A recent report says that Scooter Gennett is unhappy that the Cincinnati Reds have not signed him to an extension. The Reds are making the right choice.
The Cincinnati Enquirer spoke about a possible contract extension with Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett. Gennett said that there’s been “zero” communication between his representatives and the club and Gennett’s frustration with the situation was very apparent. While I’m a firm believer in keeping a positive vibe in the clubhouse, the Reds are absolutely doing the right thing and should not entertain contract talks with Gennett right now.
I know that’s an unpopular opinion among Reds fans, but it’s the truth. Under no circumstances should the Cincinnati Reds negotiate a contract with Scooter Gennett at this time. First and foremost, he’s already under contract for the upcoming season. Gennett is going nowhere for the time being, so there’s no rush to get him signed.
Scooter Gennett and the Reds organization avoided arbitration and settled on a one-year contract worth $9.78 million. Gennett has been handsomely rewarded for his contributions to the club the past two seasons. When Scooter came to Cincinnati from Milwaukee after being waived by the Brewers, he had to prove himself. He did so by hitting .303 the past two seasons in Cincinnati while slugging 50 homers and racking up 189 RBIs.
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Another reason to avoid contract talks with Gennett is the market. As John Fay points out in his article, the top second baseman on the open market, DJ LeMahieu signed a 2-year/$24M contract with the New York Yankees this offseason.
LeMahieu’s power numbers don’t compare to Gennett’s, but his defense is certainly better. DJ LeMahieu hit .294 the past two seasons in Colorado while recording 23 homers and 126 RBIs. LeMahieu is also a three-time Gold Glove Award winner.
Would you be willing to give Scooter Gennett a 2-year deal worth about what LeMahieu is making? Eh, maybe. That contract with an AAV of $12M seems fair, but why should the Cincinnati Reds bid against themselves? Let’s face it, the market for second basemen is not that high right now. In fact, the Milwaukee Brewers just signed Mike Moustakas to play second base for them next season. He agreed to a one-year/$10M contract with a mutual option for the 2020 season.
The biggest reason, however, that Gennett should not yet be signed to an extension is Nick Senzel. I know, some fans think I’m jumping the gun when I tout how good the Reds’ top prospect can be, but it’s obvious that the front office feels the same way. So much so that they’re experimenting with him playing his rookie season as the team’s primary center fielder, a position he’s never played.
Nick Senzel may be great in center field. Heck, Billy Hamilton was not drafted to play the position and thrived there once he got to the big leagues. Maybe Senzel has similar success. But, if he doesn’t, the Reds need a find a place for him to play regularly and that was always supposed to be second base. Yes, he’s played third base as well, but Eugenio Suárez just signed a long-term extension last offseason and will be a fixture at the hot corner for years to come.
Don’t be surprised if Senzel takes a few starts away from Gennett at second base during the season when Scooter is given a day off. The Cincinnati Reds have a young, controllable asset in Nick Senzel and before they dole out millions of dollars to Gennett, the club should see how well their top prospect produces at the major league level.
This is not an anti-Scooter Gennett take. I think Gennett is an unbelievable talent who has to play well this coming year if the Reds have any hope to make some noise in the NL Central. However, the responsible thing for the Cincinnati Reds front office to do, for now, is to sit tight and let the season play out.
The same can be said for recent acquisition Yasiel Puig, who’ll be a free agent at the end of the year as well. The only player currently on a one-year deal who the Reds should entertain signing long-term is Alex Wood. The only reason I say that is because good starting pitching is more difficult to come by and it’s been an Achilles heel of the Reds for the last several seasons.
If Scooter Gennett plays up to his potential and Nick Senzel takes well to his new position, I could conceivably see the Reds and Gennett coming to an agreement on a contract extension next offseason. For now, it’s best to let the situation play out and see how the chips fall.