On Tuesday night Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel collided with the wall in center on what turned into a triple by J.D. Martinez. He exited the game after the play and after the game it was revealed that he had broken his toe. With two weeks remaining in the season it means that he will be out for the rest of the year.

For Senzel it wraps up a season where he played in more games than he ever has – 109 – but it was also a season in which he struggled at the plate in a big way. The 27-year-old hit .231/.297/.306 on the year. That translates to a .603 OPS and a 64 OPS+, which ranks 6th worst out of 178 hitters in baseball with at least 400 plate appearances this year. A swing change recently had led to him hitting the ball much harder than he had been doing for much of the season, but if it’s going to continue we’re going to have to wait six months to see it.

As for the Reds, the injury leaves them in a bit of a predicament. Their 40-man roster only has three position players on it who are not already in the big leagues. Two of those players are catchers – Michael Papierski and Mark Kolozsvary. The other is outfielder Allan Cerda. Now it may make sense at first to say give Allan Cerda the call to join the big leagues for the final two weeks. And maybe it does – he’s a good fielder who can play all three outfield spots. But he’s also a 22-year-old who hit .198/.350/.401 with 77 strikeouts in 62 games in Double-A this season after hitting .219/.370/.488 in High-A in the first half.

With Aristides Aquino, Stuart Fairchild, Jake Fraley, and TJ Friedl on the roster already, and having infielders such as Jose Barrero, Matt Reynolds, and Alejo Lopez all with outfield experience, the Reds are covered in the outfield in just about any possible scenario that would arise. They don’t exactly need a third catcher on the roster, but if they are going to bring someone up that’s already on the 40-man roster that could be the move to be made.

In Triple-A there are several options for outfielders that could be added to the roster, and several of them already need to be added later this offseason for protection from the Rule 5 draft. But another option could be Stephen Piscotty, who signed a minor league deal with the team several weeks ago and following the season could be let go of without any long term repercussions given that he’s 31-years-old and isn’t expected to be a part of the future.

51 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Not too many players/athletes I’ve heard of have had as hard a time staying healthy as Nick Senzel. I wish him the best and a quick and complete recovery….again.

    Reply
    • Kevin H

      Byran Buxton comes to mind. K’bryan Hayes comes to mind. Injuries happen it stinks for sure but it happens.

      Hopefully he makes necessary adjustments and can have a great 2023.

      Reply
      • LDS

        Preferably elsewhere. Maybe he’ll bring a low-mid prospect. I don’t think Senzel will ever reach his potential in Cincinnati, and maybe nowhere else either. Sad.

  2. Harry Stoner

    Moving Senzel to the outfield was a bad decision and should cause the Reds to reconsider the ‘plan’ to shift some of their dozen or so shortstops into OF positions.

    Senzel may be a ‘good athlete’ but the CF tasks run a high range of risks….diving, crashing, colliding…..that have clearly taken their toll on him.

    He isn’t ‘injury prone’ but playing out of position and repeatedly getting banged up by it with his enthusiasm for doing well after he was given a poorly considered job.

    I hope the Reds show more sense with their current crop of quality draftees.
    The collateral mistakes surrounding the ill-fated Moustakis signing haunt the team in many ways.

    Reply
    • greenmtred

      lots of mlb players were shortstops at some point–high school, legion, etc.: the best athletes often get put there, and it’s often the best athletes who make it to mlb. so what’s a “natural” position? a tall left-handed guy who hits for power but doesn’t run well might be a “natural” first baseman, but it’s doubtful that anyone is genetically programmed to play shortstop. these guys are great athletes and can learn new skills.

      Reply
    • Luke J

      Being a major centerfielder requires a player who is an elite athlete. So how do you suggest the Reds avoid playing a top prospect there? Just not have a centerfielder? The risk of such a physically demanding position will always be there. And the need to have a top athlete there will also always be there. To suggest you don’t put your best athletes there because they might get hurt is counterintuitive to all baseball strategy. It’s just a risk you have to take. As do all teams. There’s only so many people on the planet who are talented enough to play major league centerfield.

      Reply
    • VaRedsFan

      Injuries happen. It happens to some more than others.
      It has nothing to do where he played in the minors, college, high school or tee ball.

      He got hurt last year while playing 3B…without any contact at all, and missed a huge chunk of time.
      He also tweaked it again this year on a non-contact play, although I can’t remember if he missed time.

      So please stop with the “he was a 3rd baseman 5 years ago, therefore he’s not going to the HOF or All Star game because they took him off 3B.”
      If you are good enough, you will adapt.

      Are you also thinking Billy Hamilton probably would have hit better if he stayed at SS?
      Billy moved to CF and became one of the best CF’ers I’ve ever seen.

      Reply
      • MBS

        @VA thanks for the bit of sanity. I guess we always want someone to blame, but sometimes “Injuries happen. It happens to some more than others.” That’s it, period, end of story.

      • Harry Stoner

        These kind of replies are operating in a vacuum.

        Billy Hamilton or Eric Davis have nothing to do with Nick Senzel.

        Or to Elly De La Cruz.

        Every player is an individual and should be assessed accordingly. What might work for one player might not work at all for another.

        Witness the ill considered move of Suarez back to shortstop.

        The move of Senzel was wrong headed and continues to be so.

        Comparing him to Hamilton or Davis or anyone else is off target.

        It’s not strategy per se that is wrong its the implementation of it it.

        Senzel and the Reds are suffering from their inability to critically look at a decision and make the necessary adjustments.

      • Harry Stoner

        “If you’re good enough you will adapt…” is part of the stubborn and wrong headed thinking that has trapped the Reds.

        Why not put Joey Votto in CF? If he’s “good enough” he should adapt.

        Why not use Kyle Farmer as a starting pitcher?

        Just because a strategy worked for one player doesn’t mean it will work for another.

        Injuries happen in response to the situations that a player plays under.

        Think about it.
        A tight end isn’t going to injury his throwing arm. Jonathan India isn’t going to crash into the CF fence.

        Senzel is Billy Hamilton, nor is he Eric Davis. He is who he is and the Reds (and folks on this board) seem unable to ascertain that and make the helpful adjustments.

        It’s no different than stubbornly running Strickland out their in high pressure situations.

      • greenmtred

        you seem to be taking a position that leads, inevitably, to the conclusion that, had senzel been left at 3rd, he wouldn’t have gotten hurt and, perhaps, would be the player he was expected to be. that’s possible, i suppose, as is the converse. decisions that don’t lead to successful results are easily identified as wrong-headed, but there’s no guarantee at all that senzel, left at 3rd, would be healthy and hitting well. it’s very possible that he simply isn’t a very productive hitter.

      • Jim Walker

        @greenmtred
        It is also possible the damage to Senzel’s offensive capabilities resulted from an injury he suffered at 3B. If memory serves he had both hand/ finger and wrist issues while there. All those areas are taken for granted until they can’t be and have marred or short circuited many a MLB career.

        And the vertigo episodes are just sort of the elephant always fading in and out in the corner of the room.

    • JB

      Robin Yount on line one. Something about he never had a problem.

      Reply
  3. Klugo

    Two questions:
    How many games are left this season? and how many games did Senzel get in this year? I’m curious.

    Reply
    • Melvin

      I believe the answer is 14 games left and 110 games played.

      Reply
      • Klugo

        Nice. So, he did get 100+ games in. That’s a step in the right direction.

  4. Old-school

    Aside from the extended Covid time early in the season, Senzel stayed fairly healthy. Unfortunately, his calling card was supposed to be his hit tool and elite defense at 3b and it looks as if he is a utility player and not an everyday CF at the MLB level on a playoff team. Reds are really thin right now in the OF and left side of the infield. Some terrible offensive numbers around the league so maybe the baseball impacts some of that and will change in 2023.

    Great news on the pitching development side from the Big 3 and Diaz. Not good news on the Senzel/Barrero development side entering 2023. It appears Marte will go to the AFL and get some reps at 3b so the long term looks good for organizational depth at 3b with Collier at the lowest level as well. Will be interesting to see what the Reds do in the off-season on the left side of the infield. You cant give up on Barrero but you also cant write him in with a pen at SS. Reynolds can play backup SS but that seems like a wasted roster spot. McClain is going to the AFL to play SS. Farmer is expensive but seems like the perfect fit for insurance at SS and 3b with a weak unproven left side of the infield. Steer looks to be the guy to play regularly and perhaps its time to see what he can do at 3b. Senzel should come to ST as the CF against lefties only and needs to re-define himself as a good utility infielder. You have to think with an aging Farmer and an uncertain Barrero, the Reds arent moving EDLC off SS this off-season as he may now be plan A at SS at least until someone better moves him off. He’s quoted as saying the Pirates O’Neill is someone he wants to emulate as a tall SS.

    Reply
    • MBS

      How about Lopez as your 2B, and India as your 3B. In fact that could be a nice way to start the batting order 1 Lopez, 2 India. Lopez would probably be a place holder until McLain is called up. With the shift going away next season, 2B is going to be a more difficult position to field. Having a SS like McLain take it over seems like a good long term plan.

      By the time McLain is ready to be called up, EDLC will have most likely been called up as Barrero’s replacement, or as the new CF.

      Reply
    • Jim Walker

      If Fairchild isn’t playing every day at one of the corners in 2023, I’d play him as the RH hitting CF platoon partner for whomever.

      Fairchild’s career MLB OPS is .798 (85 PAs); 120 wRC+
      His 2022 MLB OPS is .888 (68 PAs); 143 wRC+

      His handedness splits are above 100 wRC+ vs both LH/RH pitching and actually much better versus RH pitching.

      It is still early days in terms of his MLB sample size but to date in 2022 he is performing at or above his AAA composite OPS. He might just turn out to be that guy the Reds were waiting to see emerge from higher draft picks or international signing(s).

      Reply
      • JEFFREY OAKLEY

        He seems to be a nice player unfortunately there are too many SSs in the system who will become outfielders. He will play for someone because he is a serviceable young player.

      • Jim Walker

        @JO> or in 2-3 years when those convertible SS types are MLB ready, Fairchild might be established as a 3-4 WAR a season guy in his prime years; those comers might be the guys flipped.

  5. MBS

    I’m not sure Senzel should remain a Red. There is going to be a substantial 40 man crunch, and Senzel seems expendable. I want the Reds to spend $$$ to the tune of $50M+ in FA’s, so if cutting dead weight helps the budget, then I’m fine with that.

    I think Steer will be the super utility guy. Steer can even play SS, 3B, 2B, 1B, and they’ve even played him in LF in the minors.

    Reply
  6. JEFFREY OAKLEY

    Bring up one of the young studs, either McLain or Marte if you still insist that De La Cruze is not ready. Their age shouldn’t matter. As I keep saying, just look at the Braves and the Mariners.

    Reply
  7. JEFFREY OAKLEY

    As far as Senzel, get him well and see if anyone wants to trade for him after the season. Change of scenery might do him some good. If not DFA him, sooner than later so he can have a chance to catch on.

    Reply
  8. Mark Moore

    Ugh … Just plain UGH!!! Another “freak” injury as we ride off into the sunset of 2022.

    Bring on the Hot Stove League, please.

    Reply
    • CI3J

      I doubt the Reds will be making many moves this offseason. 2023 is, or should be, about figuring out what they have in-house so they’ll know what they need for 2024.

      Reply
  9. Redgoggles

    If the Reds dispose on Senzel, they are selling at a low point. I would give him one more year to change his career narrative. How many others on the roster have a higher ceiling? They cannot afford to give away players with all the holes in their roster just because they have some young bucks coming up……….which Senzel was just a few months/years ago.

    Reply
    • SultanofSwaff

      What tools does he possess to warrant this ‘high ceiling’? He gets poor reads, is a bad baserunner, and doesn’t hit for power or average in the 4th year where he received regular playing time.

      Reply
      • Redgoggles

        The tools that made him the 2nd pick in the draft.

        Players take time to develop, and Senzel’s development has been majorly disrupted by injuries, Covid/season, and position changes. It’s not like we have 4 legit starters that he is taking time from or that we expect to have a playoff team in 2023.

        From a business/investment standpoint, what’s the harm in seeing if your already significant investment will increase in value before you dump it for nothing?

  10. SultanofSwaff

    We have far better options for CF to cling to Senzel any longer. Simply put, he’s not a viable major league player….just overall a lack of instincts on both sides of the ball (jumps on fly balls, baserunning, etc.). Heck, a week ago his OPS was .591. If that were any player other than a high draft pick this wouldn’t even be a debate. Let him catch on with a team that is willing to invest in him w/o a timetable. I don’t want to see the Reds waste hundreds more at-bats like they’ve done with guys like Jose Peraza and Corey Patterson…..this list goes on and on.

    Reply
    • Jim Walker

      Regrettably, for the Reds, I think you are correct. There needs to be an acceptance that injuries or just a lack of durability, in general, erode the skills that made a player very special among guys who are all special.

      I look at the list of injured Reds pitchers with the concern they will go once more to the well too often by counting on guys such as Sims and Atone who despite what they once were or could have been are now high risk propositions.

      Reply
      • JEFFREY OAKLEY

        As far as Senzel, he has never lived up to his 1st round selection.

        As far as pitchers, the circumstances that exist today with “covid” is allowing teams to hide or hoard pitchers. With the exceptions you mentioned we really don’t know the true health of some of these guys.

      • Jim Walker

        Gutierrez had TJ surgery. Santillan has back issues. Dunn has a (recurring) shoulder issue. Hoffaman, elbow, trying to avoid TJS. Daniel Duarte, elbow.

  11. JEFFREY OAKLEY

    Senzel was drafted in 2016. He has had seven years to prove himself. He has not panned out here either because of injury or lack of performance when healthy. He needs to be moved by trade or DFA after the season. I would love to see him succeed but I don’t think it will be here. Maybe a change of scenery would do him good. As far as selling low, it is what it is.

    Reply
    • Harry Stoner

      One of Senzel’s best stretches was when he was temporarily returned to 2b a couple years ago.

      That’s not likely going to happen again with the Reds stockpiling of middle infielders and reluctance to ease Farmer out of the picture.

      He’s not going to perform well in the outfield for anyone.

      Another bit of self inflicted injury by the Reds management.

      Reply
  12. Jim Walker

    I am sorry to see Senzel’s season end like this. I hope he recovers well and goes on to better things whether that be with the Reds or elsewhere.

    This said, he has looked out of place to me as a CF. He fearlessly chased fly balls and caught up to a lot of them thanks to his excellent sprint speed. However as noted by others here, he lacked the nuances which separate a fly ball chaser from a refined outfielder. He seemed to continue to struggle with situations involving the wall whether it was collisions like last night or correctly reading upcoming rebounds and caroms then positioning himself to best play them.

    It is hardly a secret that the decision apparently had already been made that Senzel was not going to primarily be an OF with the Reds next season as both he and David Bell had alluded to his role in 2023 being that of a “super sub”.

    We will see what the situation holds for Senzel and the Reds as the calendar moves through the off season.

    Reply
  13. Kevin H

    Still not ready to give up on Senzel. His rookie year was 2018. He is 4 years into his mlb career. I would get rid of Aquino before Senzel.

    If we talk about injuries then why not get rid of Tyler Stephenson as he can’t stay healthy either. (Sarcasm) Senzel as he has said is working on his swing. Being a major league baseball player is hard. Not as easy as tv makes it out to be

    Reply
    • Indy Red Man

      Be stubborn if you want, but Senzel can’t play. I just said it 24 hours ago that if he did start hitting then he’d get hurt and he’s back on the IL. I guess he can’t hit because he’s not an infielder? Makes no sense. Give the kid a chance to make it somewhere else. He’s not even a good baserunner despite plus speed.

      Reply
      • Indy Red Man

        I will say Nick Senzel is the greatest catchers interference drawer in Reds history! So that’s something to tell the grandkids.

      • Kevin H

        He is a major league baseball player. You are not. Apparently he is doing something right .

    • MBS

      Because Stephenson produces when he plays, Senzel doesn’t.

      Reply
  14. BK

    I’d put Senzel on the 60-day IL and call up OF Ronnie Dawson. The Reds could use an LH bat off the bench. He was signed as a MiLB FA this year and will be one after this season, too. He’s 27, not a prospect, so dropping him from the 40-man roster after the season won’t be a big deal.

    Reply
  15. TR

    I hope Nick Senzel has a complete recovery. It’s time for the Reds to let him go. He was a high draft pick and came up as as infielder and IMO he should have stayed as an infielder. Senzel in centerfield never seemed natural to me. He’s coming up on his age 28 season. Trade him in the offseason perhaps for needed bullpen help.

    Reply
  16. Optimist

    For Nick, the best option may be a trade to a team with patience and willingness to optimize him on both offense and defense, if that means back to the infield and a spot lower in the order. He’s got the talent.

    For the Reds, I fear the best they could hope for would be akin to the BobSteve/Hoffman trade – find a matching not-yet-blossomed 26-28 year old.

    I expect the Reds are looking hard at what arbitration will mean, and it may allow them to keep Nick. That may not be best for either side.

    Reply
  17. Pete

    Poor Nick, he’s the kid in high school most likely to get hit by a bus before turning 40. I don’t even know if middle infield or third base would be a solution as there are also walls down the third base and first base lines. But seriously I wouldn’t trade him right now as you would certainly be selling low bring him into spring training and hopefully he shows a spark and then at that point let him go but he would not be in my long-term plans.

    Reply
  18. Hanawi

    Reds called up Siani. I guess they figured he needed to be added to the 40 man anyway.

    Reply
    • Pete

      I love this movie. Give him a taste of what major-league baseball is all about. He may not come up for another year or two but this will be helpful. Great move by the Reds!

      Reply
  19. votto4life

    I’m sorry Nick Senzel will, once again, finish the season on the IL, but it’s time to face the fact, he is not the player the Reds were hoping for when they drafted him.

    Nick Senzel is a fourth outfielder on a team full of fourth outfielders. Play him in the infield if you want, I heard him mentioned as a Super utility player. I’m not sure what is all that “super” about him. He will soon be passed over by the many talented infielders in the Red’s system. Time for the Reds to turn the page.

    Reply

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