The Cincinnati Reds lost Scott Selsky to the Boston Red Sox when they tried to option him to Louisville.
For a team that has had trouble consistently getting on base, letting Selsky go doesn’t make much sense for the Cincinnati Reds. As he came up through the minors, Selsky regularly had an OBP above .350. His slugging on the other hand has been slightly subpar for a corner outfielder.
Defensively, Selsky projects as a left fielder. He can cover right or center, but those are not his natural position. He played first base in the minors, but likely is only an occasional back-up there as well.
In 2016 during his MLB debut, Selsky played in 24 games hitting 2 home runs and 2 doubles. He batted .314 with an OBP of .340. These are very similar to his minor league norms.
This is the sort of player that the Reds will need sooner than later. They need bench players that can be plugged into a reserve role and left alone. Selsky could be that sort of guy for the Red Sox.
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It is concerning when you see a team built to win claiming someone off of the Reds’ roster. It makes you wonder what they see that the Reds don’t. It’s possible that the Red Sox are less concerned about Selsky’s defense and slugging deficiencies than the Reds are.
The Cincinnati Reds need to prove that they were right about Selsky after a long off-season of shuffling secondary players.
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Letting a player go who could have been the primary pinch hitter and back-up corner outfielder could set the Reds back. Three bench players that are close to set are Tucker Barnhart, Desmond Jennings, and Ryan Raburn. That leaves two spots on the bench and waiving Selsky left both of those spots wide open.
The Reds will take a long, hard look at Rule 5 draftee Stephen Turner behind the plate. If he can beat out the trio of non-roster invitees and the Reds stay with the idea of carrying three catchers, then only one bench spot will be open. That was originally Selsky’s to lose.
The reasoning behind trying to sneak Selsky through waivers may have been the acquisition of Riche Shaffer.
He is a right-handed hitting corner infielder/outfielder. He can do similar things to Selsky. The largest difference is that Selsky is an on-base machine. Shaffer has in turn left the Reds for the Cleveland Indians via waivers. They needed his roster spot for pitcher Scott Feldman.
The Reds seem uncertain what type of team they want to build. Selsky could be the next Kevun Youkilis based on his on-base skill. Instead the Reds have players like Patrick Kivlehan, who could be the next Adam Duvall, a low OBP slugger.