson Herrera, it would appear that his goose is now fully cooked. Adios Dilson. Six, for Jose Peraza, he has been thrown a lifeline that will give him additional time to grow into the SS position without Senzel breathing down his neck. Seven, the SS’s that are now at AAA or AA are back in the discussion at that position. Eight, for Billy Hamilton, it gives him more AB’s in the leadoff spot. With Senzel at AAA and Winker on the bench in that OF rotation, there won’t be the dynamic duo to hit in front of Votto. Somebody will have to bat leadoff when Winker doesn’t play. That will be Hamilton. He’ll probably get plenty of leadoff AB’s even when Winker does play.
    This move by the Reds will have ripples that will be far reaching that involve other players’ futures, just not Senzel.
    The INF is getting fine tuned with this move at the ML level. What move will be made next to fine tune the OF? It would be very nice if Dick Williams can get the 2019 roster pretty much set by the trade deadline at the end of July so that they can gain momentum for 2019 in August and September. They don’t have to wait until winter to make moves. A lot can happen between now and August 1.

    • I wondered why Blandino wass not getting more of a shot. I guess his prospect status is wearing off. He is 25 this year. Somewhat average stick, but does get on base quite well. Walk percentage of around 13%.

  16. I always thought SS Marcus Semien from Oakland had a chance to be a pretty good offensive player. He hit 27 HRs in 2016 and Oakland is a terrible hitting park with a ton of foul territory. He’s 27.5 (28 in Nov) so not exactly a young prospect but if he figured out like Cozart to any extent at all then he’d be a solid pickup!

  17. Things this move does:

    1. Allows Jose Peraza to perform at SS and be mentored by Pennington (I think this is a good thing.)

    2. Forces Blandino to either be a mlb utility player in 18′ or play another position at AAA. (I think Blandino is more than a utility player)

    3. What about Shed Long? Does he stay at 2b?

    4. What about Dilson Herrera? Where does he play at AAA? (He is a 2b only it seems.)

    5. What about Scooter Gennett?

    6. Give Senzel comfort in knowing where he is going to work at AAA. (I don’t really get that part, why can’t it be you’ll be splitting time at SS and 2B?)

    Another way to look at it:

    2b depth chart through AA:

    1. Scooter Gennett
    2. Nick Senzel
    3. Alex Blandino?
    4. Shed Long?
    5. Dilson Herrera?

    My opinion is along the lines of the Old Cossack. This is a bad baseball decision. Senzel at SS hitting like he has is 3 war or better likely!

    I will add; I don’t believe his ability to play SS has been determined yet. So why??????

    • And we have our answer from redsminorleagues.com: via reddit ask me anything

      Dick Williams said: Senzel is also a player with the athleticism to play multiple positions. In the short term, I could see him getting more exposure to 2B since we saw him at 3B and SS this spring.

      I could see Nick getting time at 2B just so we know what we have in him there. I could see him playing 3b, SS or 2B in the big leagues. He could probably play OF if we wanted him to as well.

    • Doubting Herrera is ready to go for a while… So, this is the likely Bats’ IF in my opinion. Tom or Doug, who are much more knowledgeable about the Reds’ minor league teams and players may chime in here.

      2B – Senzel
      SS – Vincej
      3B – Blandino
      1B – Peterson/Dixon/Elizalde?

      Maybe when (if?) Hererra comes back we see Senzel play SS regularly?

      Just a guess on my part.

      • Vincej isn’t with the Reds anymore. He was dfa’d and i forgot who picked him up, but he’s no longer with the Reds.

      • Vincej plays for Seattle. The Reds have no SS prospect ready to play at AAA. Calten Daal last played just 40 games at AA in 2016 before missing the entire 2017 season. Blake Trahan played a full season at AA in 2017, but produced a whopping 0.585 OPS.

        • scottya told me too… Thanks Cossack… I somehow missed him being let go.

  18. LH RP Antonio Bastardo has been released by the DBacks. Any interest here. The bullpen has been lit up this spring.

  19. So Nick Senzel will play 2B at AAA. As of today, that leaves Danell Sweeney as the only possible SS option for the Bats, unless the Reds plan on over-promoting a SS in the minor league system just to fill a void at AAA or a SS is pending a cut from the major league camp.

    Darnell Sweeney (1800 innings as MiBL SS)
    OBP/OPS
    .250/.380 (2018 ST)
    .338/.756 (2017 AAA)

    SS CANDIDATES FROM THE MAJOR LEAGUE CAMP

    Cliff Pennington (4600 inngs as MLB SS & 3600 innings as MiBL SS)
    OBP/OPS
    .289/.471 (2018 ST)
    .306/.635 (2017 MLB)

    ALEX BLANDINO (1500 innings as MiBL SS)
    OBP/OPS
    .400/.855 (2018 ST)
    .382/.835 (2017 AA/AAA)

    Phil Gosselin (50 innings as MBL SS & 300 innings as MiBL SS)
    OBP/OPS
    .316/.649 (2018 ST)
    .299/.625 (2017 AAA)

    Only Pennington is a legitimate, extended-play defensive SS. All other SS candidates are fill-in, stop-gap quality defensive SS. One of the SS candidates from the major league camp must fill a utility IF role on the 25-man roster so the Reds have a viable SS to support Peraza. The other two 2 SS candidates will go to AAA unless they have an opt out clause in their contract.

  20. I don’t know if Senzel can play SS. The Reds public assessments were glowing. Especially Benavides who said he looks like a shortstop. It makes no sense to me that he spends 2 months every day learning the hardest position in the game besides catching….and then you tell him let’s go learn 2b again where he hasn’t played in 3-4 years as a prelude to the call-up.

    There are only ~30mlb shortstops and they are some of the greatest players in the world. Many are young Latino superstars from the Dominican/Puerto Rico/venezuela/ Curacao/and now Cuba who play year round since their childhood with money academies supporting them along the way. The others are elite high school kids taken in the top 15 of the first round.

    Most college shortstops get moved off the position or become utility guys( blandino). That makes sense. If they were that good at 18/19 they would have been drafted in the first round. It’s a rare player who can spend 3 years in the SEC or PAC 12 and leapfrog a first round pick or player from a Latino MLB academy. The Reds have invested 2 huge contracts at shortstop with international signings. Even Cozart is now moved off the position.

    The Reds had a chance to move Brandon Phillips to SS in 2006 when they traded Felipe Lopez. It worked out pretty well for BP and the Reds they kept him at 2b.

    Curious timing as well with the arrivall of Farrell in the FO.
    I don’t have a problem with nailing down 1b/2b/3b with big bats and cornerstones of the franchise. I would give Senzel 200 at bats minimum in louisville. Let scooter build trade value.

    • Your 1st paragraph is money. It baffles the mind.

    • Cozart was not moved off the position [SS] (semantics). Cozart was hired for his bat by a team that already had a better defensive SS. Looking back on Cozart’s career, it’s hard to imaging a team spending some serious cash to hire Cozart for his bat and not his glove.

      I know it’s just ST, but the investment looks pretty good so far. Cozart has a slash line of .342/.405/.605/1.010 w/ 4-2B & 2-HR in 42 PA this spring. I don’t know if Cozart would have signed with the Reds even if they had made him a serious offer, but I still think they are going to miss Cozart.

      • usually/always agree with you????
        Andrelton Simmons is arguably the games greatest defensive shortstop. That team chose to sign Cozart at 3b. That doesn’t mean other teams were lining up to sign Cozart as a SS. The SS position is stacked at every team with elite young players drafted high or signed through the International draft.

  21. He just wasn’t hitting this spring. I believe he will start hitting again. He might have been concentrating a lot on learning his 2nd position.

  22. Other team were not lining up for Cozart because of his injury history & age.

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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.

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2018 Reds, 2018 Spring Training, Minors

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