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.

92 Responses

  1. LDS

    I agree. If Senzel is ever to be what they drafted, he needs to play. And sorry, I don’t see starting Naquin or Akiyama ahead of him.

    • LDS

      Especially since they proved yesterday that they generally cannot hit lefties. Senzel, for his career, has hit .271 against LH’ers with a .773 OPS. Naquin on the other hand hit .220 with a .629 OPS. Senzel is faster, a bettter defender, and younger. The FO just isn’t serious about competing. And they certainly aren’t looking at real numbers.

      • JB

        Agree with this. This team is dying for somebody to hit lefties. If I was a team I would start any lefty they can find and start him against this team. This front office is garbage.

      • Melvin

        It’s also dying for another guy who can play the infield specifically SS. Not calling up Senzel or Barrero is a real head scratcher and to me shows a definite lack in the sense of urgency department especially in a pennant race. The reasoning for not doing so really doesn’t hold water.

      • Michael j Lassandro

        I really dont understand the hate on this sight for Naquin. If it wasnt for him playing so well dont know where this team would be. He is above aveage in the field and is a very good hitter. Anybody that thinks shogo or Aquino is better is not watching the same thing. He was actually a first round pick, its not like this guy was backup 20th round draft pick, he was picked there for a reason. Hopefully people will figure it out

    • Brandon

      Personally I prefer naquin over shogo naquin has a good pop and plays smart ball but we over paid him he’s not the ichiro they expected or hoped he would be. Senzel does need to be up but why is saurez still starting when moose can atleast hit for average?

  2. RedAlert

    Not surprising at all ! This is typical of this joke of a front office ! Pathetic – you mean you can’t pick somebody to ship out ???!!! – PLENTY to choose from

  3. Klugo

    And Senzel is a right-handed true centerfielder. I’m convinced the FO is not all-in on winning this season.

  4. Alex Reds

    What if Winker reinjures his back? No reason to option Senzel without seeing how Winker recovers in the next day or two. Akiyama needs to go. Garrett needs to go. Doolittle needs to go. Naquin should be in AAA instead of Senzel. Santillan, Antone, Senzel, and Barrero should already be on the roster now. Only so many games left to win a playoff spot.

    • BatsLeftThrowsRight

      Bingo, as he left game today again.

    • Jim Walker

      They can use the injury exemption to bring Senzel up immediately if someone gets put on LL.

      • Jim Walker

        IL not LL

        What I get for trusting a tablet!

  5. docproc

    This is easy: Cut Shogo and eat the salary. Failed experiment.

    • JayTheRed

      Over the past 2 weeks plus Shogo is hitting around .300 and his On base has been pretty good too. I love how everyone is so oh just cut the guy. Not going to happen so stop saying it. They have a big investment in him they are not going to eat his salary stop that talk too.

      These are things we as fans would like but why suggest them if you know they are not going to happen.

      • Joe Farfsing

        They should DFA him and reassign him to Louisville if(when) he passes through waivers unclaimed

  6. Scarlet Red

    Definitely Doolittle needs to go, the first one on the list to be demoted or released! I cringe when I see him walk to the mound.

  7. Jonathan

    Are they just buying time til rosters expand and he plays everyday until then? Will two weeks in AAA affect arbitration?

  8. LGR

    So what’s the plan when Antone is ready? Leave him in AAA? I’d assume he’d be ready around the after this Cubs series around the start of the Marlins series. Gonna have to get rid of people eventually. There’s a bullpen arm or two the Reds really don’t need right now.

  9. Arthur

    I can think of at least three relief pitchers who are not worth keeping on the major league roster.

    Unless the Reds feel the need to have a pitcher fill the all-important “reliever who can’t get anyone out” slot on the team… Actually, they have plenty of those already. Maybe DFA one, or two, or three of them and get an extra OF who might actually help the team???

  10. LGR

    Welp I guess with Winker possibly heading to the IL this might all be a moot point.

    • docproc

      I was honestly wondering if they were just waiting for someone to go on the IL.

  11. Roger Garrett

    Same story for me.Salaries,vet privilege,Bob’s favorites and Bell”s tendency to play everybody already insures we will rarely see our best players play.Keeping Senzel down there and others just insures it will continue.Krall obviously is happy about our team and are chances as is so we move on.

  12. MK

    Good move. If Reds are counting on a guy with an MLB .246 lifetime Averagethen they have much larger issues. Senzel has been a disappointment to two major reasons. His lack of offense and inability to stay on the field. Hopefully this will allow him to heal completely from his numerous injuries and make the adjustments necessary to give him an opportunity to be the offensive prospect he should be.

    • Dick Paterson

      Agree. Senzel still has a lot to prove, and maybe he will. It’s just a matter of time, and probably not much of it, before he has another chance at ML level. He is not a proven major leader, still a prospect with plenty of potential.

      • jon vera

        He has yet to have a year like naquin is having. Sad but true.

      • Jefferson Green

        Senzel earned more fWAR as a rookie than Naquin has this year.
        Naquin is a nice extra outfielder. Senzel never had a wRC+ less than 149 in the minors; Naquin never had one above 149 and is over 30.

    • RojoB

      “ His lack of offense and inability to stay on the field “

      How can you judge his offense if he hasn’t even played? And when he came up he was a hitter. Turner Ward messed him up. And he’s not a CF he’s an infielder. That messes a guy up too

    • Alan Horn

      Agree. What if you drop someone and call him up and he gets hurt again. Then you are short 2 players. It is not like he is knocking the door down like Barreo and Lopez.

    • Jim

      Totally agree. For weeks we’ve been hearing from Sadak and fans we need to get Senzel up here. He is not the second coming of Eric Davis. Bring him up when ready and hope he can stay healthy this time. Cut down the 14 man pitching staff, not a bench player. That way Bell might have a bench player or 2 for extra inning games. I love Miley, but I don’t want him pinch hitting in the 10th.

    • Redsvol

      Agree. He was borderline inept from offensive standpoint when he did play. Since we are cherry picking stats the last 15 games for naquin and shogo look too good to blame our 10 games over .500 record on. Senzel needs to play and he isn’t better currently than the players who are active so he wouldn’t be playing.

    • MFG

      Agree MK, Senzel has not lived up to his potential and where we drafted him. He simply cannot stay on the field and in the lineup on a regular basis. We are talking about releasing some BP pieces. Why? Because they are not reliable or dependable much like Senzel. We have a SS in Farmer, Suarez is terrible, I think Moose is overrated, AG should be released and I like Shogo coming off the bench. There, I got that off my chest!

  13. D Ray White

    Uncle Bob and Krall are in over their heads. The Reds braintrust is fast approaching Brown family ineptitude. It’s sad that diehard Cincy fans have to endure some of the worst ownership in all of professional sports.

  14. Votto4life

    Reds have the bases loaded and no outs they can’t score. Phillies have a man at third with no outs and they score on the very next at bat.

  15. Mike

    Shogo and Naquin have struggled for a long time, but both are having great August’s. Not from a slugging standpoint but Shogo has a .292 average and a .478 OBP this month. Naquin’s sporting a .323/.400/.548 line in August.

    It seems Aquino would be the guy on the chopping block more than anyone. Yeah, he still hits a few HR’s but he really looks like a shell of that great month 2 years ago.

    • LGR

      You can afford to get rid of either Hembree or Doolittle to get Senzel back up here. The other one should go when Antone comes back hopefully later this week. Then you’ll have that decision of Aquino, Akiyama and Naquin when it comes to if they wanna bring up Barrero before September, which they should.

  16. TR

    I cannot remember a Red’s front office/ownership more confused than this one regarding who to send down and bring up Senzel and Barrero.

    • Steven Ross

      You can’t bring Berrero and replace Farmer. He’s nothing wrong plus what kind of message would that send? We have other issues besides SS.

      Senzel will be here soon. Let everything sort itself out. Winker looks like a candidate for the IL. You’ll probably see some moves in the next day or two. Have to think Doolittle is on borrowed time.

  17. Don Howland

    Suarez has an option, I believe… but even if not – is Krall kidding?! Need a roster spot?
    Hembree, Dolittle and Garrett are all blown-saves-waiting-to-happen. They have probably cost the twam a dozen wins between them. They represent a HUGE negative drag!!! CUT THEM ALL. Save Bell and his Ted Lasso bs from himself and GET RID OF DEADWEIGHT RELIEVERS!!!

    • Alan Horn

      Right on. Add Brach to that list although he is already on IL. I would bench Suarez for now. Several need to come up with injuries like Brach.

      • JayTheRed

        Yeah bench Suarez cause you know Moose is doing so well.. He literally has had the 3 hit game and that’s about it.

  18. BUCK

    I love the Cincinnati Reds of the Marge Schott era and before, but not much since! Time will tell THE REST of the story: good day?

  19. amdg

    Why the Reds are not a serious contender for a playoff spot in 2021…

    “We are over-paying mediocre veterans. We refuse to bench them for better, younger players.”

    A team serious about winning would have benched Suarez and his OPS+ of 59 a long time ago, and would have Barrero starting at SS.

    • AllTheHype

      Reds have prioritized playing Suarez in an attempt to re-coup lost value from his contract, over winning. Simple as that, sad as it is.

      • RojoB

        How a successful businessman like Castellini is so suckered by the sunk cost fallacy is astounding to me.

      • JayTheRed

        When you pay a player a lot of money your not going to have them ride the bench or get released so you pay that person for nothing.

        I too have been frustrated by Suarez but the Reds are stuck with what they have there. Its not like 1.5 years ago everyone was like Oh Suarez is a great player we never want to get rid of him ever. Wow how times have changed lol..

      • RojoB

        @jay

        The point of the sunk cost fallacy is this—whether you play the player or not, he is giving you NOTHING. So that money is gone no matter what.

        So play someone that helps you WIN, so you can make some money to offset the already wasted money you’re paying to those overpaid, underproductive guys

        Continuing to play an unproductive guy that has a big contract “to get your money’s worth” doesn’t give you anything for that money

        https://www.behavioraleconomics.com/resources/mini-encyclopedia-of-be/sunk-cost-fallacy/

      • AllTheHype

        Small and mid market teams collectively make the same mistake over and over. When they’ve got a dead contract, they still play the player regularly in an attempt to get value back. But it is a double edged sword, from the team’s perspective. We all know Suarez will continue to be rostered. That doesn’t mean he needs to also play regularly in a pennant race. Sit him and re-evaluate his role NEXT YEAR.

    • RojoB

      Except when he isn’t.

      Reference many bad angles and giving up on fly balls because he thinks the corner outfielder will catch it—the 8/15 game in Philly a prime example

      I like Shogo but he isn’t a better defender

  20. John

    Send Geno down, play moose full time.

  21. Tim

    Aquino isn’t going to make it imho. Shogo makes more contact and plays better defense. Play Senzel and Barrero.

    • MCT

      I second this. I like Aquino but he’s not the answer out there. He has power but strikes out too much.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree. Akiyama and AA are not looking like starting OF material and they have had their chances.

  22. Chris Holbert

    I guarantee Senzel can play 3B and at least .175. probably not as much power, but definitely more contact and better BAs. Get rid of he RP deadweight

    • AllTheHype

      Reds are unfortunately prioritizing getting value back from Suarez’ contract, not winning. Surprised he was not benched, at least for this year. But the FO has made their intentions clear. Winning is not a high priority.

  23. Roger Garrett

    I can understand there dilemma about options but thats on them.Krall obviously is satisfied with the team as is so we go on.Just lets you know that salaries,Bob’s favorites,Bells tendency to play everybody is more important then putting the best team on the field.Keeping Senzel and Berrios down because we don’t have a spot is just one more thing to add to the list.Yeah we won’t to win the way we won’t to win which does include playing your best players.Surely we don’t want to improve our options against lefties or improve our team speed or defense.Now we would never consider that I mean well enough said.

  24. Erik the Red

    Not sure that is the move I would have made, however Freeman getting DFA makes sense. I agree with a lot of the comments the front office, owner, and Manager has put the fun in dysfunctional these past few years.

  25. Arthur

    Verse 2 of “Why are they still in Louisville” might be Dauri Moreta. Young man has an ERA and WHIP below 1.00. And he seems to have a lot of “swing and miss” in his game.

    Doug – is he someone who could help the club over the last 43 games?

  26. Bryant Welch

    I think it may well be with Senzel as with the other three blue chippers at Louisville, we are seeing more sensitivity about the nature and length of incubation of young players. Senzel has clearly been derailed by the incredible string of injuries and I would not be surprised if they want him to hit his stride again in Louisville if they possibly can. Tricky calls.

  27. RojoB

    Steve Mancuso (a one time writer for RLN) is all over this on Twitter and it’s the first time I’ve ever agreed with everything he’s saying.

    And Steve is all about data—he’s not governed by emotion to my recollection.

    Is there a convergence of data and gut reaction on this issue? Woah

    • Old-school

      Thanks for that link
      Pretty spot on

      But The roster crunch exists for 1 reason and one reason only. Dick Williams signed Akiyama and moose and Suarez to guaranteed huge deals. Krall didnt .
      He works for ownership who would have to OK a DFA and thats not happening.

    • Roger Garrett

      Found it and the dude is right on in all he says and like you RojoB I have never always agreed but I do this time.The data is true and Nation all of you need to read what Steve said.

  28. Hotto4Votto

    I fail to see anyway that Nick Senzel doesn’t make the Reds a better team right now than the 9th man in the bullpen. Whoever that may be (Hembree, Doolittle, AG…)

    • Roger Garrett

      Its a no brainer for those who have one.Cut a reliever preferrably one of the lefties.Good grief would you call one of them in to face a goof lefty hitter with the game on the line? Senzel or Berrios can help against lefty pitching help rest Farmer and India who obviously are banged up and provide speed and defense.

  29. CFD3000

    Doolittle has pitched 3 innings (mostly badly) in August. 3. How is that more valuable than having Senzel on the Reds roster? Ridiculous.

    My list of players who Senzel could replace and instantly make the team better: Hembree, Doolittle, Garrett. Aquino, Naquin, Akiyama. Suarez, Moustakas. That’s almost 1/3 of the roster. Who cares if they don’t have options (some do)? This statement / thinking is embarrassing.

    • Alan Horn

      My exact list. We would be much better going forward with players at AAA. Position players and pitchers. We will have to eat the money either way. Why not get a lot more talent on the field or as reserve players.

      • Alan Horn

        I think they are trying to buy time until Sept 1st. That is a gamble but there will be a month left in the season. They need to make sure that whomever they bring up will be eligible for the playoffs.

    • beelicker

      Akiyama is currently playing with the hot hand, as thanks to his 2 bug hits today he’s now .333/.481/.381 for August. And this is doing one of the toughest jobs in baseball to maintain a releiable batting stroke, pinch hitter/spot starter! 7 hits, 7 walks, 5 runs in 28 PA … he also hit 4 of 12 July 28-31 to kick off this little run he’s on

      He’s also found a very nice niche talent for the season vs LHP adding 5 walks to 6 hits over 26 PA for an impressive .286/.444/.333 split

      • JayTheRed

        Finally someone else is seeing the value in Akiyama… Guy is doing a nice job over the past few weeks. I think he will keep it up too as long as they keep playing him. Not everyone on this team needs to hit home runs especially with our ballpark. We need guys who get on base too. Akiyama is doing that at a nice clip now that they are actually playing him more oftne.

      • CFD3000

        FWIW Akiyama is a) the last guy on that list I’d get rid of to make room for Senzel, and b) not going anywhere because of his contract terms. But for the record I’d still take Senzel over Akiyama right now.

    • AllTheHype

      The big contracts are not getting DFA’d. But the relievers could.

  30. Fanman

    Senzel would add to this team for sure. Already lacking in team speed, however, not sure sending Akiyama packing is the answer. Also, Senzel has a history of not being able to stay healthy. What happens if Senzel goes down again? This ball club would be hurt defensively, as Akiyama is our best outfielder. He makes contact and is starting to deliver with more consistent playing time. His 2 run opposite field double was crucial today in taking 2 of 3 from a good team in a hostile environment.

    • LGR

      If Akiyama were cut to make room for Senzel and then Senzel got hurt again, that’s what Inciarte would be for. He’s a gold glove defender who’s actually been hitting decently in AAA.

  31. Jpser05

    Krall says Senzel is staying at AAA to play everyday. Then, Senzel does not play today. Kind of crazy. I just don’t get it.

  32. Fanman

    Maybe he is nursing another injury. Same as Winker, if he gets any type of ailment, he is out. India can get beaned in the head or dislocate his shoulder and refuses to come out of games.

    • Melvin

      Senzel most likely is still regaining his strength in his knee.

  33. BK

    While I find the timing of this transaction curious, I am not at all surprised Senzel was optioned to AAA. His production simply hasn’t warranted increased playing time. Senzel has an OPS+ of just 64 this year. Last year his OPS+ was even worse at 55. While he is likely the best defensive CF on the Reds, his defense does not make up for the lack of offense. While he may be the fastest player on the Reds, his baserunning has generated negative results, perhaps driven by his 11 caught stealings in 29 attempts.

    Fortunately, Senzel has flawed players ahead of him on the ML roster playing CF; if he’s productive at the plate with AAA, he’ll get another shot. As others have pointed out Naquin and Akiyama have warts (and like Senzel, are delivering negative WAR). However, both are currently producing well over the last two weeks as evidenced by their August splits.

    The bigger question to me is with Barrero. He’s our best defensive SS and crushing the ball at AAA. The outcry should be for him. Suarez is in a two-year tailspin. Taking the opportunity to replace him with a high-performing prospect seems like the reasonable thing to do. Suarez can come off the bench for the remainder of the year and work with the staff to try and find a way to fix his swing (probably not going to be repaired near-term). One of Garrett, Wilson or Hembree can be DFA’d to make room on the 26-man roster.

  34. Jim Delaney

    I think Reds are sending a message to him. He has been giving many chances and has let the team down by not being able to stay healthy and not performing as they would hope. Hopefully this lights a fire under him and we hen is brought back he smokes the ball and stays healthy..

    • Doug Gray

      If a team is punishing someone for getting hurt then they are beyond help and any fan should just stop caring right now because that’s absolute insanity.

    • RojoB

      Isn’t that like blaming someone for getting lupus or Crohn’s disease?

      • old-school

        or covid?

        Senzel has an option and they are running the sand out until Sept 1 when the roster expands to 28. Not much more complicated than that
        they will have to DFA a pitcher when Antone comes back in a few days.

  35. Michael Spriggs

    As much as the Reds seem to have turned the corner on the lack of Minor league starters I’d really like to see a push toward revamping the hitting program next year. Bigger numbers like OPS just obscure the low BA and most of the posts involving the Reds compare .260 to .230 and then look at .170 Suarez. All those numbers used to let fans know who was a bench player and who could hit. No one can get anywhere near .300 anymore? Why were most playoff teams looking for BP help when metrics show how great these players hit? Pitching is as down as hitting in this day and age. Bombs are great and it’s hard to say the Reds lack offense but c’mon. I hope they bring Nick S. back up soon because not only could they use another bat off the bench but the rest of the team is starting to look as hurt as he has been. Anyone who has criticized him for being hurt having to play all out of position his entire career should also be prepared to let a reliever throw more than one inning and not be concerned about long term consequences.

  36. Jefferson Green

    Any chance Senzel didn’t ‘report’ to AAA yesterday (he gets a couple of days to do so per the CBA) as a protest of this treatment by the FO?

    • Doug Gray

      That seems to be the case according to C. Trent Rosecrans’ article today at The Athletic.

  37. Fanman

    Or could it be they want Senzel to get more acquainted with SS at the AAA level before promoting him to big league club?

    • Joe Farfsing

      You realize until 30 minutes ago Barrero was manning that position? And he was supposedly still getting comfortable there (Krall’s idiotic comments, not mine)

  38. Still a Red

    Seems like the option may have been an alright decision iwhen considering all it complexity, but probably a blow to Senzel’s ego (not meant pejoratively). Cant agree with those saying the Reds aren’t serious about getting to playoffs. The team is playing well and their difficulty climbing to the top is as much a result of the other teams playing well too…and Brewers unexpectedly well. So it’s not really clear if Senzel would make the team win all that much more. That said, letting Dolittle go seems OK to me.