Yesterday was a wild one in Redleg Nation, huh? The Cincinnati Reds went out and came to an agreement on a 4-year deal with free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos – who after signing yesterday noted that he’s back to going by Nick instead of Nicholas. Less than an hour later Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweeted out that the Reds were considering trading outfielder Nick Senzel and that he’s heard his name is out there on the market.
Reds are considering trading Nick Senzel. Have heard his name is out there on market.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 27, 2020
That certainly was a wild hour in the Cincinnati sports landscape, huh? The Reds outfield is crowded. And that’s an understatement. Along with the two Nick’s, there’s also Jesse Winker, Shogo Akiyama, Aristides Aquino, Phillip Ervin, Scott Schebler, Travis Jankowski, Mark Payton, and Josh VanMeter on the 40-man roster. Last night the organization designated outfielder Jose Siri for assignment after the signing of Castellanos became official.
Something’s eventually going to happen and the Reds are going to be making some moves to trim the outfield. Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Shogo Akiyama, and Nick Castellanos aren’t going to be sent to the minor leagues. Phillip Ervin, Scott Schebler, and Travis Jankowski are out of options and can’t be sent to the minors. And Mark Payton is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to be on the 26-man roster all year long, or exposed to waivers and potentially sent back to his original team if tried to be sent to the minors. There simply aren’t enough roster spots for the amount of players that need to remain in the Major Leagues.
When it comes to trading someone from the outfield group it’s tough to see how anyone has the value that Nick Senzel does. He’s young, a former Top 10 prospect in all of baseball, under team control through the 2025 season, and can play so many positions that he can play on almost any team in baseball. But for those very same reasons, it’s why he’s valuable to the Cincinnati Reds.
Everyone’s favorite former Cincinnati Reds General Manager who wore leather pants, Jim Bowden, says that the Reds front office shared their plan for how playing time would work out. And, well, it leaves open a lot of questions.
#Reds front office gives me their tentative OF Plan:
Castellanos LF & RF & some 1B. Winker mostly LF & RF. Senzel in CF& possibly some INF. Akiyama in all 3 but MOSTLY in CF. Ervin as corner back up. Aquino mostly in RF because of the plus arm, he also has an option if needed.
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) January 27, 2020
As we discussed on the Redleg Nation Radio Emergency Podcast on Monday, there seems to be something happening here with the breakdown provided by Bowden and that it seems either Nick Senzel or Shogo Akiyama is essentially going to be a bench player. Perhaps I’m misreading his tweet, or perhaps he isn’t quite understanding of what he was told – but it seems that the way it’s presented that one of those two players wouldn’t see nearly as much playing time as the other outfielders listed in his breakdown.
If the Reds are going to keep Nick Senzel and play him 140 times a year, great. But if for some reason he’s going to be a guy who doesn’t even get 100 starts in a year, then it makes way more sense to trade him today given his value on the market, and what the team would actually get out of him if he’s not playing 140 times in a season. Having too many good options is never a problem. But part of that is because you can sometimes utilize those options to make other moves. Something is coming for the Cincinnati Reds when it comes to their outfielders. Whether that’s a trade of Nick Senzel or someone else – well, we’re all going to be sitting around and waiting to see on that one.