When you’re a good player, good teams will have interest in you.
When you’re a good player whose current team is in the basement of the standings, good teams will have an increased interest in you.
When you’re a good player whose current team is in the basement of the standings and earlier in the season you rolled into a good team’s home park, busted them for a double, two dingers, six ribbies, and a three game sweep of that good team, there’s a pretty rock-solid chance that good team is going to have a pretty good interest in how you play the game of baseball.
Such is life for Cincinnati Reds 2B Scooter Gennett at the moment, especially given that his dwindling team control makes him an obvious trade deadline target. As it turns out, the latest contending team that’s showing interest in trading for him is the Los Angeles Dodgers, who Scooter did that torching against back in early May. According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, Scooter’s among many infield options the Dodgers are considering as they try to bring home a World Series title despite the year-long absence of star shortstop Corey Seager.
Seager’s absence for the year has certainly created a void, but the versatile Chris Taylor has emerged as a pretty solid replacement for him this year. What hasn’t worked as well, though, is the cavalcade of players they’ve run out at 2B this season, as that collective group ranks dead last in all MLB in wOBA while totaling -0.6 fWAR as a group. Logan Forsythe, Chase Utley, and Enrique Hernandez have largely done that damage, and it’s worth noting that both Forsythe and Utley are set to be free agents at season’s end, so a potential addition of Scooter would greatly benefit the Dodgers beyond just the 2018 season, too.
In other news, the Reds appear to be set and ready to boost payroll in the coming years, at least according to former-GM-turned-Baseball-Operations-head Dick Williams, as The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale relayed last night. Currently at roughly $102 million, the team’s payroll sits decidedly short of the club record $115 million payroll they rolled out in 2015, or the payroll that was nearly that high in 2014, too. The $13.125 million they’re currently paying to Devin Mesoraco slash Matt Harvey will come off the books, but potentially significant arbitration raises due to Billy Hamilton, Scooter Gennett, Adam Duvall, Michael Lorenzen, Anthony DeSclafani, and Brandon Finnegan will likely account for more than that difference alone, and that paired with existing raises on guaranteed contracts to each of Homer Bailey, Eugenio Suarez, and Raisel Iglesias means that payroll will need to go up even if they don’t make any outside moves. Of course, it sounds as if Williams means that there’s room to make some significant transactions, which is precisely the kind of juicy meat nugget that we will chew on for the next 9 months.
I’m just now noticing the Reds’ pythagorean record - meaning what their record ‘should’ be given the average of how many runs they score and allow per game - is a dang respectable 43-48 at the moment, even with the disastrous April. That’s a danged fine testament to how good they’ve been playing ever since. That’s the 19th best mark in MLB, and better than both the Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates. Baby steps, folks.
Our friends at Over The Monster have eyes on Scooter, too, as they’re concerned that Dustin Pedroia’s knee issues could make 2B a hole in an otherwise stellar Boston Red Sox lineup as they make a run towards the World Series again this year.
Finally, friend of the blog Chad Dotson took a look at the Matt Harvey situation over at Cincinnati Magazine, concluding (wisely) that the Reds really must trade him this July and cash-in on their newfound lottery ticket. I concur wholeheartedly. The thing is, if he’s so enjoyed his time in Cincinnati and is so appreciative of the organization’s willingness to give him a shot to redeem himself, trading him this July and signing him for 2019 and beyond is still completely an option. Heck, it’s what the New York Yankees did with Aroldis Chapman a few years back, and it netted them Gleyber Torres in the process. Now, I’m not saying Harvey’s got enough value to net a prospect of that ilk, but the idea that the Reds could flip him, get a prospect of some significance, and then explore signing him this winter if they so choose shouldn’t be one that’s impossible. (I’m not entirely on-board that Harvey’s the pitching piece they need to sign to get over the top; I’m just lobbing this idea out there for the few folks who’ve been banging the ‘keep Matt Harvey as a Red long term’ drum.)