The Cincinnati Reds announced this morning that they have activated outfielder Nick Senzel from the 60-day injured list and then optioned him to Triple-A Louisville. The move required clearing a spot on the 40-man roster, which also led to the team designating Mike Freeman for assignment.
Optioning Nick Senzel to the minor leagues is interesting on so many different levels. He’s the best defensive outfielder the team has. He’s the fastest runner on the team. It seemed that the Reds wanted to kind of bring him back in perhaps a “can play anywhere” kind of role, giving him some time at shortstop on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville.
Before the game General Manager Nick Krall said this:
“Right now if we bring him to the club, who goes down? There’s only so many players that are optionable right now. I think that’s the main factor. He had some flexibility and the guys up here were playing well, so we wanted to keep this group together for right now and keep moving forward.”
Perhaps the most curious part of it all is the fact that Nick Senzel did not have to be activated today. He still had a few days left on his rehab assignment before the team would have been “forced” to make a move to either activate him or recall him from his rehab assignment and hold him back for at least five days before sending him back on another rehab assignment. Instead they activated and optioned him today.
As for the question of who goes down…..
There are a handful of relievers in the bullpen that simply aren’t getting the job done and a few of them haven’t been getting the job done all season long. They are also all out of options. Keeping them around so you can have a 9-man bullpen instead of calling up Senzel is certainly one way to go about it.
Tyler Naquin has options according to Fangraphs. He got out to an incredible start to the season in the first week-and-a-half. Since April 11th he’s got an OPS of .691. He could be sent down. Shogo Akiyama has failed to deliver in any sort of way since his signing. He has 338 career plate appearances with a .609 OPS. He has made Billy Hamilton look like a power hitter. While Bob Castellini probably won’t eat the remaining salary….. that’s an option that could be, and probably should be taken.