Remember that one time, in a galaxy seemingly far, far away, when the Cincinnati Reds opted to send career -5.4 bWAR Juan Castro up to pinch hit for future MVP and former #1 overall draftee Josh Hamilton?
These are those Cincinnati Reds. You know them. You’ve watched them for your entire life, sometimes with your Reds hat on, sometimes with it spinning across the room after you’ve thrown it, and your shoulder, in frustration.
We thought those Reds were a thing of the past, though. We watched them finally, mercifully get aggressive this winter, swinging hard for big names like Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Sonny Gray, Tanner Roark, and Alex Wood in a fit of pertinence. In an era when so, so many bad teams chose to hoard cash and profit from the status quo, these Reds bucked that, added payroll, and brought in a plethora of players on the cusp of free agency in a seeming effort to finally put together a season of worth for their fans.
One such player they’ve held tight to on their roster is Scooter Gennett, the All Star 2B who is in his final year of team control before he, too, reaches free agency. The Reds held tight to Scooter, the Cincinnati Kid, despite the looming presence of Nick Senzel, the consensus Top 10 overall prospect wunderkind who they signed for over $6 million after selecting him second overall in the 2016 draft. The Reds, enamored with Senzel as they reportedly are, have done everything in their power to procedurally find a way to let their rookie shine and flourish, moving the 3B/2B first to SS and then to CF in an effort to get his potent bat in the lineup.
At least, so we thought.
On Saturday, the Reds revealed that the groin injury Scooter suffered on Friday while playing 2B defense was a serious one, one that will have him sidelined for 8-12 weeks.
Damn. Damn. Double damn damn.
If only the Reds had a ready-made replacement to help these win-now Reds WIN-NOW...wait a minute, they do!!!
They have...Kyle Farmer.
Scooter Gennett out 8-12 weeks with a right groin strain. José Iglesias will play SS, José Peraza 2B. Kyle Farmer will be on the roster— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) March 23, 2019
They have Kyle Farmer, a perfectly cromulent 28 year old bench bat. They have Jose Iglesias, too, who baseball teams were so enamored with that he landed with the Reds on a minor-league deal. And Nick Senzel, the most hyped prospect the Reds have had in a decade, who plays the precise position that is temporarily vacated by an All Star in a win-now season, isn’t going to fill in. At least, not until the Reds continue to manipulate his service clock while paying lip service to their ulterior motives.
Senzel, mind you, will continue to play CF, the position he didn’t win out of spring training as of yesterday, meaning he’ll sit in AAA as roughly the 7th OF on the team’s depth chart while being, by all accounts, hands down the best healthy 2B in the team’s system.
Keep in mind that the Reds will have to make decisions on over 1/3rd of their active roster by July, as they have that many free-agents-to-be. A fast start, one infinitely faster than last year’s 3-18 disaster, is the one clear way this team might, might hold on to a chance of winning for good this year, since it’s hard to envision them holding on to so many prominent future free agents if they’re behind the 8-ball in the standings come deadline season.
BUT, BUT, BUT SERVICE TIME!
Rest assured, this is precisely the kind of manipulation that isn’t going to sit well with anyone, let alone Senzel, whose agent just yesterday cried foul over the Reds’ handling of his client before the Scooter injury only further threw fire on those flames.
Everything about this just smells like a co-worker nuked salmon in the office microwave.