The Reds might face a tricky playing time situation if Scooter Gennett and Derek Dietrich are healthy during the second half of the season. Sure, an injury to Gennett, Dietrich, Joey Votto or Jesse Winker might resolve the issue. But what if they’re all healthy? We asked a team of Redleg Nation writers to offer their wisdom. What’s your opinion?
Question: If Derek Dietrich and Scooter Gennett are healthy after July 1, how should the Reds manage their playing time?
Chad Dotson: Scooter Gennett should be the primary starter at second base, if only because his bat is good enough to warrant playing time and second is the only place he can play defensively (kinda). Plus, I’m still holding out hope that some team will want his bat by the July trade deadline, and the Reds need to get him as many ABs as possible to showcase him. If Scooter is still a Red on August 1, it’ll be time to reevaluate.
As for Dietrich, David Bell could get him four to five starts a week at 2B, 1B, and LF and that’s plenty. When you’re playing either of these guys, you know going in that you’re going to take a hit defensively. But I think it’s easy to justify getting them regular playing time, since each should have an above-average bat.
Mary Beth Ellis: Derek Dietrich just Instagrammed a video of himself pleasantly signing an autograph for a little girl. “I’m Derek!” he said. “Did you know that?” She nodded. She was also wearing a Scooter Gennett shirt. This was preceded by an image of himself lounging on a red daybed beneath the glowing words, “I love you so much Cincinnati.”
The man is not stupid. He is wisely dumping his natural charm into the Personal Skills section of his impressive offensive resume. Popular-but-somewhat-forgotten Gennett must be sitting in the dugout watching homer after homer sail out of the park with decidedly mixed emotions.
This beautiful problem of where to put our Hercules in One Giant Chain, however, need not result in single elimination of either. Send down Peraza. Send down the Iglesias who doesn’t pitch. Swap in whoever for whoever depending on the pitcher. He wants in. Derek Dietrich is good for the city, good for this team, and good for angering people who don’t like either.
Wes Jenkins: Well, that’s a tough one. On the one hand, we shouldn’t assume that Dietrich will hit like this forever. On the other hand, I said that about Scooter for two years and look where we are now. So….start Scooter and get Dietrich’s bat into the lineup four times a week by resting regulars? That seems like the best case scenario. Start DD over Joey Votto, Jesse Winker, Yasiel Puig, and Scooter once each week and you’re maximizing everyone’s at-bats. Easy-peasy. Unless anyone can figure a way to trade the Reds to the AL?
Bill Lack: If you believe that Gennett’s last two seasons are an anomaly, not a trend, they’re basically the same player.
Dietrich OPS+ of 113, Gennett 109, Vs LHP, Dietrich with a .669 OPS, Gennett .638; Gennett hits RHP a little better. (.823 to .800). Defensively at 2B, probably pretty much the same. Dietrich can play some OF, which Gennett hasn’t shown the ability to do, which means you could use him to rest Puig or Senzel against some RHP.
The guy whose playing time is really going to be hurt when Gennett returns is probably Peraza (or should be); but that’s not the question here. Any trade value that Gennett might have had disappeared when he got hurt and had to sit the majority of the first half of the season. But if he’s going to walk after the season, they might trade him for whatever they can get, which likely won’t be much. Would the Reds trade the enormously popular Derek Dietrich? Depends on the offer, I’d imagine (or should).
Honestly, I don’t know. But having too many good players is always a good thing and it’s been a long time since the Reds have faced this kind of problem, but their philosophy at the trading deadline will likely come into play here.
John Ring: This is a tough one. The Reds missed Gennett’s offense early in the season but Dietrich leads them in home runs and has become a dynamic player. It’s a good problem to have — something the Reds are certainly not used to. Lots of similarity here — left-handed hitters, they lack speed, careers rescued by the Reds. I would stay with Dietrich until he levels off or move him to LF or 1B to get Scooter some at-bats. I expect Joey to become more like Joey but he’s 35 and lacks power. I hope Dick Williams is working the phones but not sure the market is there for Scooter, even if the Reds could got a reliable relief pitcher, due to his being injured and the position he plays I’m not usually wishy-washy: but I got to go with Dietrich because he has the hot bat right now. It might be different on July 1.