The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans relayed earlier today that the Cincinnati Reds will indeed get top prospect Nick Senzel some time in the OF during instructional league play - and that they’ll do so with him playing left field, instead of center field. That’s a rather innocuous revelation, I suppose, unless you actually take a look at the current construction of the Reds roster and would like to have some hope, any hope that the 2019 season will go better than any of the last, I dunno, five years have.
The idea that Senzel might be capable of playing CF instead of being stuck in a corner spot is one that’s not entirely foreign, either. In fact, as RedsMinorLeagues.com’s Doug Gray wrote over the weekend, it’s a concept the front office has even conceded Senzel has the ability to do. I highly suggest you peruse through all of what Doug had to say on the matter, as I wholeheartedly endorse the gripe about taking a player with the ability to be a plus defender at the most important defensive positions on the field and plugging him into the lowest non-1B priority spot on the field despite the presence of inferior defenders around him on the diamond. It just seems haphazard, forced, rushed, awkward, and numerous other non-plus descriptors, especially given how much they’ve already jerked him around defensively so far.
The fact is, they Reds are treating him, for some reason, like a player with kid gloves despite him being one of the most talented baseball prospects to come through this franchise in years. For some reason, though, that didn’t stop this team from trying the broken Devin Mesoraco in LF on a whim, from rolling out defensive flat-liners like Jonny Gomes or Adam Dunn there for ages - or the shell of Ken Griffey, Jr. - or even trying career 1B and lumbering sequoia Yonder Alonso in LF a time or three. Nick Senzel is a superior athlete and defensive asset than all of those folks, yet for some reason he is the one of that group that needs to be brought along on outfield defense slowly?
I just don’t get it.
In other news, our friends at Redleg Nation have admirably managed to still keep their Reds-writing hats on while we rip our hair out for new ideas. They’ve got a pair of good reads up today - Matt Wilkes with the pros/cons of potentially signing Matt Harvey to a contract this winter, and Steve Mancuso on Michael Lorenzen’s shot at being a starting pitcher again.
Over at The Enquirer, John Fay spoke to Dick Williams about the pending managerial search, and got what we’ve all pretty much come to expect on the topic: nothing but nebulous, wandering avoidance of specifics. I honestly have zero idea how the front office can justify keeping Jim Riggleman and anything resembling the status quo for this team given how morbidly blase everything surrounding the team is at the moment, but more power to them if they think that’s the right course of action. Who the team’s next manager will be - be it Barry Larkin, Riggleman, John Farrell, or Nerb Halfsteak - still seems like such a toss-up, which at this point of the endless rebuild seems incredibly disheartening.
Finally, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon spoke with Amir Garrett about his 2018 season, his comfort in being a reliever, and the idea that he might ever start again for the Reds. Given that he’ll be out of options after this year, I think the Garrett-as-starter ship has probably already sailed, at least unless the entire pitching staff around him again goes up in flames and there’s an opening in another lost season because of it, a la where the Reds are with Lorenzen on the mound to start tonight. If that’s the case, well, my liver’s going to need a new liver.