Scooter Gennett is just a couple weeks away from a return to the Cincinnati Reds lineup. What will Derek Dietrich’s role be once Scooter is back?
Scooter Gennett hasn’t set foot on the baseball diamond all season after being sidelined with a groin strain he suffered during Spring Training. However, Gennett is beginning a rehab assignment in Daytona and will be back with Cincinnati Reds very soon. What will Derek Dietrich’s role be when the Reds’ All-Star second baseman returns to action.
Zach Dean, a reporter for the Daytona Beach News Journal, reported that Gennett is hopeful to rejoin the Reds by the end of next week. While that’s great news for Reds Country, Derek Dietrich might not be as excited to see Scooter return to the lineup.
While I’m not saying that Dietrich will be upset that Gennett is back on the field, every player is a competitor and wants the opportunity to play as often as possible. With Dietrich snagging a lion’s share of starts at second base, it’ll be interesting to see how manager David Bell divides up the playing time.
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Obviously the Reds are ecstatic to get Gennett’s bat back in the lineup and we’ll likely see last year’s All-Star second baseman start the majority of the team’s games at second base. Gennett hit .310 with 93 RBIs last season and will likely find a nice spot as the team’s cleanup hitter. I can’t see Scooter hitting any lower than No. 6 in the batting order upon his return.
José Iglesias has locked up his starting spot at shortstop. While José Peraza has been relegated to a super-utility player with the ability to play several spots in both the infield and outfield, we may see some more of the 24-year-old spelling Iglesias at short.
With both Jesse Winker and Derek Dietrich being left-handed, a platoon of those two in left field would be somewhat odd. There could be some nights when Winker spells Yasiel Puig in right field, but those would be few and far between as Puig is Cincinnati’s best defensive outfielder.
With Eugenio Suárez being the Cincinnati Reds’ best player, it’s hard to see Dietrich stealing time away from him at third base. The same could be said for Joey Votto, who rarely misses a start and is one of the Reds’ best hitters.
In the end, I’d expect Derek Dietrich to get 2-3 starts per week, depending on the matchup, and also fill the role as Cincinnati’s left-handed pinch-hitter off the bench. When Gennett returns, we’ll likely see Josh VanMeter sent back to Triple-A Louisville.
Dietrich has been incredibly valuable for the Cincinnati Reds this season and I can’t see him becoming just a forgotten player at the end of the bench. However, Scooter Gennett is a proven major league player and he’s sure to get the majority of playing time at second base when he returns.