If you are on social media or listen to sports talk radio you’ve absolutely heard someone talk about moving Nick Senzel to shortstop this year to make room for other outfielders and get more bats in the lineup. Unless something drastically changes, that isn’t going to be happening any time soon.

First, there is the “what have they done” evidence. Two years ago Nick Senzel went into the offseason with the idea that he could play shortstop, and he spent the entire offseason working on the spot. When spring training began they gave it a look. And then the regular season began and he went to Triple-A Louisville. He started 43 games in the field that season before he was injured in June and missed the rest of the year. Of those 43 games he played for the Bats after spending all offseason and spring training trying shortstop, he played in one game at shortstop in Triple-A. The rest of the games came at second base and third base.

Their actions told you what they believed with regards to whether or not they believed he could handle the position. He didn’t play shortstop in the minor leagues. He played second base, where he had played in the past. And he played third base, where he had played in the past and was also a position blocked by Eugenio Suarez, who three weeks before the 2018 season began signed a seven year contract. Third base was blocked at the big league level, yet the Reds still played Senzel there in the minor leagues and didn’t play him at shortstop.

That didn’t stop the speculation again this offseason, though. At least not from fans. And we’ve even heard some analysts bring it up – though none who cover the Reds full time. With the Reds being renewed in their chase for yet another outfielder over the last few days as the Nicholas Castellanos rumors continue to swirl, and a signing leaving Cincinnati with a good problem of perhaps having too many good options int he outfield, the “move Nick Senzel to shortstop” crowd is back at it.

But according to Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams, it’s not likely. And that was what he said less than two weeks ago. 700 WLW sports talk host Lance McAlister had Williams on his show and he brought up moving Nick Senzel to shortstop. Here is what Williams responded with:

I think Nick’s the kind of guy that like Shogo (Akiyama), like a lot of these other players we have, (Mike) Moustakas, they’ll do what the team asks of them. In the short term the reason you would be reluctant to ask Nick to consider a move to shortstop is the shoulder surgery that he had at the end of the year. The throw from shortstop is probably the most taxing on the field. We would have to see him healthy and get comfortable with his arm action. I don’t have any reason, I don’t want to raise alarm bells, we think it was a fairly minor surgery that went cleanly and we expect him to be back on opening day. But we don’t want to be in a position of trying to rush him and we certainly don’t want to be in a position where we’re putting all of our eggs in the basket where he’s at the most important position on the field that he hasn’t played in a while, while he’s coming off of surgery.

While that certainly should be enough, I can add that I have also talked with people who work in baseball – both for the Reds and for other organizations – who saw Senzel at shortstop in the spring of 2018, and when asked about what they thought, none of them thought he was able to make it work. The sample size of people I spoke with was only a few, but these people are compensated for their opinions on these matters and are trusted by their organizations to be correct on these matters.

Now, is it possible that all of this could change between today and March 26th when the Cincinnati Reds host the St. Louis Cardinals? Yes, it could. But no evidence at all suggests that it will. While there’s a ton of evidence that suggests that it won’t. Every ounce of the speculation is based on “it would be nice if he could”. And it would be nice if he could. That would potentially solve a rather big problem for the Reds. But there’s nothing there to actually suggest it can happen, or will even be attempted in the near future. Expect Nick Senzel to be starting in center field for the Reds. And expect it a lot.

49 Responses

  1. Cincyred15

    Thank you for this… exhausting seeing all of the “projected lineup” posts that pencil in Senzel or Suarez at SS.

    • GreatRedLegsFan

      I actually like the idea of moving Suarez back to SS, Moustakas to 3B and Senzel to 2B!

      • Tv

        I never understood why they moved him to begin with. Even if he’s terrible at defense a guy like that at short as a huge asset most teams can’t dream of having. The reds seem to have this obsession with nobody can play short. I mean has anybody looked around the major leagues lately to see some of the terrible shortstops that are out there

    • VaRedsFan

      Exactly Cincy. It’s ok to talk about the what if’s, but it became exhausting every day

    • Joey

      Doug, how much money would you have if you got a dollar each time some suggested to you that Senzel should play SS? 🙂

  2. Jim t

    Thank you Doug!!! I have gotten so tired of seeing this brought up over and over again. Nick is not a SS. Dan Hoard was even throwing this idea out there on Sunday sports talk yesterday.

    This is not a beer league softball team we are assembling. Defense matters, especially the middle of your defense. It’s counter productive to spend money to acquire offense only to give up more runs defensively. I’d hardly think our pitching staff wants to see ground balls that used to be outs finding their way into the outfield or double plays not turned which as we know are a pitchers best friend. Nothing runs up a pitchers pitch count faster then a misplaying ball or failing to turn a double play. Anything that should be a out needs to be a out. Sacrificing defense for offense is not a good plan. My eye test of the reds defensively is scary.

    Votto average at best
    Moose average at best probably below
    Senzel at SS would be below average
    Suárez average at best
    Winker below average
    Shogo Scouting reports say he is declining defensively.
    Aquino is the chance to be above average.
    Barnhart is maybe a tick above average

    • Tomn

      Okay, I relent on Senzel at SS. Especially given his shoulder surgery and ability to make the throws required. As for the above post – Suarez average at best. Really? Anyway, here’s hoping that the Reds find a way to get and field the best 8 they can behind this very good pitching staff.

      • Jim t

        Suárez played 158 games at 3rd base last year most in the league. He made 17 errors tied for second. He was not in the rankings for turning double plays. Yes average at best.

    • Don

      As long as we’re talking ss, why did we give up on Jose Iglesias when he’s a better ss and he signed for 3m and Galvis is making 5.5m? Hard to knock their decisions after all the moves but that one doesn’t make since.

      • Doug Gray

        They didn’t “give up” on Iglesias. He’s was a free agent.

  3. Jim t

    Exactly!! There is a reason Suárez was moved to 3rd base. He was a liability at SS defensively. Senzel does not have the range and frankly his health issues scare the heck out of me. If we can sign Nick C I use Senzel to acquire a SS that can do both hit and field.

  4. Mark Moore

    Thanks for this – I know it has to be a bit tiring with all the opinions saying we should do it and just roll the dice. I agree, Nick goes to CF with the only exception being that he’s suiting up for another team after a trade.

  5. Bred

    Senzel at SS is less likely to happen than me hitting the Powerball this Wednesday.

  6. Rick

    So if he can’t play SS, with the glut on the OF, do you now look to trade again?

    • Bill

      I understand the question here. He could play 2nd, LF or DH in AL. We’re assuming he can hit, but haven’t seen it yet (.256 last year).

  7. RedsFan11

    Uhoh CTR saying Reds have a deal with Nicholas

  8. RojoBenjy

    Now that Castellanos is in the fold, will we see Nick Senzel go bye-bye for Lindor or Seager?

    • RojoBenjy

      Senzel’s Dad may be happy about that, since he is sore at the Reds for service time games.

      • Colt Holt

        Senzel hardly qualifies as service time. Had minimal triple a experience and was learning cf on the fly. He was up better part of a month after the date that mattered. Nothing like Bryant where he was down for what, a week of games, then called up on the cutoff day?

    • JB

      Lol with Senzels injury history you think he is the main piece these teams will be looking for in dealing Lindor and Seager? I doubt he gets traded. If he was on another team would you trade your best player (Lindor) for him? Hard pass. I would start out with The top prospects and Winker and go from there.

  9. GhostRunner

    Nicholas is gonna rake at GABP.

  10. gusnwally

    I think Rojo hit it on the head. We cannot possibly play all these OF’s. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    • RojoBenjy

      I’ll be sad to see Senzi go, though. The team needs on base skills and moxie like his—however, as was stated above—the migraine/vertigo (health) issues are worrisome. Especially if it can net Lindor, would be worth it to part with him.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Lindor is the only player I would trade Senzel for. Not Seager. And I don’t think the Indians are anxious to trade Lindor, or else it would have already happened.

        But you add Lindor to this team … OMG.

      • Jim t

        Tom the reason it may not have happened is the reds may have been reluctant to include Senzel who was reported as the player Cleveland liked very much until Shogo and either Nick C or Ozuna were in the book. Now with a CF and the corners settled for the foreseeable future building a package around Senzel is doable. As in most things timing is everything.

      • greenmtred

        Adding Lindor wouldn’t take place in a vacuum. Senzel alone–with one injury-shortened season behind him and coming off surgery–won’t be nearly enough. Would just adding some top guys from the farm system do it? I expect it would require other players from the major league roster, as well, so gaining the strength (for one year) at shortstop would possibly create weakness somewhere else.

  11. Hotto4Votto

    Man signing Castellanos has me pumped! Kudos to the FO for being patient and striking when the iron is hot. Interested in seeing the details but this combined with Moose and Shogo will make the Reds offense go-go.

  12. Tom Mitsoff

    Some article or post I read over the weekend had Castellanos ranked among the top 30 hitters in baseball over the past two years. You can’t do a whole lot better than that to #getthehitting.

  13. Steve Schoenbaechler

    First, I will say, I don’t believe it would be fair to Nick to move him again.

    Second, I believe it would wreck a trade commodity.

    But, for those who say Nick couldn’t play SS, I say that’s garbage. First, we were even considering moving him to 2nd? Then, he must have showed some ability there.

    Then, what about the move to CF? Our last 2 CF’s have been regular IF’s. We thought for both initially, “No way.” And, they both have proven us wrong.

    So, why couldn’t a career IF who just got through playing CF be able to move to SS? Hey, just like when he first went to CF, when many people were saying, “It’s not going to work”, Nick made it work after some time.

    Give him the time to make SS work, I believe he could make it work.

    The only question I would have is the arm/shoulder strength. But, I definitely believe he could field it.

    • Jim t

      Steve after all the spending they have done to this point to make this team a contender no way am I banking on a guy who is coming off surgery and has never played the position at this level to play SS. We need to be looking to fill that hole outside the organization and in a hurry. We have a chance to be relevant for the first time in awhile. Finish the job and let’s bring Playoff baseball back to Cincinnati.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Easier said than done. Besides the shoulder surgery, which I directly acknowledged, Senzel may be our best bet at SS.

  14. Jim t

    Nice signing by the Reds. Offense is definitely improved. Build a package around our excess of outfield talent to land a SS and I like our chances in the central. Heck I like our chances now. Does Senzel and another piece land us Lindor? Could the fact that Senzel is coming back from surgery be what may be holding up a deal?

  15. AllTheHype

    It makes sense to trade Senzel, even if for prospects. His value to other teams is greater than it is in Cincy, where his best two positions (at which he would be a plus defender) are blocked. He is an average defender in CF at best, in his first season there but would be a plus defender at organizations that can play him at 3B or 2B.

    San Diego would be a great fit imo, and perhaps willing to part with some of their top prospects. If SD were to include Patino and Campusano for Senzel, sign me up yesterday. Perhaps that is too strong a return but I’d want Patino at least to start that conversation.

    Lastly, sign Holt to platoon at SS and let’s get ready for ST.

  16. JB

    The last time I seen a game in Cincinnati was in 89 against the Expos. I just got out of the Air Force in Texas and made the stop on the way to New York. Would love to get back there this year. Is there a hotel within walking distance of the Park?

  17. Sliotar

    “Expect Nick Senzel to be starting in center field for the Reds. And expect it a lot.”

    I like LilSenzii’s style of play… a lot. But, 2020 has developed, IMO, into the Royals “throw the kitchen sink at it” run of 2014 and 2015.

    If he can be dealt for a better SS, and really put the Reds into the upper echelon of contenders …. do it.

    No use worrying about what he will be in 2022 or 2023, when the window is wide open in 2020.

    The Cubs are going to stand pat to reset their luxury tax status …and the Cardinals are transitioning OFs and running Carpenter’s contract down.

    2020 is as good as it will get for the Reds, vs. the division. Load up accordingly.

    • Bill

      I agree…and also I believe that the FO has demonstrated an ability to position the Reds forcsuccess into the future. With pickups they are making, changes in coaching philosophy, improved draft selections, and financial support for the right moves fans have a lot to look forward to this year and for years to come

    • Michael E

      The other thing, is if Senzel has another disappointing year (injuries, play due to part time role, etc) his value will fall greatly and he’ll only be a leading piece of a bigger package with other top 7 prospects to get any kind of upgrade. If they don’t see a way for Senzel to get 450+PAs (assuming healthy) they need to move him for value back…even if AA or A+ prospects back that are high upside and would slide into our top 4 or top 6 prospects.

  18. RojoBenjy

    Doug, you wrote, “ Expect Nick Senzel to be starting in center field for the Reds. And expect it a lot.”

    Has your opinion changed in light of the Castellanos signing?

  19. Michael E

    As far as Senzel, lets say he is odd-man out on OF playing time and the Reds decide to make a trade. The options are limitless. It does NOT have to be for a current position upgrade (SS, C, etc). It could be, sure, but it could be Senzel and a piece or two for another clubs best prospect or two. In other words, the Reds look at the possible depth chart in two or three years and determine getting a stud or couple of good prospects at other positions make more sense than wasting Senzel’s value with part-time play.

    We know about injuries (Senzel, Winker, Gennett and others) and the chances that only 4 OFs get 200+ PAs is low. It won’t hurt to keep most everyone THIS year, using up AAA option and dealing with any remaining glut next year or even this year’s trade deadline.

  20. Tom Reeves

    I’ve definitely hoped he could for a long time but I think you’re assessment is correct.

    I really hope India is working his tail off to try and play SS. That’s his best, fastest path to the show if he can handle it. Maybe he can’t and that’s a position where hard work might not overcome the a talent deficiency. There are other positions where a good athlete that can hit can work their tail off to learn the position. That’s not SS though.

    Also, I’m not super worried with Galvis as SS. Statcast has him on Outs Above Replacement as an elite defender. On this offense and with these pitchers, that’s quite valuable. I’d, of course, feel better if the Reds also signed super sub Brock Holt to back up Galvis (and everyone else including David Bell).

  21. Rocky

    I don’t think it’s a great idea if Senzel plays outfield because he seems to always have some medical problem going on. I remember he had dizziness, shoulder surgeries, etc. I think they should probably trade him.