The Cincinnati Reds have played 32 games so far in the 2019 season, and Scott Schebler has appeared in 30 of them. To date, he sports an OPS+ of just 27. None of these numbers really have anything to do with one another, other than to simply point out that the season is almost 1/5th finished and Schebler has swung a completely wet noodle for the duration of that time.
Yesterday’s call-up of top prospect Nick Senzel to take over the everyday CF spot sure had the writing on the wall for Schebler’s current stint with the Reds, and today the club made his option back to AAA official.
Scott Schebler does not throw left handed, so that is not him in the picture. That, of course, is LHP Cody Reed, who was called up to a) replace Schebler on the roster and b) likely put a bit of pressure on existing bullpen lefties Zach Duke and Wandy Peralta, especially after the latter struggled mightily in last night’s disastrous loss to the San Francisco Giants.
And yes, swapping out an OF for a pitcher means the Reds already short bench now becomes much, much shorter, with the likes of Jose Iglesias, Kyle Farmer, and Curt Casali now the only bat-first options in the dugout (along with Michael Lorenzen, I suppose). How long the team chooses to run with this short bench remains to be seen, but it’s worth pointing out that Phil Ervin must remain in the minors for at least 10 days after he was optioned before he can be recalled.
As for Schebler, it’s a rough fall for a guy who bonked 30 dingers in 2017 and looked the part of a competent, patient slugger all spring long. Funny how spring training stats aren’t at all representative of actual games, isn’t it? The thing is, Schebler’s slump extends well beyond just those 30 games played in 2019, as after he came off the DL from his shoulder injury last year he hit just .202/.305/.368 in the 31 games he played in to wrap the 2018 season. Admittedly, even production at that level this year would’ve likely kept him a roster spot given the alternatives, but that simply wasn’t in the cards.
It’s also worth emphasizing that Derek Dietrich’s thundering start to the 2019 season probably helped play into this move, as his ability to play corner OF along with rotating across the infield means he will rightfully continue to get plenty of regular PAs. Mixing him in the OF alongside regulars Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel, and Yasiel Puig seems more prudent than waiting on Schebler to finally figure things out, which he’ll now get to do with regular PAs at the AAA level.
That’s something that Cody Reed has obviously needed in his career, too, and the hope is that his solid early performance for Louisville mixed with new pitching coach Derek Johnson can help unlock the great potential he has in his left arm. What we’ve seen in the early going from the likes of Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett suggests there’s definitely still time to extract value from that crop of former top pitching prospects, and Reed will now get his chance to show he’s got what it takes.
The Reds weren’t yet done making major moves, as they announced that struggling, injured, over the hill OF Matt Kemp had been outright released, too.
That’s something for which we advocated at the time of the deal, but at least they finally made the move. Thus endeth the circular nature of the Homer Bailey contract with these Reds.