Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams joined Lance McAlister on 700 WLW on Monday night. One topic that was discussed was center field. McAlister asked specifically about Jose Peraza potentially playing some center field.
McAlister: Have you considered Jose Peraza getting a look-see in center fielder to answer that opening?
Williams: Yeah, we have considered it. To be honest, right now he’s probably our best shortstop on the team. And you don’t always want to weaken yourself at multiple positions. If we weren’t able to get anything done between now and and opening day to address the outfield, I think we do feel comfortable that we’ve got guys like Puig, who is very athletic who has played center, Schebler – athletic, has played center. Senzel, very athletic – we’re interested to see what he can do out there. And of course Phillip Ervin is a guy who can play center.
And we have a guy on the roster in Jose Siri, who is easily the best defender out of all of that group – I just don’t know if he’s the offensive player yet we need at the big league level. But you do have options there that are probably ahead of taking ahead of Peraza, not to say he wouldn’t rank in that group somewhere, but none of those guys could go take his place at shortstop.
You can listen to all 22 minutes of the interview at the bottom of this post. But let’s get back to the Cincinnati Reds and center field. The team has said, repeatedly, that they would be comfortable with a guy like Schebler or Puig in center field. But the actions don’t exactly back that up, either. They’ve been rumored to be interested in A.J. Pollock, who plays center field. They’ve stated that they will continue looking for a center fielder. And while Jose Siri, indeed, is a very good defender, it probably tells you all that you need to know that he was mentioned and noted for how much better his defense was than anyone else on the list.
The Reds seem to have five outfielders on the roster as it stands now. Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler, and Phillip Ervin all return from 2018. Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp came over in the trade with the Dodgers. Yet the Reds are still out looking to add an outfielder. While it’s not impossible that they do go with someone from the previously mentioned group, it seems like it’s not what they are hoping for. The Reds played very well with Shin-Soo Choo in center and he was, how do we put this nicely…. not good at all in center. That’s not really on him, though – he wasn’t a center fielder. But on a team that didn’t really have many weaknesses anywhere, his bad defense didn’t cost the Reds much.
Who the Reds center fielder will be on opening day seems up in the air. What doesn’t is who it won’t be. It seems very unlikely that Jose Peraza is going to be the answer. Center field is fairly deep within the Cincinnati Reds farm system, and shortstop simply isn’t. And as noted by Dick Williams, there aren’t exactly options at shortstop beyond Peraza, either.