The San Diego Padres are on the search for a third baseman for the 2019 season. Last year they played Wil Myers there, but he’s been shifted to the outfield. One option that the Padres have looked into is acquiring Cincinnati Reds top prospect Nick Senzel, according to Kevin Agee of the San Diego Union Tribune.
The Padres’ preference would be a top young player to grow with the young players they already have. Among the options they have explored are deals for the Cubs’ David Bote, the Yankees’ Miguel Andujar and Reds prospect Nick Senzel.
From the Padres standpoint, of course it makes sense to explore trading for Nick Senzel. He’s one of the best prospects in all of baseball. And almost everyone agrees that third base is his best position where he’s an above-average to plus defender. His bat projects quite well, too. He should hit for average and show some power to go along with some speed on the bases. All of that, of course, is why he’s rated among the top five or ten prospects in all of baseball.
Of course, that’s exactly why the Cincinnati Reds would be very hesitant to trade him. Nick Senzel has everything you want to see out of someone who will be a very good baseball player. And he looks like he’s got it all today, and is ready to put it on display at the Major League level.
But the Reds just find themselves in a situation where they currently aren’t sure where he will play. Third base is locked up by Eugenio Suarez, who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for a long time. While second base, likely the second best position for Senzel is currently played by All-Star Scooter Gennett. That’s led the Reds over the last two offseasons to test out Nick Senzel at shortstop and center field. The shortstop idea didn’t quite work out.
This offseason he’s been working in center out in Goodyear at the spring training complex to try and make the outfield work. Nick Senzel and the Reds seem to be trying to do what they can to get him into the 2019 lineup. There’s even been chatter that he could be used all around the field at multiple spots. With Scooter Gennett becoming a free agent after 2019, it would seem that the plan would be to slide Senzel to second for 2020.
Could the Reds trade Nick Senzel?
All of this, though, does beg the question: What if the Reds did trade Nick Senzel? San Diego has an absolutely loaded farm system. It’s rare that you see prospect for prospect trades happen. And in a one-for-one deal, the Padres don’t stack up because their top prospect isn’t going anywhere. Fernando Tatis Jr. may be the top prospect in baseball, and like Senzel, could be ready to contribute in 2019. And he fills a long-term need for the Padres, too.
When you look at their starting pitching, it’s tough to find a fit there, too. At the Major League level there’s no one that seems close to valuable enough to trade for a Nick Senzel type of prospect. In the minor leagues they do have several quality pitching prospects. But none of them are rated as highly as Senzel is, and most of them aren’t ready to pitch in the Majors this season.
Earlier this offseason the Padres were also interested in Eugenio Suarez. And like Senzel, it makes sense. Suarez is one of the better third basemen in baseball. And he’s got one of the most valuable contracts in baseball, too. The problem is that the Padres and Reds just aren’t a good match up for trades of this caliber. The Reds have what the Padres need. But if the Padres aren’t going to move Fernando Tatis Jr., they don’t have much of what Cincinnati needs, or could use.