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Why Gennett’s Injury is Good, Actually

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The Reds can improve without Gennett

Cincinnati Reds v Detroit Tigers
On a collision course for playing time
Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

No, not for Scooter himself obviously. The All-Star second baseman will miss 8-12 weeks with a groin strain – and may have a tough time coming back, as these sort of muscle issues can be slow-going on the recovery.

But for the Reds? Your favorite team? Yeah it’s not so bad.

No, they won’t take the opportunity to call up Nick Senzel, despite the all-everything prospect being a very cromulent 2b. What the Reds will do, according to C. Trent Rosecrans, is play Jose Iglesias at shortstop and Jose Peraza at second.

Iglesias isn’t going to be asked to replace Scooter’s bat in the lineup. The career .270/.315/.363 hitter isn’t going to be a middle-of-the-order lefty but rather a defensive wizard bringing stability to the infield. Iglesias is a much better glove than Peraza, or really any other shortstop in the National League give-or-take Brandon Crawford. Iglesias is 4th in Fangraphs’ defensive ratings for shortstops since 2015, neck-and-neck with Crawford and behind Francisco Lindor and quick-hipped god Andrelton Simmons. Homeslice can pick it.

Not only that, but Iglesias at short moves Peraza over to second. Peraza is by no means an Iglesian infielder, but he’s solidly above-average. And Gennett, as anyone who has been watching the Reds could tell you, is not great defensively! Fifth-worst defensively among 2Bs since 2015, between the thickset Daniel Murphy and the person I have never heard of Brandon Drury.

Replacing Gennett with Iglesias makes the Reds a stronger defensive team at two positions – and arguably the two most important positions on the field. Considering the ground-ball-heavy nature of the pitching staff, the brand-new nature of the pitchers, and the oafs plodding in the outfield, it will be vital to have some strength out there to call upon.

On the offensive end there’s...no small chance that the Reds won’t miss Gennett? Both Peraza and Iglesias had strong second halves.

Peraza v. Iglesias v. Gennett in 2nd half 2018

Player AVG OBP SLG
Player AVG OBP SLG
Scooter Gennett 0.286 0.333 0.442
Jose Iglesias 0.277 0.325 0.438
Jose Peraza 0.28 0.307 0.451

Obviously nobody’s expecting Iglesias to hit at an All-Star pace, but the boost he gets from coming to GABP, when counterbalanced by the fact that Gennett’s been on a weird and seemingly unsustainable tear since coming back to his hometown which we all know could end at any moment, means that there could be less of a gap between them offensively than you’d think.

The Reds’ offense is not the issue. A Schebler/Votto/Puig/Winker/Suarez/Barnhart/Iglesias/Peraza/P lineup is still capable of doing a hell of a lot of damage! But having Iglesias in the infield keeps the Reds from giving up even more damage, which you probably noticed has been an issue since 2013.

So this could be a blessing in disguise. Again, not for Gennett — who is injured going into his big payday year and just cost himself millions of dollars, not to mention is in extreme amounts of pain as you are reading these words and thinking of profiting off of the searing fire coursing through his groin muscle. And also, not for Nick Senzel, who is also being screwed out of tens of millions of dollars through no fault of his own or anyone besides the money-grubbing owners who profit off of the sweat of the athletes.

Don’t worry about them, but about your favorite team! This injury could be really good for them, and they’re the ones you care about. Opening up a spot for Iglesias could be a huge improvement across the 25-man-roster.