Defense matters.

I think we can agree on the premise. It doesn’t feel as nice as offense. We can see the impact of a batter going 3-5 pretty directly. When we watch Billy Hamilton take away a hit to lead off an inning, we don’t know how that hit would have changed the rest of the frame. But, it matters.

The Reds have all kinds of proven or promising position players and not enough spots for them. Second base has become the main culprit. With Scooter Gennett’s emergence and the promising Nick Senzel and Dilson Herrera both appearing ready for prime time to varying degrees, the Reds have a lot of second basemen. That doesn’t count Shed Long who is making some noise in AA.

Reds writers everywhere have suggested strategies for solving this issue, but it’s not an easy one. The team could stand pat and try to find room for everyone. They could trade someone to address other organizational needs.

Well, it appears Gennett isn’t going anywhere, at least by the deadline. The Reds might even extend his contract beyond next season. Many people seem giddy about a lineup that features both Gennett and Senzel, assuming the Reds don’t trade their top 5 prospect this offseason. And that lineup looks awfully good.

But, defense matters.

I often see fans suggest the Reds move either Gennett or Senzel to the outfield; that plan has plenty of risks.

Gennett was a really bad defender the last few years at second base. This season, he was awful in April, looking like he might be one of the worst defenders in all of baseball. But, he has rebounded nicely, posting an average UZR that has boosted his overall value.

He’s probably a below average defender, but he’s not as bad as the narrative. However, Senzel would almost assuredly be an upgrade at second base with the glove. His athleticism and strong arm would allow him to make plays that Gennett can’t and strengthening the defense up the middle makes a lot of sense. But that means moving Gennett to the outfield.

Gennett has played fewer than 100 innings in the outfield for his entire career and has dealt with shoulder issues this season. He doesn’t run particularly well. While Gennett the second basemen may flirt with average the next few years, Gennett the outfielder has disaster written all over it.

Imagine Gennett and Jesse Winker in the same outfield. The defensive metrics are probably too harsh on Winker, but an outfield that sports both players could have the worst corner defense in baseball. Even with Billy Hamilton patrolling centerfield, the Reds would put a lot of pressure on their young rotation to keep the ball out of the air. Oh, and Scott Schebler has made a pretty good argument (120 wRC+) for playing when he is healthy.

The Reds have talked about getting Senzel some time in the outfield, but that has never happened in his professional career. Again, the athleticism plays, but because the Reds have refrained from putting him at a corner spot in the minor leagues, we have no idea how that would look.

Senzel has little to prove in AAA with the bat. The Reds could ask him to learn a new position in the offseason and Spring Training, but they give him very little time to adjust before throwing him to the wolves in the big leagues.

Could an outfield of Winker, Schebler, and Senzel be good enough defensively? Maybe. That’s a big question mark because the Reds haven’t planned for Senzel to ever play the outfield.

I don’t see a good solution if they keep everyone. Maybe Senzel plays leftfield most days and spells Suarez or Gennett when they need a breather. Neither of those guys takes many days off when healthy.

The Reds could bite the bullet and play Gennett in leftfield, hoping they outslug everyone and that the infield defense atones for the defensive sins of the outfield. That’s certainly possible.

Regardless, this possibility is something the Reds should have been preparing for before now. They should not have counted on Gennett returning to career norms after breaking out last season. Even if only in the deep recesses of their minds, they needed to think through what they would do if both players were on the roster in 2019.

Maybe, they did, but we don’t have much evidence of it. It’s quite possible that Bob Castellini has dictated that Gennett will stay, tying the front offices’ hands. Even so, the Reds need a plan for getting their best position prospect since Jay Bruce on the field for all of 2019. That plan isn’t clear right now.

If the Reds do keep both Gennett and Senzel, the potential lineup looks amazing. But, the runs they gain by adding one more electric bat could be given right back when the team takes the field.

That’s concerning. Defense matters, and I hope the Reds can find a solution that doesn’t leave them too vulnerable. It’s possible; it’s just not that obvious at the moment.

86 Responses

  1. VottoMatic125

    As much as I love the guy, they must trade Gennett now before he normalizes back to a .275-.280 hitter.

    • VaRedsFan

      People and writers have been calling for him to normalize for 1.5 years now.

      • vottomatic125

        Ummm didn’t hit like .240 in the second half last year?

      • vottomatic125

        Sorry it was .248 in August only. He had a great September. Regardless, even more reason to trade him. It shows teams that 2017 and 2018 are not anomalies.

    • Dave Roemerman

      Different swing. Different mechanics. Different batted ball profile. Diffferent hitter…

      I’ve heard him called the new Daniel Murphy. While I do worry about him being a 30-plus 2B (huge decline expected), I don’t worry about regression.

  2. Hotto4Votto

    Yes. This is what I’ve been saying for a while now. Gennett does not fit well with the Reds and the pieces they have at the moment. Gennett’s options defensively on the field are LF and 2B. Senzel would be an improvement at 2B and the Reds 2nd best young hitter, Winker, is best suited for LF. Winker, even as someone who won’t be confused with a defensive stalwart, is probably a better corner OF’er than Gennett will be. The bat plays, but the defensive doesn’t fit.

    I do think there is some merit to putting Senzel in RF because I believe the athleticism and arm will play there and we should have CF options ready by 2020. I just worry about a defensive OF of Winker, Schebler, and Senzel being pretty porous in larger ballparks, but that’s why you carry a guy like Ervin who can fill in well at all three OF spots.

  3. Bill

    I wish we knew what was wrong with Gennett’s shoulder. If he needs surgery he could miss a significant amount of time. Which means his trade value is significantly reduced and he could miss part of next season as well, potentially delaying the question of who plays 2B. Something like a labrum tear is a 6 month rehab. Herrera missed more than an entire season with shoulder problems. That also may make his price tag a little more friendly to the Reds, but at the same time doesn’t help the situation of where does Senzel play. Of course it could also be something that just needs some rest this winter and he will be fine

    • VaRedsFan

      The same thing can be said for Senzel’s vertigo. I believe it more of an unknown than Scooter’s shoulder.

      • Bill

        We know Senzel has vertigo and will probably lose a month whenever it resurfaces. We don’t know what is wrong with Gennett, so yes it is an unknown. He could be fine or he could miss an entire season. It hopefully is not an unknown to the Reds, but it is to all of us, unless you have some insider knowledge on his shoulder

    • Jack

      I’m with you on the shoulder problem. It’s hard to believe no team is interested in him in a trade. He either has a bum shoulder that needs more than rest or the Reds are asking way to much or the Reds have no desire in trading him. You have to trade somebody to get somebody.

      • Colorado Red

        Problem may be that Bob C, says I love him.
        And the FO cannot trade him

  4. msanmoore

    I still fall into the category that says Scooter is/will be who his profile says he is/will be and that will markedly decline far too soon. I love seeing him play and his enthusiasm is undeniable.

    But he isn’t the future, even if the current fan base thinks that “lovability” trumps performance. Management needs to avoid the trap of keeping players beyond their window of maximum value. I know that’s probably a pipe dream for me and those of the same mindset, but I want to see a winning team for multiple seasons. We have to act like we’re really in a tough division where our opponents are in the business of building winning teams.

    And to underline the point about defense … might I remind everyone about a fading liner that one Angel Pagan snagged to hammer the final nail in our coffin on the last playoff run attempt?

    • roger garrett

      I agree 100% especially about being in a tough division.We are so far behind right now to all the teams in our division and losing ground every day during this rebuild as we try to decide if we cut bait today or fish or both or neither.

      • Dave Roemerman

        LOL! That last line has probably been said in a few meetings of our GM-by-committe this year. Love it!

    • KDJ

      With Scooter it is not “lovability” trumping performance. The guy is one of the top hitters in the league in most categories. He is performing. Your statement reminds me more of Arroyo’s last year with the Reds. That is not the case here. The question is who will perform over the next three or so years. While I am posting, a team cannot be continually trading best players for prospects who may or may not turn out to be contributors four years down the road. What concerns me about the Reds is that we seem to be headed for a team that each year is a mix of a few peak players and too many “needs development” players. That just won’t be enough to compete for playoffs. We have hitters now, and I think they will be better over the next couple years. We need pitching for the next couple years. If we can’t buy, then any trade needs to be for an MLB proven pitcher.

      • Mike Mooney

        You ask the right question: “who will perform over the next three or so years?” But then you argue Scotter is performing now, which, while correct, doesn’t answer your question. Cozart and Bruce were performing well in 2016 but look at the drop-off in performance in just 2 years:

        Compare OPS:
        Pre ASG 2016, Bruce was 875 and Cozart was 798
        Pre ASG 2018, Bruce was 613 and Cozart was 658

        Certainly, injuries play a role but that’s one of the issues with players in their 30s. Jay is 31, Cozart is 32, and Scotter is 28 but will be their age in about 3 years. How will Scooter perform over the next 3 years?

  5. Jack

    Didn’t Duvall have no real experience in the outfield when Reds put him out there? Senzel might do well out there but I would rather see him at 2nd. Honestly this is all a mute point until after the trading deadline.

    • da bear

      Senzel probably can play better in the outfield than Schwarber, the Cubs had no problem converting a catcher into the outfield to find a place for his bat in the lineup.

      • Daytonian

        @DA BEAR: Schwarber wasn’t exactly a master of the catcher’s position. And playing Left n Wrigley does not require the ability to cover the expanse of space at GABP. Still, I have not doubt the Senzel is better than Schwarber in the field.

  6. Streamer88

    This is the real life scenario that teams face annually, literally every team, every year, for which stats cannot really help.

    To answer this you would need to run two real life universes in parallel, for approximately 3 years (this is when DRS and UZR data really shrink their SD intervals into relevance) with Scooter in LF and Senzel at 2B as one, the other flipped. And then use total DEF of both scenarios at both positions to see which one did better.

    Of course you only get to do real life once, so you have to rely on your people and their “eyes” to tell you what to do.

    I currently vote Senzel to the OF (only because I think he’d become good enough to also play RF, thus more versatility and value), though that’s my decision ATM watching Scooter underhand balls to 1B.

    • Nick Carrington

      I think this is where I’m at (Senzel to RF or LF) if the Reds keep everyone, and I’m sure Senzel would be fine, but I’m not excited about it. He would provide more value defensively as an infielder. However, I just don’t see a Gennett/Winker outfield working.

  7. Moses

    Senzel to CF! Once upon a time, there was a young Reds’ infielder who moved to CF and it all turned out rather well defensively.

    • Ghettotrout1

      I agree with Moses. If we had Choo playing CF I can guarantee Senzel would be better than that, and if his bat is as advertised he will be one of the best hitting CF’s in the game.

  8. seat101

    If the Reds keep her Scooterthey will compound the mistake by trading Peraza in the off-season.


  9. James H.

    I do not like this narrative to keep Gennett. Love his bat, his enthusiasm, and his feel-good story, but he’s not a fit. The future is Senzel (2019), Herrera (2018), India (2020), Trammel (2019), Siri (2020), Winker (2018), etc. These are the players of the now and the future, not Gennett. Trade him already. Should have taken the 1st offer on Harvey LAST WEEK when he was at his most valuable, now he’s junk after giving up 4-homers in one game. Don’t risk the same w/Gennett’s defense scaring away suitors.

    • eric3287

      This is what I always come back to as well. An OF of Schebler in RF, CFer in CF, Winker in LF is better than Winker in RF, Schebler in CF, Scooter in LF. An IF of Votto, Senzel, Peraza, Suarez is better than an IF of Votto, Gennett, Senzel, Suarez (or Suarez back at SS, Senzel at 3B).

      I think the trade him/keep him argument comes down to when you expect the Reds to compete. I think the Reds can win 75-80 games next year regardless of whether they keep Scooter or trade him provided they sign some free agents at positions of need (mainly starting pitcher, potentially CF/SS). I think the people in the keep Scooter camp think this team is the June/July 88 win pace team and not the April/May historically awful pace team. If you think the roster as constructed can win 85-90 games, then sure roll the dice with Scooter next year. Sign a veteran starting pitcher. Let Senzel be a super sub or even trade him for a true number 1 and see what happens in 2019-2020.

      I think the Reds as constructed aren’t an 85 win team. I don’t think running the gang back again in 2019 is going to get us anything but another losing season and, worse, another lost season during the rebuild. I don’t want Scooter traded because I think he’s bad or is going to be a sub-replacement player or anything. I want him traded because I think the Reds legitimately have the players and prospects to be really really good from like 2020-2025. I want the Reds front office to focus on subtracting pieces from a major league roster that will likely lose 90 games for the 4th straight year to supplement what is looking to be a very good core in the next couple of years.

      • Ben

        If you need a reference when you apply to be GM, I got you. You’ve laid out good moves for both scenarios, and I think you’ve ID’d the scenario we’re in. Well done.

      • lwblogger2

        Unfortunately, while I’d like to be in the “we’ll be ready to compete next year and should go for it” camp, I am in the same camp as you. When the rebuild started, I was hoping 2018 would be a year where the Reds would start looking like a .500 team or so, with an outside chance to be competitive if all went well. After 2017, I started thinking that 2019 may be a .500 team or so, with an outside chance to be competitive if everything went well. The early season struggles made me wonder if that was woefully optimistic but I still think that’s about where they are. So, that means 2020+ is going to likely be your real window for being a team with a decent shot at the postseason. I could make arguments for keeping Scooter as I think he could still be a good hitter into 2022-2223. The issue, at least to me, is that he may not be even a marginal that long. Maybe he’s still a fair defender into 2020 but I expect him to go from fair to woeful pretty quickly past that. The wildcard in any argument to keep him is going to be the chances of the NL adopting the DH.

        Having said all that, although Scooter is set for a raise in arbitration, there is no reason the Reds have to trade him this year or even this off-season if they don’t like the offers they are getting. They could hang onto him until they are sure Senzel is ready to go and they are sure that they aren’t making a playoff run next year. In other words, they could move him at next year’s deadline. Now, they wouldn’t get the return they’d likely get now but with Gennet’s current shoulder questions, maybe the difference in return wouldn’t be quite as high as most of us may think. I mean his value may be, quite simply, not so good right now because the buying team may be worried that with his shoulder, he’s effectively a rental.

    • greenmtred

      You really believe that teams needing starting pitching would look at that one bad game and conclude that Harvey is junk? Scooter’s defense is not a new story, either, nor is his bad shoulder. For that matter, what exactly was the offer for Harvey last week?

      • lwblogger2

        I love your optimism but whatever the Reds can get for Harvey, they should probably take it. I think it unlikely that the Reds will be able to sign him “on the cheap” rather he’s still on the roster or not. I also believe that while all pitcher contracts represent a significant injury risk, Matt Harvey represents a HUGE injury risk. The Reds shouldn’t take that kind of gamble. I agree that I don’t think his value has tanked based on that crappy start. Of course, I don’t think he had much value to begin with. The Reds will likely get salary relief (the remaining $2-million or so he’s owed) and a very marginal prospect.

        Also, to those who may quibble with my $2-million figure, please remember that the Reds sent along money to off-set the salary difference between Harvey and Mesoraco. That is not the same as “The Reds are paying Mesoraco’s salary and the Mets are paying Harvey’s salary.” That money has already moved. The Reds do save money if they can trade Harvey, assuming they don’t need to move any of that cash for a better return. Honestly, for the Reds I think the $2-million may be more valuable than the upgrade in a prospect it could buy them.

  10. Ghettotrout1

    I think defense is continually over rated. Given that the current atmosphere a player strikes out, walks or hits a home run about 1/3 of the time. I would like to see how this trend continues and if it does and everyone continues to talk about launch angle and getting the ball in the air I’m not sure Scooter really hurts you at 2nd as much as people want to believe. I would be fine with trading Scooter as long as we are getting a solid return in prospects. I just don’t know how much teams are really willing to offer.

    • greenmtred

      But what happens the other 2/3 of the time? Lots of homers are being hit, yes, but that’s all the more reason to catch the ball so that there aren’t somany guys on base when the ball sails over the fence.

  11. RedsFaninPitt

    Speaking of trading Gennett, I am always interested in what others (outside of Redsland) think about players that the Reds might trade. Below are some links from MLBtraderumors that propose various trades:

    If I were in charge, I would say ‘yes’ to all of the ‘offthebenchbaseball’ trades. But, I would say ‘no’ to Iglesias/Hughes trade proposed by ‘outfieldflyrule’. I think these are some pretty fair assessments for these players values – although I think the Astros may consider the Iglesias trade in ‘offthebenchbaseball’ to be too rich for the Redlegs.

  12. docproctor

    Scooter won’t pass another team’s physical, so he won’t be traded by the deadline. He may end up on the DL and perhaps even get some shoulder surgery. He’s still under team control next year so there’s time to decide how best to use him. If he comes back healthy and hitting next season (hope so), then we might have this same discussion a year from now.

  13. bouwills

    I just don’t understand the narrative of Senzel in CF. For what? One year? Does anyone see Senzel playing center when Friedl, Siri, & Trammel arrive in the next year to two years? What about after that with Fairchild, Gordon, Sugilio, & Siani arrive? If Senzel is healthy, you put him in his best spot & leave him there. With India I can understand trying to see if he can play ML ss. It’s worth the extra time & effort even if Peraza keeps improving. In any event, the most important move the Reds have to make is to acquire more young starting pitching. Each & every player (& prospect) in the organization should be available if enough starting pitching talent is gained.

    • Ghettotrout1

      Bouwills – you have a good point. I hadn’t thought about all those other CF possiblities. I guess I would try to trade Scooter over the winter though because I feel like position players are easier to move over the off season. I do love Scooter though I just feel like we have too many position players and not enough pitchers.

    • Klugo

      Chances are most of those kids won’t make it to the big show. The ones that do, chances are they won’t be good enough to serve on a contending team. Senzel is good enough. Maybe a Trammell. Maybe maybe Siri. after that the chances are really really slim.

      • lwblogger2

        Id’ add Friedl to that list. I actually like him better than Siri.

  14. Bill j

    It’s like talking to the wall but we like to talk. Scooter, Duvall & Hamilton should have been traded last off season, but no they wait until they regress or are injured. We have high hopes for those in the minors but we know not all be work out. Let’s just hope some do to make the Reds great again.

  15. Indy Red Man

    Let Scooter get healthy and then see how it looks? The offense went from 14th in runs in mlb last year to 8th so far this season and Scooter, Suarez, and WInker have been a big part of that! I don’t know why so many are in a hurry to move him along? They’re not getting a top flight pitcher for him?

    I look at Scooter like an underdog story….Julian Edelman type might be an NFL equivalent. He’s a very good player but doesn’t fit the 6’3 4.4 215 lb prototype! Teams aren’t looking for 5’8 power hitters either? I just look at the Pirates series or the AS game. HRs are king in todays game. I’m not giving away guys hitting .300+ with 25 bombs in the middle infield!

  16. Chris Miller

    Put Senzel at SS. Everyone says how athletic he is, and that he has a very good arm. Put him at SS. Our current SS is nothing more than a light hitting average at best fielding SS. Sure, his average has shot up to .290+ of late, but the hits he’s coming up with are ridiculously lucky, in that they are hit about 30mph, and don’t leave the infield.

    • Indy Red Man

      Not to mention Peraza has 8 steals since June 1st despite having 56 hits and 14 walks? I put some of that on Riggleman loving the bunt and hating hit-n-runs, but cmon? He has no power so steals are a way to compensate for that, but you can’t steal if you don’t run? 4 steals a month doesn’t cut the mustard?

      Suarez can play SS. Senzel can play SS. What so called experts say they can’t? Are they the same guys that said we needed Pennington/Goose on the bench to start the year while Blandino and Herrera rode the bus in the minors? They don’t know @##^…that’s why the Reds are last every year!

      • greenmtred

        I’m pretty sure that Barry Larkin doubted that he could play short. Maybe Barry’s wrong. Of course, maybe we are.

      • Chris Miller

        Did Barry think that Peraza can play SS? Peraza is a BELOW average defender at SS.

      • lwblogger2

        Ok, I’m not a fan of Peraza’s game but have you really, really watched him play SS this year? By my eyes, I see a guy who has been more comfortable at SS than he ever was at 2B. I see a guy who started out as clearly below average and inconsistent but has steadily improved. He’s improved enough that by my eyes, I see a guy who while still inconsistent, plays a generally solid SS. I also look at his age, work ethic, and tools and see a guy who could potentially play better than average defense at SS.

        What makes you think Senzel will be an adequate defender at SS on an everyday basis? The Reds don’t really think he will be and this is one area where I would tend to trust them on that assessment. They have seen him WAY more than any of us have. Then there is the fact that Senzel played mostly 3B in NCAA, only sliding over to SS to cover it when needed. His NCAA team had a better defensive SS. I liked what I saw of Senzel at SS in spring training but I saw so little of him there that there is no way I could make the argument that the Reds are wrong and Senzel could play a fair-to-average defensive SS in the Majors.

    • Bob Purkey

      You obviously didn’t see the numbers posted during the Reds game yesterday. Peraza’s line drive rate was something like 4 or 5 in the league! Senzel can’t play SS.

      • Indy Red Man

        60 mph line drives? 3 hoppers that the pitcher bobbles? Peraza will be filming infomercials at 1am on Latin TV…..The Bloopmaster 3000! It dribbles, bloops, and bleeds it way on to a mlb roster!

        Seriously…he makes contact and that gives you a chance. I’d put him right around the middle of the pack of 30 shortstops with a chance to get better. However, Senzel has to play somewhere. I’m sure as hell not keeping Peraza and Billy while sending Scooter packing. Go ahead and make my day Reds…get rid of me and quit wasting 180 days of my life!

      • Chris Miller

        Actually Bob, I did see those numbers. And like Chris and Thom, I was pretty much shaking my head. If you will recall, those numbers were so shocking that Thom asked Chris how those numbers are figured. I will throw this back to you, in the same nature you threw at me. YOU OBVIOUSLY aren’t watching Peraza hit much, if you believe he’s a line-drive machine.

  17. another bob from nc

    I’d like to think the Reds’ brain trust has a plan for resolving the Gennett/Senzel situation. They know more about baseball than I do but I don’t have much confidence they have a real plan.

    • eric3287

      I generally assume the Reds have no plan either, but lately I’m changing my tune. I think the Reds may have too many plans. Too many cooks spoil the soup and all that. From the outside, it seems like Dick Williams may be the most inclined towards forward thinking. Walt Jocketty is still inexplicably involved in decision making and I think he’s just Bob’s right hand man. Bob can launder his ideas through Walt and pretend a “baseball man” made the call. I don’t know about Nick Krall, but he’s probably the go between who has to ultimately implement the 3 different plans he’s been given. That’s not even to touch on Jim Riggelman who gets to ultimately play with the pieces given to him.

      The Homer Bailey Experience is Exhibit A in this debacle. They’re moving him to the bullpen. Then they’re not ready to commit to him in the bullpen. Then he’s injured. Then he’ll rehab as a starter. Then he’ll rehab out of the bullpen for 1 game on a full 5 day’s rest, but then he’ll rehab as a starter again on another full 5 day’s rest and join the rotation after 2 more starts. Then he’s in the rotation and Sal is moved to the bullpen. Then Sal’s back in the rotation but it’s a 6 man rotation for the next week. I mean seriously, what in the hell is that?

      • Ghettotrout1

        bahahahaha Exhibit A is truly a hilarious exhibit. I mean I think you are correct what the hell is that.

        What about Exhibit B….. Winker is the odd man out in the OF and then the next night he is starting and then its announced that he is not the odd man out LOL.

      • lwblogger2

        Perhaps you are giving the Reds the benefit of the doubt, which I would agree is often called for. They do this stuff all day, every day after all. In the above examples though, I really do think there was a lot of confusion in the ranks and it’s that sort of stuff that makes me wonder who’s running the show and how the organization makes decisions.

  18. Scott C

    I have never bought into the “move Gennett to the outfield” theory. He has no arm and is slow. Winker would look like a defensive stalwart compared to Gennett. I don’t mind the idea of Senzel going to RF, but he has never played OF and won’t getting any games there this year. I agree with you Nick, Senzel brings more value as a Infielder. I don’t mind the idea Suarez going to RF, I think his bat will play there and 2017 may have been an outlier defensive year for him. But then again his is not the fleetest of runners. Then there is the whole idea of what happens to Schebler? That’s a pretty good bat and while he probably will never be in consideration for a gold glove he plays a pretty passable RF. You could move him to left but then where does Winker, who may be our best hitter, go?
    The best baseball and financial decision is to trade Gennett. I like that he plays hard but at what his price tag is going to be playing hard is not going to cut it in 2021.

    • big5ed

      Schebler is the most under-rated Red by far. His contract may actually might bring more in a trade than that of any other regular, other than Suarez or maybe Winker.

      Any team paying attention would be interested in Schebler.

  19. Phil

    Neither Gennet or Senzel is a catcher and neither is going to supplant Votto at first. Suarez has been a top-10 third-baseman since the beginning of last season so you probably don’t want to move him, although you could possibly argue for him to move back to shortstop. Winker’s bat has been too good to take out of the lineup and he’s limited defensively to left. Schebler has been hitting well and probably should play right but maybe can play center. Peraza has been improving and maybe should stay at short but has some positional flexibility.

    In my opinion, that leaves the following options:

    Option 1: Scooter stays at second; Senzel plays short (or third with Suarez moving to short); Peraza becomes utility bench piece

    Option 2: Scooter stays at second; Senzel plays center or right field with Schebler at the other spot. Hamilton is either traded or becomes spot starter, defensive sub and pinch runner

    Option 3: Scooter is traded (hopefully for starting pitching or an upgrade at center); Senzel starts at second

    I’m for trading Scooter. Not because Senzel will immediately replace his production, although he might. But because I think Senzel + the money saved and re-invested elsewhere + the trade return would likely out produce Scooter.

    • Nick Carrington

      In the article, I tried to avoid the debate about whether they should trade Scooter or not, but I knew it would come up in the comments. Great point about the money saved factor. Whatever side you are on, that should be something you consider.

      • Indy Red Man

        We went thru a tough one in Indianapolis with Luck > Peyton Manning. Luck was inevitable so its not apples to apples with Scooter’s situation, but my question has always been this. Are we rooting for people or uniforms? I chose to root for people! Scooter is extremely easy to root for! The scrappy kind of guy that has a filthy uniform by the 3rd inning!

      • Rich H

        I feel like everyone vastly underrates the value of the cash saved by moving Gennett. I think it’s reasonable to assume there’s no way he takes less than 4 years at roughly $10mil per on an extension. That is roughly what a good middle rotation FA starter would sign for, looking at the deals signed by Lance Lynn, Gio Gonzalez, etc. If you tell me I have to choose between one of those guys and Nick Senzel plus a prospect or two, or Scooter Gennett and Nick Senzel (one of whom is playing out of position) I’m taking the first package without even a second of thought. Especially considering how that move effects the rest of the outfield, and trying not to let Dilson Herrera walk for nothing. Trade Scooter for the first decent offer received.

      • Still a Red

        I’mm not sure you save much money. Yes Gennett is up for arbitration and Senzel would cost rookie $$, but the difference isn’t so great and, if traded, you may end up with a more expensive contract of the person(s) traded for. The best argument for trading Gennett is: you make room for Senzel (hopefully with little or no loss in offense) and you get (hopefully) a solid (don’t need an ace) young starting pitcher. If Senzel hadn’t gotten hurt, you could have brought him up, see how he did, and if promising, trade Gennett in the off-season. With Senzel hurt, it gets trickier. And then there is the ? of Herrera.

  20. Jason Linden

    When discussing defensive metrics, it is not a good idea to discuss partial seasons unless that’s the only data you have to work with. The error bars on those numbers are huge.

    Fielding metrics are not regarded as reliable until you have three seasons of data. The last three seasons of Scooter have him as very bad. Asserting that he is now possibly an average 2B is a bad idea. This year may be serving as his regression to the mean, but the idea that an aging second baseman who has never been good might suddenly be average because of a few months of UZR is a bad one.

    Winker has not quite one season of data and also looks very bad defensively. But we should expect some regression to the mean for him until the data proves us wrong.

    • Nick Carrington

      I specifically said Gennett was probably below average but maybe not as bad as the last two years indicated. You restated what I said like your statement differed.

      I also said Winker isn’t as bad as his partial season data suggests. I didn’t used “regression” to the mean, but isn’t it implied in what I wrote?

      • Old-school

        Nice content Nick and timely article. I always enjoy your contributions and thoughtful writing.

      • Nick Carrington

        Old-School, thank you. That’s very kind. A lot of great writers and commenters around here. Thankful to be part of the Redleg Nation community.

  21. Ryan

    Why do big league clubs not trade top prospects that are blocked at the major league level? I’d love to see the Reds trade Senzel for another clubs top OF or SP prospect. Gennet has done more than enough to silence the critics clamoring for his decline, in my opinion. Counting on a prospect to produce at the big league level is riskier than extending Scooter.

    • Bill

      The Indians just traded their top prospect who was blocked. It happens, but usually it is because a contender needs something immediately to improve the team.

      A top 10 prospect in all of MLB probably has a good chance of success. Betting that Senzel will hit better than Gennett is a risk. A long term extension with Scooter is also a risk. One is just significantly more expensive. What we don’t know is if this rumored extension is three years or six years. Is it $10 million a year or 25. What is wrong with his shoulder? All of these questions should factor into the Reds decision on extending him or trading him. I think the shoulder injury may rule out a trade this year.

      • Sabr Chris

        Any extension of a player with poor plate discipline, a bum shoulder, and a defensive liability into their 30’s is a bad idea.

  22. big5ed

    You have to read the Statcast sprint-speed figures with some care. It is defined as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window” on individual base-running plays, on plays in which the player is reasonably deemed to be hustling.

    It therefore measures a runner’s top speed. It does not attempt to measure how long it takes the runner to get up to that top speed, or how he corners bases, or how long he can sustain the top speed. In other words, it does not measure quickness. My guess – only a guess but not an uneducated one – is that Scooter gets up to his top speed pretty quickly, as compared to much bigger guys like Winker or Duvall. Maybe I am wrong.

    The “quickness” factor would seem to translate to playing outfield, where much of the trick is to get a good jump, especially in the corners. So, I think Gennett may be able to play a decent left field, with adequate range.

    Who knows about the extent of his shoulder injury. You wouldn’t think that they would keep running him out there if they were worried about the long-term with it. He may just need some rest and then some light rehab on it in the off-season.

    • Bill

      The injury may be something that isn’t going to cause any more damage by playing. I tore my labrum and still lifted weights and did MMA, it just caused me a lot of pain. It is just something you eventually have to take care of. I don’t know what he did but maybe an off season surgery or rehab plan and he will be ready next year

    • Rich H

      Wouldn’t you think quickness would show better in the infield? There’s a lot more time to hit your top end speed in the outfield than at second base.

      • big5ed

        Well, my point was that Gennett’s purported slowness alone should not prevent him from being an effective outfielder, if they would prefer Senzel at second. Unless you’re Billy Hamilton in a big centerfield, you never truly get to top speed anytime at any position, so a good first few steps are crucial.

        The Reds’ “problem,” if you want to call it that, is that Gennett has turned out to be much better offensively than anybody had imagined. Having a few extra good hitters is not a bad thing, even if it creates some head-scratching about where to play them all.

  23. Shchi Cossack

    “Defense matters.” No one disagrees, but the question goes to how much and at what cost.

    Outside catcher, the most critical defensive position is SS and Jose Peraza has been anointed as the SS for the future as a 24 year old with 318 games, 1480 innings at SS and 721 innings at 2B, under his belt. For the 2018 season, Peraza has a 2.9 DEF rating and -1.2 UZR/150 rating, 18th and 16th respectively among all 23 qualified SS in MLB. That’s decidedly on the low spectrum of average or even below average. For the 2018 season, Peraza has a 98 wRC+, but for June and July, Peraza has a 118 and 176 wRC+ respectively. His defense will not make him valuable at the most important defensive position on the diamond, but his offense might make him serviceable if his recent uptrend continues.

    Behind SS, 2B, 3B & CF rank equally important.

    For the 2018 season, Gennett has produced a 1.1 DEF rating and 0.1 UZR/150, 12th for both measures among all 20 qualified 2B in MLB. That’s on the low side of average. For the 2018 season, Gennett has a 133 wRC+. That ranks 2nd among all 22 qualified 2B in MLB, trailing only Jose Altuve. Gennett’s 3.2 fWAR ranks 5th among all 22 qualified 2B in MLB for total value as a starting 2B. Gennett’s defense at 2B is serviceable, his offense is good and his total value is above average. That plays and it plays at 2B.

    For the 2018 season, Suarez has produced a -4.1 DEF rating and -9.1 UZR/150, 19th and 18th respectively among all 21 qualified 3B in MLB. Those are bad. For the 2018 season, Suarez’ 152 wRC+ ranks 4th among all 21 qualified 3B in MLB. Suarez’ 3.0 fWAR ranks 7th among all 21 qualified 3B in MLB for total value as a starting 3B. Suarez defense at 3B is probably not serviceable at a prime defensive position, his offense is good and his total value is above average. Suarez’ defense probably plays better at a less important defensive position and his offense plays at any position.

    For the 2018 season, Hamilton has produced a 6.9 DEF rating and 9.8 UZR/150, 3rd for both among all 19 qualified CF. That’s good. For the 2018 season, Hamilton’s 68 wRC+ ranks 24th among all 26 qualified CF in MLB. Hamilton’s 1.1 fWAR ranks 19th among all 26 qualified CF in MLB. Hamilton’s defense in CF plays for any team, his offense is inadequate at any position and his total value as a starting CF is below average at best.

    For the 2018 season, Schebler has produced a 4.8 UZR/150 in limited playing opportunities in CF. Extrapolate over a full season, that would rank 6th among all 19 qualified CF in MLB. For additional reference, Schebler has produced an 8.7 UZR/150 during 2017 in limited playing opportunities. Schebler is a better CF than a LF or RF, and his defense in CF plays at least average, if not above average. For the 2018 season, Schebler has produced a 120 wRC+ which would rank 6th among all 26 qualified CF in MLB. Schebler’s defense plays at least adequately in CF and his offense plays well above average in CF.

    Votto plays 1B. Unless Gennett is traded, he plays 2B. Peraza plays SS until a better option becomes available. Senzel will probably play better defense at 3B than Suarez, so Senzel plays 3B. Winker’s defense is made for LF where defensive importance is minimized and his offense plays. Schebler plays CF until a better option becomes available. Suarez shifts to RF where his offense plays and his defense will provide more value than anywhere in the IF.

    If Gennett is traded, Dilson Herrera plays 2B unless a better option becomes available.

    • big5ed

      Yeah, Suarez has been a defensive disappointment this year, but I generally agree with Jason Linden’s point that defensive metrics come with a glaring small-sample-size alert.

      I could actually see Suarez moving to left field, although he is neither fast nor quick, which would open third base for Senzel. But that raises questions for Winker/Schebler, not to mention leaving the 2B issue open.

      These guys aren’t Mel Ott or Ted Williams, but they all have good bats, so it is a good problem to have.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Suarez has almost 3 seasons and 3338 innings playing 3B with a -0.9 UZR/150. He also has a year and a half and 1478 innings playing SS with a -8.8 UZR/150.

        His 2017 season that caught everyone’s attention (the Old Cossack included) is the outlier.

        Suarez’ arm plays up in RF more than LF. Shebler’s defense plays up in CF rather than RF.

      • greenmtred

        2017 certainly is the outlier, but I’m not certain that it didn’t represent Suarez getting comfortable at a position he is well-suited to play. If nothing else, it showed that he is actually capable of playing an excellent 3rd base, since he was not making those plays with smoke and mirrors. His problems this year look like concentration issues–eye off the ball, throwing before he has it securely in his hand, and so on. If he could play right field, it would help with the infield log-jam, certainly, but a voice in my head reminds me that Senzel hasn’t played an inning in MLB. We’re assuming good fielding–probably a safe assumption, since that skill translates well from the minors–but many of us are suggesting that his hitting production will replace Scooter’s current production: A tall order and by no means a sure thing.

  24. Siri's SidePiece

    I can see both sides of the coin with regards to trading Scooter or not. I am ok with whatever the end result is as long as we don’t sign him to a 6-8 year deal or we don’t trade him for a bucket of balls and a pack of 87′ Topps baseball cards.. Anything in between, I’m good with.

    My biggest concern is with the thought of going all in on a 3 or 4 for 1 deal, trading away our top prospects for a so called ace. It’s taken a while for our farm system to get to where it is and I’m completely against emptying 30% of our Top 10 guys for anyone.. I remember a proposed deal not too long ago that was Votto, Cueto, and Homer going the other way for Joe Blanton or Erik Bedard. Thank ya Baby Jesus for whoever pulled the plug on that. There were MANY then who were upset that deal didnt go through.

    It’s been a long time since we were a consistent good team. There’s been so much losing and I too want to see the other side.. Lots of bad decisions have been made that have extended the rebuild. Let’s not make another.. Id much prefer to sit back and see what we have coming from the farm and see how they pan out.. Optimism is not one of my strong points, but I believe we are going to be pleasantly surprised with what we have coming in the next 1-3 years.. And not just our top heavy guys like Senzel, Trammel, and Greene.. It’s a good time to be a Cincinnati Reds fan. The light is glimmering in the distance and is about to be upon us. Please stay the path and endure a bit longer. The reward is going to be worth the trek if we don’t cash in now..

    Good Day Friends

  25. Old-school

    This conversation continues until the GM winter meetings at least. The Reds will gladly hold on to the contracts of Scooter and Hamilton and Duvall at the trade deadline. They will watch the progress of Senzel and the pitchers.

    The Reds FO can’t afford another Blandino injury or elbow tightness to a core pitcher in a lost season -especially after they traded someone who they then suddenly need again in 2019. Unless the Astros get irrational over Iglesias… Quiet week on Jocketty’s flip phone in Florida.

  26. JoshG

    what would you guys be willing to give up for Chris Archer?

  27. jim t

    Tough situation for the reds. A hometown player on a very nice run who wants to stay a red. Unfortunately he has to be moved. Senzel has to play 2b unless he is included in a package to obtain a front of the rotation starter. Scooters value is hurt by the fact he only has one year of team control after this year. He will get more then 10 mil next year after arb. His age is working against him, he is limited defensively, he will be costly, he has a shoulder injury and the reds have Senzel and Herrera who are cheap, have years of control and both are talented. Their time is now.

    Scooter must be moved and it makes sense that because of his fielding limitations he be sent to the American league where he can DH with a occasional start in the field. Really don’t see his value netting the reds much in return.

    If we truly are rebuilding we must move on from Scooter and play Senzel or Herrera. Winker goes to LF and Duvall and Scooter are traded for whatever you can get for them. We can not continue to stock pile talent and never play them. Next year Senzel plays 2B and Billy Hamilton is in CF until Siri or Trammel is ready to take over for him. Peraza is our SS unless India subplants him in a few years.

    If I am in the reds front office I am using all my resources to find me some starting pitching. It is are most glaring weakness. Trade Scoter and Duvall and the starting 8 log jam will have been solved. Scooter is not a everyday outfielder and trying to fit him there will kill us defensively.

  28. jim t

    I could actually be talked into keeping Duvall as a 4th outfielder and the back up 1st. Votto will be needing a occasional day off as he gets older and Duvall can get a few starts at 1st and LF. He also can be a good defensive replacement for Winker. It is imperative that we break the log jam of position players by trading Scooter. We are getting a good read on Peraza this year by letting him play. Next year Winker is the everyday LF with Senzel at 2b. The following year it is Siri or Trammel replacing Billy Hamilton. Time to crap or get off the pot.

  29. Jeffery Stroupe

    The Reds have 3 #9 hitters in their batting order. As long as Duval and Billy are on the squad you can forget it. I think the next winning team is going to be with players that are now in the Minors. Marty made a good point last night about how the Cardinals rookie pitchers are MLB ready when they come up. That fountain of youth guy and Gomber showed a lot.

    • greenmtred

      The Reds are scoring enough runs to win, and they have been winning now for over a month. The piece(s) they need to compete next year is a strong rotation. More good hitters would be nice, but they still wouldn’t win without a good rotation.

  30. DEN

    What this team needs right now is quality major league talented pitching. Something say like the Mets have in a couple of pitchers who are young and can produce on this level. What would bring greater return…someone like Scooter and Duvall or someone like Senzel and Green? This idea of “building for the future” needs to stop. We need to recognize today’s fan base. They don’t care about tomorrow it is all about today. IF the Reds could add a “Ace” type starter and another quality starter there is no question they can/could compete for a playoff spot and that is what you are looking for. So lets see what Senzel and Green can get us and play for 2019 not 2020 or further down the road.