Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall told Mark Sheldon of Reds.com last week that one of the priorities this offseason was to find a shortstop for the 2021 season. If you are heading into the offseason looking for a shortstop, this offseason is a good one to be in that market. The free agent class is headlined at the position by Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, and Korean shortstop Ha-Seong Kim (has not yet been posted, but is expected to be after Thanksgiving). That also doesn’t include the trade market, which reportedly includes Francisco Lindor, again.

Marcus Semien, who finished 3rd in the American League MVP race in 2019 after hitting .285/.369/.522 with 43 doubles, 7 triples, and 33 home runs for Oakland, had a bit of a down season in 2020. In 53 games he hit just .223/.305/.374. This week he spoke with the New York Daily News’ Bradford William Davis about his season, what went right, and what went wrong. There’s a lot of interesting insight in the article from Semien about the year we all wish we could put behind us, but this part really stood out to me:

I don’t have the greatest equipment in my garage,” he said. That meant resorting to pushups and lunges, and a friend’s backyard batting cage. Not exactly the same as barbell presses and squat racks and a high-tech video room. “I definitely lost some strength,” he admitted.

We all had ideas of how things could be effected with how the 2020 baseball season played out. While you want to believe that Major Leaguers have access to better things than the rest of us – and some of them most certainly do – things still weren’t remotely the same for them as a regular year when it comes to be able to train and prepare. Some guys went out and were able to perform as expected. But there were also a lot of examples where guys didn’t – guys who were very, very good in the past (Semien, of course, being one example – but we can also look at Christian Yelich or Francisco Lindor).

Jared Solomon had Tommy John surgery

This news would have been more beneficial to have known on Friday, when the Cincinnati Reds added Jared Solomon, along with two other minor league players to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. But as far as I can tell it was not reported on anywhere, and I didn’t find out the news about Solomon’s Tommy John surgery that will keep him out “until late 2021”, according to my source, until Saturday evening.

If you are asking yourself why a team would add a player to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft when they are going to miss the entire next season, you probably aren’t alone. A team would do this for a few reasons, though. First, Tommy John surgery is not going to keep a team from selecting a player that they like. It’s happened before and it will happen again. If you believe someone will select a player you like, then you protect them.

Sticking with the whole “player you like” side of things – the player is coming back from surgery. And while a majority of guys do indeed come back from Tommy John surgery, not everyone does. While I’m told that everything went well with Solomon’s surgery, rehab isn’t handle entirely the same way for everyone. Teams have variations of what they do, when they do it, how they do it, etc. By adding a player who is recovering, you don’t have to risk the part where a team decides to send a player back to you after months and months of not following your rehab plan for that player.

It’s not entirely likely that a team would send back a player during the year when he isn’t playing. That player would be put on the 60-day injured list and not count against the roster. But you still run the risk of getting back a player, even if it’s a year, or a year and a half down the line, who didn’t recover/return the way you would have expected if they had followed along with the plan that your organization would have set for their rehab instead.

On this day in Reds history…..

The Awards used to be handed out a little bit later in the offseason than they were this year. November 22nd has been a pretty good day for the Cincinnati Reds in the past. In 1961 Frank Robinson won the National League MVP on this day. Seven years later, Johnny Bench brought home the National League Rookie of the Year Award on this date. It would be four years later that November 22nd was the date in which Johnny Bench was named National League MVP. The date for Cincinnati was dormant for quite a while after that, but in 2010 it came back as Joey Votto was named the National League MVP.

Scott Schebler signs with the Angels

Old friend alert: Scott Schebler has signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels for 2021 according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

32 Responses

  1. Tom

    Time to trade Eugenio Suarez? That is what the TB Rays would do. And if I were GM, would too. Why? Suarez hit his peak in 2019 and it was not all good. I mean my grandmother could hit a homerun in the bandbox the Reds play in. So BFD if Suarez hit more than most. Many of the homeruns came with nobody on base and were not what I would call clutch. He has put on so much weight that he is a turtle on the bases and and an albatross in the field. 2020 showed the real Suarez, low BA, just a few solo homeruns, and lots and lots of Ks. Not a winning formula.

    Reply
    • Your Cousin From Boston

      Yeah, never mind that nasty shoulder injury he had last January and the dubsequent surgery. Wait one more year and if his 2021 is like 2020 you can shop him then. However I have my doubts that Suarez will turn into a Kyle Seager in Seattle and Suarez will be more like 2019.

      Reply
      • doofus

        “Wait one more year and if his 2021 is like 2020 you can shop him then.” He will have even less value if his 2021 season is like 2020. The time to deal him was after 2019.

        The only plus is that he has a team favorable contract.

    • Rednat

      this does seem to be a trend with the reds. players try to put on weight to hit more homeruns i assume but lose a lot of their athleticism, defensive skills and speed on the base pads. Jose Peraza and Phil Ervin are 2 other examples that tried to sacrifice speed for power. not sure if this occurs on other clubs as well? just seems to be the trend in baseball

      Reply
      • bug

        I concur, Tom. Suarez strikes out WAY TOO MUCH. Man on third and less than two outs? You can count on a whiff from him. When he first came up he made good contact. Now he is a strike out machine.

    • bug

      Meant to reply to Tom. I’ll post it again.

      I concur, Tom. Suarez strikes out WAY TOO MUCH. Man on third and less than two outs? You can count on a whiff from him. When he first came up he made good contact. Now he is a strike out machine.

      Reply
      • doofus

        Suarez has a horrible approach at the plate. He was on pace to strikeout 192 times in 2020 extrapolated over his 2019 AB’s where he k’d 189 times.

        Instead of just stroking a single to the opposite field with runners on he tries to hit a HR and ends up cork-screwing himself into the ground, and striking out.

        Imagine how much more productive he could be if he only k’d 120 times a year. That is like 60 to 70 more times he could have put the ball in play.

        He should have been dealt after the 2019 season. His value has decreased. As usual the Reds have held on to long to an asset that has lost value.

    • Jake

      Suarez has a career OPS of .919 in high leverage situations, per bbref. This feels like overreaction to a down year.

      Reply
  2. Indydoug

    So a guy who has made $24M (less pro rats in 2020) can’t afford a decent workout room? Strong pass on Semien….

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      Oh, he can afford one. But as someone who knows some “gym bros” who wanted to buy stuff, you literally couldn’t buy weights this spring or summer. It was a real thing.

      Reply
      • Indy

        My point was why didn’t he already have what he needed. I know it was difficult during pandemic. Seems unbelievable to me

      • Doug Gray

        When you can just drive to the stadium every day and get state of the art training, with professional trainers, and it lets you keep your work life and home life balance, you tend to do that. None of that is unbelievable to me.

      • Indydoug

        Good grief always need the last word. Not good business

  3. LDS

    Saurez is going to make a bit less than $11 million in 2021. With the holes that already exist in the Reds line up, e.g., shortstop, how does trading him make the team better? Does anyone believe he’ll bring enough players in a trade to fill the holes? Mousakas moves to 3rd, who takes 2nd? First base is still sub par. Plus he’s popular so what’s the fan draw? I don’t see that this idea works.

    Reply
    • doofus

      Look around the league, there are teams that could plug Suarez in at 3B and provide some return to the Reds.

      I do not think that anyone implied that trading Suarez would fill all the holes.

      Reply
    • doofus

      Fans are not coming out to see the Reds when Suarez was on the team.

      A winning team puts fannies in the seats.

      Reply
  4. Robin Benson

    I believe Suarez needs to loosen his swing. He looks so rigid. Shorter more compact swinging to contact instead of swing for the fences everytime. But thats seems to be the Reds hitting approach today. All or nothing. His salary makes him worth one more year.

    Reply
  5. JayTheRed

    I think Suarez will make a nice comeback. He has been so good for too long and I’m sorry but I don’t look much at what anyone did in 2020 considering the situation with training time and shortened season and the stress of possibly getting a major disease. Plus considering his past offensive output. He is still really inexpensive.

    Reply
  6. JB

    I’ve seen some are predicting Semien will get around a 1 year $15 million or 2 year 25 -30 mil. If the guy wants a 1 year to build his stats what better ballpark to do that in than ours. For some reason I have this feeling the front office will bring back Galvis. Makes me sick thinking about it.

    Reply
    • Tom

      Yes, GASP will pad HR stats, but not BA, doubles, or OBP. Fly balls carry over the fences too easily to be translate to what a hitter would do in any any other ballpark. Would like to see the Reds recruit and train more athletic players, with a more diverse set of skills. Last year’s team was really quite boring. They could not sustain a rally because of the low batting averages, and rarely took the extra base with guys like Votto, Suarez and catchers n base. Clutch hitting was non-existent. That is how you lose so many one-run games. If the Reds will not change their hitting approach I would suggest that they raise the fences to about 30 feet. One big green monster, except maybe a plexiglass monster to assist fans in field level seats to see. No taller fence in CF between power alleys in LF and RF. Keep the ball in play create more action on the field and reward well hit homeruns. Not cheap fly balls that just happen to carry over the fence. This might help Reds pitchers like Robert Stephenson who yields too many homeruns.

      Reply
  7. SteveLV

    A lot of discussion about Semien’s poor year after such a great 2019 season, but the 2019 season is the only really good season he’s had. 2020 looks a little worse than normal for him. 2019 stat line looks like a completely different player’s stats were inserted accidentally.

    I had the same thought as IndyDoug on the workout equipment. I assume the lack of clarity around when the season would start made him indecisive on getting equipment, but I have no doubt he could have gotten equipment. His agent knows someone, Billy Beane knows someone – there aren’t 6 degrees of separation in the sports world, there are about 2. He knows someone who could have gotten him to the top of the list. With gyms being closed everywhere, he could have overpaid for all their equipment – or just buy a small, well-equipped gym. For some reason, he just chose not to do it. Using that as an excuse for a poor season just makes me shake my head – particularly when it’s pretty close to just a reversion to normal.

    Reply
  8. Andrew

    I just heard Rays are dangling Blake Snell and team friendly contract. What would you give up for him and Willy Adames?

    Reply
  9. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I don’t know if I do Semian. Due to one good year? This past season was actually more like what his entire career has been. I just can’t do him.

    When I look at all the SS FA’s out there, I don’t see any with what we need, offense. Thus, I wouldn’t spend great amounts of dollars on anyone of those.

    If I go anywhere, I would go with the Korean. Not that his numbers will translate exactly, of course. But, at least he seems to know what’s good offense and what isn’t. I mean, his career OBP is 373, over 390 the last 2 seasons, exactly what we need, someone to get on base. If he could just get on base at a 350 clip, or even a 330 clip would put him better than half of our starting lineup right now.

    Reply
    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      If we can get Lindor for cheap, great. That cheapness will depend upon an extension or not, also. But, that trade that was discussed a bit ago, for 4 players? NOT. Not for 1 year of an elite player.

      Reply
    • Shawn

      Didi has a carrier 100 OPS+, He has been better than that 3 of the last 4 years. well above average for a SS. I would love to get him.

      Reply
      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        He’d be my next choice. I wonder about the price tag on him though.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        After Didi, I would go ahead and get Senzel in there. Everyone says he can’t do it because he’s never played there. The way I look at it is, he’s played 3rd base; SS isn’t that much different. AND, we moved him to CF and he did a pretty good job of that. I believe he can learn SS very well.

        Then, those worried about his arm? Just start him maybe 2 of every 3 games? Or, plan for him to be the first starter to come out. There are ways to keep players fresh.

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