Reds rumors: Trading Mike Moustakas opens the infield for Nick Senzel

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Mike Moustakas #9 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Mike Moustakas #9 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

These latest Reds rumors actually make sense.

We’ve seen out fair share of Reds rumors thus far this winter; some are believable, while others are complete hogwash. However, if Jeff Passan’s report is accurate, the Cincinnati Reds may be having buyer’s remorse after last offseason’s signing. Passan reports that the Reds are gauging interest in Mike Moustakas, a move that would open up second base for Nick Senzel.

To this point, many of the rumors surrounding the Cincinnati Reds have made zero sense. The idea of dealing Luis Castillo makes absolutely no sense at all. Trading Eugenio Suárez, while unpopular, could bring back a nice haul. Dealing Sonny Gray would certainly reduce the payroll. But, trading Moustakas would open up an everyday spot for Senzel.

The Reds made the terrible mistake two years to move their former first-round pick from the infield to the outfield grass. Now, I understand the reasoning behind the move, but attempting to get Senzel’s bat into the everyday lineup didn’t need to coincide with moving him to a position he’s  never played and one’s that crucial to overall defense of a team.

Following the dismissal of Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati made the decision to switch Senzel from the infield to center field. Over the past two years, a rash of freakish injuries have limited the 25-year-old’s progress to just 127 total games.

However, seeing as how we’re not seeing Senzel’s name pop up in trade rumors, it’s sound reason to believe the front office still sees him as a key cog going forward. That, and he’s making the league minimum right now.

But, Mike Moustakas has the Reds over a barrel for another three years and is owed $48M. The 32-year-old signed the largest free agent contract in Cincinnati Reds history, but injuries during the 2020 season prevented Moose from making a true impact.

The left-handed slugger hit just .230/.331/.468. Those numbers aren’t awful, but that’s not the slash line Cincy expected to see after inking Moustakas to a four-year/$64M contract last winter. The same could be said for Nick Castellanos, and virtually every player on the team last season.

But, getting back to these latest Reds rumors, a move that ships Moustakas elsewhere could land Cincinnati a couple solid prospects and open up second base for Nick Senzel. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft was the heir apparent to Scooter Gennett after he was traded, but the Reds front office decided instead to sign Moustakas who played a grand total of 47 games at second base.

This is potential move I can get behind. I really enjoyed what Moustakas brought to the team in terms of leadership last season, but his salary certainly didn’t match his production. If the Reds could find a way to move Moose this offseason, they could kill two birds with one stone.

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If Mike Moustakas were traded, Nick Senzel could be the team’s everyday second baseman while Shogo Akiyama took up permanent residence in center field, and Jesse Winker platooned with Aristides Aquino in left. Castellanos wold maintain his spot in right field and Cincinnati would have effectively added some minor league talent, shed payroll, and decluttered the outfield.