Nick Senzel will officially begin the 2019 season in Triple-A Louisville. The question now becomes how long will the Cincinnati Reds wait before they call him up to the major leagues?
Though it was not exactly a shocking decision, the Cincinnati Reds angered a majority of their fan base on March 22nd when they announced that the team had reassigned several players to minor league camp. Among those included were Cody Reed, Sal Romano, Lucas Sims, and Phillip Ervin. But the biggest blow was the reassignment of No. 1 prospect Nick Senzel.
By now we all know that the Cincinnati Reds can gain an additional year of team control by delaying Senzel’s debut by about 15 days. Other teams are or have been in the same situations with their prospects and made the same decision. However, that doesn’t make it the right decision.
The Reds have done a lot this offseason to prove that the team is planning to contend in 2019 and make serious improvements to their ball club. The front office and coaching staff have been insistent that deciding to delay Senzel’s call-up was not a service time consideration. C’mon folks, Reds fans are smarter than that.
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Nick Senzel has been given every opportunity to learn how to play at center field during the offseason during Spring Training. I don’t think there are many fans who would argue that Senzel hasn’t proven himself capable of playing in center field. If the Reds truly want to put the best possible team on the field, take their 25 best players to Cincinnati for the start of the season, then Senzel should be on that list.
From a team and business standpoint, the decision makes sense. But, I would argue that if Senzel is as good as the Reds hope and think he can be, that additional year of team control would’ve already been engulfed by a long-term contract signed sometime between now and 2024.
The Cincinnati Reds have already negotiated a great contract extension with both Tucker Barnhart and Eugenio Suárez to keep them around for a while. There has also been lots of discussion about whether or not Scooter Gennett should receive a contract extension.
If the front office is really intent on proving that sending Senzel to Louisville to begin the season is to give him more experience at center field, then they will likely delay his call up until sometime in May. But I doubt that is the case. That timeframe will help the Reds avoid Senzel reaching Super 2 status, but that’s probably not in the cards.
Realistically this decision is not the worst thing they could’ve made, and we all really should have seen it coming. Most other teams do the exact same thing. At least we know that Scott Schebler is a very capable outfielder who brings a lot of power to the line-up. Both center field and second base will be well covered to begin the season.
I know a lot of fans are upset by this call, especially after Gennett’s injury, and I don’t disagree with them. But at the end of the day having an abundance of talented and versatile ballplayers in the Cincinnati Reds organization is a good problem to have.
Is it fair? No. Can I understand why it’s happening? Absolutely. No matter where he begins the season, I can’t imagine a scenario where Nick Senzel’s major league debut is delayed more than a month or two.