There’s no way the Cincinnati Reds trade Scooter Gennett this offseason. Now you’ve read that at least twice.
The idea that the Reds front office would try to cash-in their found money in Gennett via some form of trade is one that has been kicked around for a year and a half now. Claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers just prior to the start of the 2017 season, Scooter punted the back of his baseball card to the curb immediately with Cincinnati, homering in his first game with the club, belting 4 dingers in an epic night against the St. Louis Cardinals, and owning a .302/.351/.567 line with 18 dingers at the July 31st trade deadline in 2017.
Still, the Reds kept him then. They kept him throughout the 2018 season, too, as he chased an NL batting title, as the top prospect depth in the system continued to play 2B in the minors behind him, and as the team again slumped to another last place finish in the NL Central. Entering 2019 - his final season under team control before reaching free agency - it appeared in a vacuum that the team had no interest in trading him still; jumping out of that vacuum and sniffing around the entire MLB landscape now shows there’s absolutely no way the Reds trade him this winter, either, even if they wanted to.
News today that Nick Senzel is having elbow surgery tomorrow to remove bone spurs an miss another 6 weeks of action is somewhat the icing on that keep-Scooter cake. Senzel has been moved absolutely everywhere by the Reds so far in his brief professional career in attempts to shoehorn him into the big league lineup anywhere they can, with 3B, 2B, SS, LF, and CF all gradually being ticked off his positional ledger as the team tests his versatility. Not simply grooming him to play 2B was the first clue that Scooter isn’t going anywhere, and his fourth major health issue of the last year and a half probably just gave the front office a tad bit more pause on the idea that Scooter can simply be replaced seamlessly by Senzel.
On top of that, MLB Trade Rumors just dropped this offseason primer regarding the available options league-wide at 2B, and it’s pretty safe to say there’s beaucoup depth out there.
If you’re a team out there in win-now mode and in need of a 2B, you have Daniel Murphy, DJ LeMahieu, Jed Lowrie, Brian Dozier, and Ian Kinsler to choose from, none of whom would cost you prospects in trade and all of whom could, in theory, be had with more than just 1-year of team control. That doesn’t even include two-time All Star Josh Harrison, who might well be on the open market, too - and certainly could be available in trade. And even when you get into the idea of a team trading for a 2B, the options listed in the above article make the idea that any team would massively dote prospect after prospect on the Reds to get a lone year of Scooter nearly impossible to imagine - almost as impossible to imagine as the Reds being willing to trade the fan favorite for anything other than a haul.
That, of course, means Scooter isn’t going anywhere this winter. That’s not an awful thing, either, since there are ample reasons why his name sits as high up on this list as it does. The only issue here, though, is whether the Reds again choose to hold on to another peaking asset as their control over it dwindles just to watch it walk away for nothing in free agency (see: Cozart, Zack), or whether the promised increase in payroll to record levels will be, in large part, due to a massive raise and contract extension for a middle infielder as he nears his 30th birthday.