Cincinnati Reds: Will any one-year deals turn into a long-term contract?

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 17: Joe Panik #12 of the San Francisco Giants slides past Jose Peraza #9 and Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds to steal second base during the fifth inning at Great American Ball Park on August 17, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated San Francisco 2-1 in 11 innings. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 17: Joe Panik #12 of the San Francisco Giants slides past Jose Peraza #9 and Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds to steal second base during the fifth inning at Great American Ball Park on August 17, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated San Francisco 2-1 in 11 innings. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 17: Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds and National League celebrates after a two-run home run in the ninth inning to tie the game against the American League during the 89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Scooter Gennett, Second baseman

This is now the biggest question facing the Cincinnati Reds this offseason. What does the club do with their All-Star second baseman Scooter Gennett? Personally, I’ve wavered back and forth on this topic. There’s a lot of merit to both sides of the discussion. So let’s unpack the whole thing before I tell what I think.

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Scooter Gennett is a fan favorite, an All-Star, a .300 hitter, and by all accounts, a good guy. He is the perfect fit for the city of Cincinnati, especially since he was born there. Gennett proves the doubters wrong last season and duplicated the success that no one thought was possible from a waiver pick up.

On the flip side, he’s almost 28-years-old, has a top prospect nipping at his heels, and those questioning if he can duplicate his success one more time are out there. During his first four seasons in Milwaukee, Gennett slashed .279/.318/.420. In his two seasons in Cincinnati, Scooter has slashed .303/.351/.508.

That’s a big difference and there are those critics just waiting for Scooter to return to the pedestrian numbers he put up while with the Brewers. Personally, I don’t see that happening and I expect Gennett to continue to hit the cover off the ball. I think the biggest factor against Gennett coming to terms with the Reds on an extension has nothing to do with him, but everything to do with Nick Senzel.

This happens sometimes in baseball. You have a quality player at one position, and some young hotshot coming through the ranks appears ready to take your job. Senzel appears to be the real deal, and if it weren’t for concerns over his health, I think we’d have already seen the Reds move on from Gennett. But, as it is, Senzel has yet to play a Major League game and the the team is likely leery of handing the reins to a prospect who’s injury history is a bit scary.

In the end, while there’s still a chance a long-term deal could be worked out, I expect the Cincinnati Reds and Scooter Gennett to enter the 2019 season without an extension in place. The Reds have a lot of young talent on the ball club and might be better served investing money in the pitching staff.

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Scooter Gennett, whether he has a long-term contract or not, seems like the type of player who’ll give you 100% regardless of the circumstances. If a team-friendly deal (~$10M per season) is reached, I could see both sides come to an agreement. However, if Scooter is looking to get market value for his services, I don’t think he and the Reds will come to terms.

Chances for a long-term deal: 25%