Ian Happ was the 9th overall pick in 2015. The Cubs had Happ play 2B and all three OF positions in his time in the minor leagues. This season, Happ has 355 PA without having more than 36 starts at a single position.

Kris Bryant was the 2nd overall pick in 2013. Bryant made 75 starts at 3B and 32 starts in the OF during the Cubs 2016 championship season.

When is the last time the Reds had a good position player play multiple positions regularly? The Cubs routinely do this. They’ve had their catcher, Wilson Contreras play in the outfield, Javier Baez start at every infield position, and they of course signed the position flexibility wizard, Ben Zobrist.

The Reds meanwhile can’t find a way to get Dilson Herrera at-bats when they are missing two starting outfielders and are 15 games under .500. The Reds lack of roster flexibility handcuffs them when injuries happen, and they will happen.

The Reds have 8 positions players that most would feel happy with getting everyday playing time in 2019: Winker, Schebler, Suarez, Peraza, Gennett, Senzel, Votto, and Barnhart. That is a lineup that would score a lot of runs, and from an offensive standpoint could hold their own in a playoff chase. There are many options to put that lineup on the field; for this exercise we are assuming Winker (LF), Votto (1B), and Barnhart (C) are unmovable from their positions:

Option #1

CF Senzel
RF Schebler
3B Suarez
SS Peraza
2B Gennett

Option #2

CF Peraza
RF Schebler
3B Suarez
SS Senzel
2B Gennett

Option #3

CF Schebler
RF Gennett
3B Suarez
SS Peraza
2B Senzel

Option #4

CF Schebler
RF Senzel
3B Suarez
SS Peraza
2B Gennett

Option #5

CF Peraza
RF Schebler
3B Senzel
SS Suarez
2B Gennett

There are certainly some caveats to this. Gennett should not start vs LHP, so you potentially put Phillip Ervin in CF on those nights (he has a 1.090 OPS through his first 35 AB in the majors vs LHP), and you have a great bat off the bench. Billy Hamilton could have so much value as a late inning pinch-runner and defensive replacement (think back to September 2013). Injuries are going to happen, which is a reason that I believe the Reds shouldn’t move Gennett or Senzel unless offered a major haul. The Reds major focus this off-season has to be acquiring at least one, possibly two good starting pitchers. If they can sure up centerfield internally, that would leave more dollars and prospects to acquire the needed starting pitching. The Reds also look like they have some solid options on the bench with Phillip Ervin, Preston Tucker, Mason Williams, Alex Blandino, and Dilson Herrera. The more flexible those players are position wise, the more playing time they can get. I believe that should be an organizational wide philosophy.

There are so many different creative ways the Reds can get a good lineup on the field. I can already see the wheels turning in your head that the Reds will never go with an outside of the box starting 8. That is where the Reds front-office has to be very careful in who they select to manage the 2019 team. They need a manager that can stick to the script, and wouldn’t bolt from this lineup the first time someone doesn’t make a catch that Billy Hamilton would have.

The time is now to begin looking at the different options. When/if Gennett’s arm is good enough to try RF, it should happen. When Schebler comes back, he should play some CF. The Reds should try Peraza in CF and Suarez at SS. Phillip Ervin should see time in CF. The time has passed for Senzel to get starts at SS, CF, and RF in the minors, and that was a missed opportunity for the Reds. The Reds aren’t out of options to get both Gennett and Senzel in the lineup together in 2019, they just have to be creative.

53 Responses

  1. Dewey Roberts

    Great article, Nick. There are some players who are locked into certain positions by their skill set. But others should be allowed to play other positions. Pete Rose came up as a second baseman and then played RF, CF, LF, 3rd base, and first base. He never played short, catcher, or pitched.,
    The Reds need to get their best bats in the lineup without compromising their defense.

  2. Andrew

    Problem is Billy Hamilton will continue to be seen as your everyday CF by front offi– I mean Castellini. So you have to sit or move one of those other 5 you mention.

  3. CI3J

    To me, it seems like the biggest problem the Reds have faced, both with regards to lineup flexibility and the pitching, is managers who are still trying to win instead of experment with/develop the young players. First we had Price who seemed determined that if a young player couldn’t hack it after 100 ABs, he was banished to the bench. Now we have Riggleman who yanks starting pitchers at the first sign of trouble any time past the 4th inning. How are the young kids going to learn how to pitch under pressure if they are being pulled before they get a chance to try?

    It really just comes down to the manager. The Reds have a lot of interesting pieces, the managers just refuse to use them and see what we’ve got.

  4. msanmoore

    We definitely need to explore options. More and more teams are moving that way (from what I’ve observed) and aside from a few players who are (or should be) locked into specific positions, this makes sense. It makes even more sense with the younger talent like Senzel and Peraza. If they really settle in and excel somewhere, that’s fine. If not, then you keep specific game/situation needs in mind and field your best team.

    Of course, if the ownership remains locked in their stone age mindset, none of this matters.

    • Nick Kirby

      I read somewhere that the Brewers GM said with all of the shifts that positions don’t matter as much anymore. That is why they have two starting third baseman. 3B has to play SS all the time when a LHB is up, and 2B plays SS (or close to it) with certain RHB up. Infielders have to learn at least two position anyway.

      • msanmoore

        Good point – I didn’t even consider the impact of the shift and where the players end up positioning themselves for any given batter.

  5. WVRedlegs

    I like the premise and the idea behind this. But I think you have to put Gennett in the inflexible category at 2B, which further complicates matters. Gennett in RF is just plain comical. Maybe, maybe some LF from time to time.
    Peraza is not a very good CF and is limited to SS and 2B. His defense at his primary position is sketchy with 3-4 brain farts a week in addition to his errors.
    Suarez is the 3B, could probably play 2B without any problems, and a SS in a pinch. Don’t think the beefier Suarez would be very agile at SS and the defense would suffer.
    Schebler is a LF playing in RF, and can cover CF part time. Schebler is a natural LF who’s defense in RF and CF is not very good.
    Senzel is a 3B, can play 2B well, and can backup SS in a pinch. His defense in the OF would suffer since he has never played the OF. OJT in the ML is not the way to go.
    Herrera is a 2B, can play 3B in a pinch and maybe LF in a pinch. Herrera in the OF would be much like watching Yonder Alonso play LF.
    Ervin is a LF, that can play passably in RF and CF. Ervin’s best position is LF, but could probably be passable in a pinch in CF and RF.
    The Reds positional flexibility is very limited, and more often than not, when put in a different position than normal, are not very good in their new spot. Their defense suffers greatly when moved off of their initial position. That is not what happens in Chicago with the Cubs.
    Looks like some redundancy on the Reds roster in LF and at 2B with little flexibility . And the Reds defense goes from bad to worse with these players playing out of position.
    Some turnover this winter would be nice therefore by exporting some inflexible younger players in favor of more flexible players that fit the Reds needs.
    Enough of the trying to put square pegs in round holes. Just get some new round pegs this winter. They have too many round pegs for LF and 2B. Now deal from that depth.

    • Nick Kirby

      I certainly do not think all of the options are rock solid, but they are just that: options. Now is the time to be figuring out if any of those are possible.

    • Brian

      I don’t know if Herrera or Senzel would be so bad transitioning to the outfield. Duvall was a 3rd basemen that became a gold glove quality left fielder. Senzel is much more athletic than Duvall so I think he could at least be above average eventually in right. I like the idea of schebler in CF, Winker in LF, Senzel in RF, and Scooter still at second. I’m more confused why people want to try Scooter in the outfield (older, slower, worse arm etc.) that defense wouldn’t be great but you could hope schebler exceeds Choo defensively in 2013 and just hope to outscore people. Plus you have Billy pinch running/defensive replacement late. Obviously you still need pitching but this alignment has always made the most since to me

      • Nick Kirby

        Brian, I like your comment a lot. This seems to make the most sense. It’s not like if the Reds decide not extend Scooter after next season that Senzel couldn’t move back to 2B. This seems like the best lineup and defense combo. Scooter also shouldn’t play vs LHP, so Senzel can play 2B those days and you put Ervin in RF.

      • Bmblie

        They also have shed long that could fill in 2020 at second. This is why I think the best move is to just keep scooter thru next year and let the contract expire. They aren’t going to get anything for him and they have a bunch of options for 2nd. Just let him be a bridge and “rental” for a 2019 run. Keep the money for other signings (Winker extension) but don’t punt him either.

      • lwblogger2

        I honestly don’t know the answer to that. From the scouting standpoint, scouts seemed to be more high on Senzel’s athleticism and speed than they were on Duvall, but they were different scouts reporting. I’d say there is more to athleticism than speed. Having said that, I was quite surprised with how fast Duvall actually was and with his instincts on getting a good first step on balls hit to LF.

    • lwblogger2

      I should have read your comments before leaving mine further down the thread. Your thoughts on the matter reflect my own thoughts quite closely. I think Ervin would be as good as Schebler in CF and I think he’d be a fine RF as well, given some time. He’s played quite a few games in the minors at all 3 OF positions.

  6. CI3J

    Here’s an interesting stat:

    Of the 66 NL starters with at least 80 IP, Homer Bailey ranks last in ERA (6.33), FIP (5.57) and HR/9 (1.90), third to last in WHIP (1.63), and second to last in WAR (-0.2). The Reds have lost 15 of his 16 starts this season, and are 51-52 in games started by players named Not Homer Bailey.

    • Keith

      So we need some positional flexibility for Homer Bailey, is that what you’re saying? Perhaps the bullpen catcher?

      • CI3J

        No, I’m just speaking to the larger theme that the Reds need to let the kids play. It doesn’t matter where or how, LET THE KIDS PLAY!

      • roger garrett

        Amen but why is it so hard for this front office to do that.I know they have players ego and all that stuff to deal with but I feel most all want to win so can we just say to whomever we are going to see what this guy can do and just do it.

  7. Indy Red Man

    #5 for me, but I’m not benching Ervin for Peraza

    Peraza is 27 for his last 100 with 1 hr and 1 steal. Ervin is 20-56 (.357) since July 1st with 5 doubles, a triple, and 2 hrs. Can Ervin hit over 300-500 atbats? I don’t know, but he drives the ball and he can take a walk.

    For me it would be Ervin, Schebler, Winker left to right in the outfield and Senzel, Suarez, Scooter, and Joey around the horn in the infield. Defense be damned:)

    • WVRedlegs

      Can we get some Benny Hill music to go along with the replays on that defense? Probably the best 8 hitters the Reds could internally field with Tucker added at C. Flip-flop Ervin and Winker and it is probably not a bad defense.

      • Jim Walker

        Need to see Ervin at CF to see how he does there. He looks to me to be a little smoother on his routes and deceptively quick and fast. Guessing he probably has the stronger arm too if he can figure out where to throw it and do so with better accuracy.

      • lwblogger2

        Ervin has some tools. I’ve only seen him play a handful of times in the minors and only twice in L’ville in person but what I saw was better than what he’s shown up here defensively. Doug, Jason and others who’ve seen him play a lot more than me also seem to think he’s a better defender than he’s shown. I think he could play a passable CF; maybe as good as or perhaps even better than Schebler.

    • roger garrett

      I am all for the offense especially when we play at home.Our outfield can play all in because most of the time if it goes over their head its over the wall.Boys that can hit can be taught to be better fielders and sometimes its just positioning or angles to the ball but if you can’t hit well.

  8. Sliotar

    1) Zobrist arrvied as a designated utliity guy. The other 4 Cubs are all less 27 years old, most minimally paid.

    Three of the 5 Reds are 27 or older and already more established at certain positions.

    2) The Cubs can pay to replace an injured out-of-position player, the Reds can’t/won’t.

    We saw in April what the loss of Suarez meant. Can you imagine the uproar if he is hurt on a diving play at SS or turning a double play, as part of a grand shuffle of position guys?

    3) Bryant has played virtually all of his innings in 2018 at 3B, and has suffered injury problems this season. He is at $11M this season, and working towards a free agent payday. His days of moving around might be over.

    The Reds need more talent, period, to get up the win curve.

    Fine to try this, but there are potential hidden costs and it likely adds a win or two to the total. It isn’t the impactful solution this club needs to compete in the NL Central.

    • Mike Adams

      “The Reds need more talent, period, to get up the win curve.”


      I agree. You are right. Correctomundo. Uh-huh. Especially starting pitching.

      • greenmtred

        Yes. Especially starting pitching. We can theorize all we like about the other 8 positions, but starting pitching isn’t an aside, as in “oh, we need starting pitching, too.” With Schebler and Winker and an uninjured Votto they were competitive when they got good pitching.

  9. Bill

    The Cubs approached the rebuild completely different from the Reds. From what I can tell their strategy was trade everyone, draft best bat available, put 8 best bats on the field regardless of defensive capability, sign pitching as needed, and trade away surplus players at deadline to improve playoff rosters. The Reds on the other hand traded away some people (often too late), held onto others, tried to stockpile pitching talent, wanted “near MLB ready prospects, are hesitant to change positions, and hesitant to trade any surplus. This led to a prolonged rebuild for the Reds and the poor results on the pitching development and limited resources in spending have put them in a bad situation. I think recently they have altered the approach and focused on drafting guys like Senzel and India. The trade of Duvall was a start to trade away excess, but the Senzel, Herrera, Gennett situation has been handled poorly and does not seem to have clear resolution.

    I would guess any of Suarez, Herrera, Senzel could play the RF position with a little practice. Senzel could possibly play CF based on the reports on how athletic he is. Schebler while not the best CF can handle it until there is a better player available. Herrera has now played OF and all infield positions at some point in his career and could be the guy to plug in wherever needed.The Reds need to find a way to get the best bats in the lineup.

  10. Old-school

    Interesting and enjoyable read. Assuming health, blandino in the infield and Ervin in the outfield give you roster flexibility, not to mention the occassional Lorenzen hitting.

    The Reds are 9 games behind the 4th place Pirates. Very very difficult to see them passing 3-4 teams in the NL Central to win 90 games and make the playoffs . They are better- but modestly better. Go young and use 2019 to purge what will be $45 million in 2019 contracts to Hamilton/ Gennett/ and Bailey.

    Plant Winker/ Schebler as Corner OF, give Peraza another 155 games to see if can be the long term answer at SS and put Senzel at 2b.
    Sort the pitching more and go all in for 2020.

    • lwblogger2

      I’m a little confused on your last couple paragraphs. You said to use 2019 to purge contracts of Hamilton/Gennett/Bailey. Would that look something like: Hamilton (trade or non-tender if can’t trade), Gennett (trade or non-tender if can’t trade), Bailey (DFA)? In 2019 that would save on the order of $16-$20 million as you’d be avoiding the arb raises for Hamilton and Scooter. The Reds would still be on the hook for the $23-million owed to Bailey plus his $5-million buyout for 2020. I’m not sure I’d want to do that because depth is a good thing and the Reds may wan to try to win games in 2019, but I could see an argument for those moves as I understand them.

      You go on to say plant Winker/Schebler as corner OF but with Hamilton gone, Schebler and Ervin will probably need to handle CF. Is that correct or are you thinking perhaps the Reds should try to sign a CF?

  11. Indy Red Man

    The Reds are 15th in scoring and 25th in era. I think they made it up to 8th in scoring when Winker and Schebler were rolling! Their pitching is always shaky….they’d need to be borderline top 5 in scoring imo to be really competitive. Adding Senzel and subtracting Billy might help get it done?

    As far as flexibility goes….they have the pieces offensively. Herrera, Dixon, Blandino, and Lorenzen. Scooter when fully healthy can play some OF or 3B. Peraza can move around, but I don’t trust Riggleman to figure any of it out. The front office too? If they weren’t ok with all Riggleman’s bunting then they’d tell him to stop it?

    The Cubs move everyone around, but they’re also pretty fundamentally sound defensively and aren’t making stupid baserunning gaffes every other game. These things can be corrected if the pitching ever makes any real improvement?

    • lwblogger2

      I’m not sure what you see in Dixon Indy. He can play multiple positions but he isn’t particularly good at any of them. He has some pop in his stick but he seems over-matched by MLB pitching and even in the minors, the better pitchers seem to get him out. He doesn’t take many walks, strikes out a lot, and swings at a bunch of pitches out of the zone; both at the MiLB and MLB levels. I’m not sure Dixon is an MLB player, even as a bench piece. Maybe he could be similar to what Duvall has been in 2018 but that’s his ceiling and he’d have to improve his defense.

  12. eric3287

    These are fun what-if scenarios to play around with, but the Reds won’t even experiment in the middle of August during a 4th consecutive 90 loss season with two starting OFs on the DL, a top 5 prospect out for the season, an All-Star first baseman who can’t run, and a 2B that can’t throw.

    Preston freaking Tucker, a 28 year old journeyman OF who is basically a poor man’s left handed Adam Duvall is taking starts away from Phil Ervin and Dilson Herrera. I truly cannot stress just how crazy that is. Preston Tucker, an Atlanta Brave until August 1, who then got hit by a pitch in the foot causing him to miss a few days with injury, has 23 PA with the Reds. Dilson Herrera has 33. Preston Tucker is sitting at -.3 WAR in his 23 PA, almost matching Cliff Pennington’s memorable -.4 WAR in 34 PA.

    Joey Votto is basically starting every other day and coming out early every time he does because he is injured; not hurt, but actually injured. Put him on the DL, let him actually heal, let Dixon play 1B for a couple weeks, start Ervin/Williams/Herrera in the OF for at the very least 3 days in a row. Do something for crying out loud. If you aren’t willing to experiment NOW, with all the injury luck they’re having, what makes you think Bob is going to let them experiment on Opening Day when he can pretend the team can still make the playoffs?

    • lwblogger2

      With the 10-day DL, not putting Votto on the DL seems like lunacy to me. You lose him for just over a week and he has the full 10 days to recover from the HBP.

      The only two logical reasons I see for NOT doing that are:
      1 – Votto was injured before the HBP, playing won’t make the injury any worse, and 10 days off isn’t going to be enough time to fix anything.

      2 – There is no pre-existing injury but 10 days off aren’t going to help Votto significantly recover because the injury is more severe than has been reported. Medical staff has determined that playing with the injury won’t further increase recovery time once treated.

  13. big5ed

    Here are the NL Central standings since June 9:

    Cincinnati 30-24
    Chicago 31-25
    Pittsburgh 30-25
    St. Louis 29-28
    Mill Water 28-29

    This team is not as bad as popularly supposed, even with the warts identified above. The team you describe is still too left-handed, with 4 LH starters and Barnhart. I think in the cold light of the winter meetings, the left-handedness will result in their trading Gennett. Or maybe Schebler, who I think would fetch more than Gennett.

    Personally, I don’t think moving positions is that big of a deal. Good baseball players can learn how to play anywhere, although you may not like where Phillip Ervin decides to throw the ball. They all know how to catch fly balls, they all know how to field grounders, and they all pretty much can throw. I would focus on getting the best 12-13 players on the roster, and go over the fundamentals (footwork, cut-offs, etc.), in spring training. It just isn’t that hard to be passable at a new position.

    Joey Votto needs to start 140 games, not 155-162, so they need somebody better than Brandon Dixon as back-up first baseman. Schebler? Winker? Blandino? Bueller? Gennett needs plenty of rest, and to sit against a lot of lefties. I could see Ervin as a semi-regular 4th outfielder, giving both Schebler and Winker some days off against lefties.

    Suarez would be one grim defensive shortstop.

      • David

        And finish at the end of September. Every team has a period of time when they are playing well. We have seen the Reds do that this season, during that period on the calendar. They will stink it up for the rest of the year.

        Playing musical chairs with position players is a fun excercise, but this team is already poor defensively. This could make it worse. Positional flexibility is fine to get young players At Bats, but this is not and has not been the Reds strategy over the years. They do what they do, and are in last place, largely because their pitching stinks. It will continue to stink and the Reds will stay in Last Place. They are a Last Place team. Period. Shuffling players around could get them At Bats and perhaps improve their trade value, but then the front office would have to wake up and find the phone and make a deal. And that’s not going to happen either.

      • eric3287

        I agree completely. The Reds first and foremost need more talent before they worry about anything else. Moving Peraza from SS to CF just seems asinine to me. The guy has a 90 wRC+ on the season, why are we trying to have him switch positions, can’t afford to lose that bat? Come on. The goal should be to replace Peraza with someone better, not shuffle him around just for the hell of it.

      • lwblogger2

        I’d be ok with that 90 wRC+ if he were or if he can be a very good defender at SS or CF. I think it more likely at SS though, so moving him to CF wouldn’t really be an option for me.

      • greenmtred

        A few things changed after the end of March. Too bad we had a bad depression in ’29.

      • lwblogger2

        I love the optimism but a stretch of good ball doesn’t mean this team is or will be a good team. By the end of the season, that winning record since June will be a losing record. All they showed is that they could, given full health and some solid pitching, be competitive. The thing is, full health is always an iffy proposition and although depth has improved, it still isn’t great except for at 2B/3B. You keep suggesting this is a team that is ready to compete in 2019. If they add 2 good starting pitchers and if the young pitchers perform well, and if they stay reasonably healthy than yes, there is a chance they might compete. The odds are fairly long though. I think 2020 may be their better chance but I keep pushing that date back because of VERY slow progress to this point.

    • Indy Red Man

      I kind of like Brandon Dixon. He hasn’t hit, but he was good in the spring and at Lville. His swing seems long though? I think he might be a good Steven Pearce/Jonny Gomes type of RH enforcer vs lefties down the road. They don’t throw as hard. He’s bigger and stronger then Blandino and can play everywhere but SS. He can also run. I think they could really work with a bench of Peraza, Herrera, Dixon, Mason Williams, and Casali.

      If they had any notion of Suarez playing SS down the road then now is the time to try it? They play Senzel at SS for 1-2 games at Lville. Dilson for 1 game in LF. Like Eric said….Preston Tucker is stealing atbats from guys? Cmon?

    • Jim Walker

      They need to get Senzel (and as of now) Ervin in the line up together as regulars to solve the RH/LH problem. The other option is sign or acquire a RH power bat; but, why do that when they look to have two viable options in house.

      • roger garrett

        That’s it in a nutshell.Stock piling players but they are always two or three years away yet here we are in year whatever it is and we know little because so few have been given a chance.Ervin and Herrera should play every day.

      • David

        Well, that’s just crazy talk. What the Reds need to win is more veteran presence. See, it sez that right here in the Reds manual of losing operations.

  14. Reaganspad

    When the Reds needed a LF, probably the easiest position to fill on the planet (Adam Dunn played there) they did not try Mesoraco.

    Talk about a stiff necked organization, we might have gotten a few more all star years out of Devin if the Reds Braintrust (can we really call them that somedays) had done what the Cubs were doing.

    And shoot, it was not a new invention as Yeager and Ferguson used to platoon at catcher and Right Field to keep both bats in the lineup.

    Dilson not playing every day in LF or against LH pitchers at 2nd is the same kind of crime.

    Criminal, Criminal I say…

      • lwblogger2

        He was already hurt when they tried him. That could be why he didn’t work out in LF. They were trying to avoid having to lose him for the season and his hip wouldn’t allow him to catch, so they tried him in LF.

        A healthy Devin Mesoraco, in my humble opinion, probably wouldn’t have been very good. Kyle Schwarber is probably the best comp and Schwarber is a brutal LF. So, while I agree with you that Mesoraco probably wouldn’t have been the answer, simply saying that they tried it and he got hurt isn’t really accurate.

  15. eric3287

    Just for fun, from July 17, 2016 – August 20, 2016:
    Cubs: 23-9
    Reds: 20-11
    Cards: 18-14
    Pirates: 16-13
    Brewers: 13-20

    All of those organizations have remained head and shoulders above the Reds.

    For as much as I love the sentiment in this post, and as much as I would love to see this organization show one iota of creativity more than pitching Brandon Dixon in a blowout, what the Reds really need is more talent.

    The Cubs weren’t going out of their way to play Junior Lake and Emilio Bonifacio and Mike Olt and Arismendy Alcantara in a ton of different positions. They went out and got better. The Reds seem unwilling or unable to take this basic step.

  16. roger garrett

    The best hitters need to be on the field.Gone are the days of low scoring one run games.You have to score to win and in our case and in our park we will have to outslug the other team.Their isn’t a Max or a Clayton anywhere on the planet that would not struggle to keep the ball in the park at GABP.I can live with any of the options but prefer#1

  17. Dave Roemerman

    Good article. I think this highlights, more than anything, the need to complete a really quality managerial search and come away with someone who can creatively get the bats in the lineup. And, with the record-setting K% across the league (gonna be the first year with more whiffs than hits), defense is less important than ever This is especially true in a ballpark where hits with <5% hit probability leave the yard, which has happened at least twice this past week.

  18. lwblogger2

    I frankly don’t care that the Cubs are doing it. These scenarios really don’t work that well for the Reds, especially the ones that feature Scooter in the OF. The Cubs do this as an organization. They start moving people around in the minors. This is not true of every player who has moved around but it is true of most players they have who move around. When they sign someone from outside their organization, they make sure that person can play a few different positions. That positional flexibility is a key part of the Cubs’ identity as an organization.

    For the Reds to do this, it needs to start in the minors. It needs to be part of their identity as an organization. It needs to be part of a “Reds Way” … There are a few guys in your above scenerios to be successful with the position moves as stated but Scooter in the OF, except on very rare occasions should be avoided. He’s a worse OF than WInker, who is listed in LF as non-movable. I feel the same way about Suarez at SS, especially considering he hasn’t played the position with any regularity in a while and he’s gotten bigger since he’s last tried to play SS regularly. At least he’s played SS in the past though so he could probably man it for a few games without killing your defense. It’s just not something I think the Reds would like to do often.

  19. abado

    I’m not sure what the Reds should do in 2019 yet. But this year, as Nick pointed out, it’s crazy that they haven’t found more time for Dilson Herrera and even Phillip Ervin.

    I could not care any less about Mason Williams, except that some guy named Tucker Preston (or is it Preston Tucker) is on the Reds and getting significant playing time. Phillip Ervin was a first round pick, has been with the organization since 2013, and was having perhaps his best season in the minors this year. Play him in RF (or CF when Billy gets a breather) everyday. Mason Williams was acquired this year and hasn’t hit nearly as well as Ervin in AAA or the majors. The best thing he has going for him is a rumor that he was once a top prospect (btw, he was briefly on MLB.com top 100 prospect list in 2013, but quickly fell off). He’s getting more playing time than Ervin.

    Clearly the Reds just don’t value Ervin very highly. Last year, Patrick Kivlehan was getting equal playing time at the end of the year, and now Williams and Tucker are pulling ABs away from him. Ervin won’t be a great player, but he could be a really good 4th outfielder with some pop, on-base skills, and speed. He can cut it in CF even if he’s not a great outfielder. Put some trust in the kid already.

    Dilson Herrera. Maybe his shoulder can’t handle playing in the outfield. In that case, play Scooter in LF. See how he plays out there (neither can be any worse than Winker). If Gennett can play passably, maybe Senzel and Gennett can co-exist in the same lineup next year. And, more urgently, it would get Dilson Herrera more at bats. Why have the Reds not found playing time for a 24 year old that was raking in AAA this year (and has always raked when healthy)? Riggleman made some comment about experimenting with Dilson in LF, but qualified it with balancing trying to win ballgames. It’s the middle of August, the Reds are 14 games back of the wild card, and they’re trying to “win ballgames” in order to prove to the front office that they should spend more money next year. Here’s an idea: focus on what will best help you win ballgames in 2019/2020. And a hint: it’s not Preston Tucker or Mason Williams or Patrick Kivlehan or Phil Gosselin or Cliff Pennington.

    As with the past few years around this time, I’m getting tired of this. SMH.