Cincinnati Reds: Scott Schebler should be traded before Opening Day

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 15: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after scoring on a sacrifice fly in the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 15, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 15: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after scoring on a sacrifice fly in the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 15, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Reds have a surplus of outfielders and not enough at bats available to keep everyone happy. The player who could benefit the most from a change of scenery is Scott Schebler.

The Cincinnati Reds outfield is crowded, in fact, it’s little too crowded.  Yasiel Puig is entrenched in right field, Nick Senzel is being given every opportunity to win the center field job, and second-year man Jesse Winker appears to be the odds on favorite to win the left field position. Add Matt Kemp, Phillip Ervin and utility man Derek Dietrich into the mix and something has to give.  For those reasons a deal to ship Scott Schebler out of town makes the most sense.

Schebler is coming off an injury plagued season in 2018 which limited him to 107 games.  In those contests Schebler slashed .255/.337/.439 with 17 home runs over 380 at bats.  The year prior Schebler established himself as a legitimate power threat by crushing 30 home runs in 141 games for the Reds.  However, due to a flurry of activity this past offseason by the Reds front office Schebler’s future with the organization is precarious to say the least.

Despite the obstacles in obtaining playing time for the Cincinnati Reds, Schebler possess tools that would be attractive to would be suitors.  First of all, he can play all three positions in the outfield. Second, he is equally comfortable hitting either left or right handing pitching.

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Over his career, the left-handed hitting Schebler has slashed .240/.329/.461 versus right-handers and .270/.303/.451 against southpaws.  Finally, the 28-year-old Cedar Rapids, Iowa native is not eligible for free agency until the 2023 season.

Nevertheless, it’s almost impossible to imagine Schebler approaching the 380 at bats this year that he enjoyed last year.  A lot would have to go wrong for the Reds to envision that happening.  If healthy, Yasiel Puig and Nick Senzel will be in the line-up almost everyday.  In left field, you could possibly see a dangerous platoon of the left-handed hitting Jesse Winker and the slugging right handed bat of Matt Kemp

Last year the 25-year-old Winker wore out right-handed pitching to the tune of a .321/.418/.455 slash line.  Kemp displayed ridiculous power numbers against lefties slugging .508 with 11 homers and 10 doubles in only 183 at bats.

In addition, second year outfielder Phillip Ervin has nothing left to prove by going back to Triple-A Louisville.  The former first-round pick from Samford University can also play all three outfield positions and adds a speed component which Schebler simply does not possess.

Ervin swiped 6 bases in 7 attempts last year for the Reds and has stolen more than 30 bases in multiple seasons in his minor league career.  His speed on the basepaths can be a game changer in close late game situations.  While the 26-year-old Ervin may never justify his first round selection, he has the tools to play at the big league level for years to come.

As if the Cincinnati Reds outfield waters weren’t murky enough, on February 19th they signed free agent utility player Derek Dietrich.  He has spent parts of the past six seasons playing all over the diamond for the Miami Marlins.  Dietrich played 97 games last year in left field, but over his career he has logged more than 75 games in a season not only in left, but also at second and third base.

In 499 plate appearances in 2018, Dietrich smacked 16 home runs and compiled a .265/.330/.421 slash line.  Those numbers are similar to what Schebler provided, but the 29-year-old Dietrich offers much more to the club in terms of versatility and is not eligible for free agency until the 2021 campaign.

At this point in his career, the greatest value Schebler provides the Reds is his trade value.  Barring a fiasco, Yasiel Puig will spend the entire 2019 season in the Queen City.  It would take a trade of unforeseen circumstances to move either Nick Senzel or Jesse Winker.  As for Matt Kemp, he’s 34-years-old and in the final year of a contract that will pay him $21M this season.  Good luck acquiring anything substantial in return for him.

Unfortunately for Scott Schebler, beyond the 2019 season does not look much brighter for his future in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. Even with the pending free agency of both Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp following this season two of the Reds top prospects, Taylor Trammell and Jose Siri, will be competing for spots on the Reds roster.

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Scott Schebler has tools which could benefit another team.  A left-handed hitting power hitter with the ability to play all three outfield positions is attractive, however it’s best for Schebler and the Cincinnati Reds if he continues his career in another locale.