There was once a time when many of us thought that the mere addition of Nick Senzel to the Cincinnati Reds roster would help them climb from a below-.500 club to one in a more enjoyable spot in the standings. Such is the promise with players selected 2nd overall in the draft who hit so well across the minors that they rocket into the Top 10 prospects in all of baseball.
That’s not the case anymore, of course, but that doesn’t mean adding him back to the club - especially with his added versatility defensively - can’t provide at least something of a boost to the roster. That is what we’re all hoping for at this juncture for the soon-to-be 28 year old, who the Reds officially activated this afternoon prior to their home series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Outfielder Will Benson, who had gone just 1 for 20 with 12 K in his debut season with Cincinnati, was optioned to AAA Louisville to make way.
The reality of having Senzel back on the roster is that he’ll get starts against LHP somewhere in the outfield, potentially alongside Wil Myers and Jose Barrero in some configuration. He’ll also likely be in-line for pinch-hit spots against LHP late in games, and his ability to play 3B/2B and across the outfield will make him a switcheroo linchpin for manager David Bell late in games, too.
What that means for the future of Senzel remains to be seen. We know the Reds have been reluctant to dole out cash for even regulars or key pieces of their pitching staff during their recent austerity, and with Senzel making nearly $2 million with arbitration eligibility remaining for both 2024 and 2025, that salary is only going to rise. Is a utility guy on the short-half of a platoon really going to be where they allocate their closely held resources when they aren’t doling that out to roster spots of greater importance? Might that push Senzel into the position of trade bait this summer for a team out there in search for an addition at the margins?
That remains to be seen, obviously. For now, we’ll at least get to see him worked back in here and there at the big league level.