Reds: Optioning Nick Senzel rather than releasing Sean Doolittle is insane

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 11: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds in action. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 11: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds in action. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds, on Sunday, decided to reinstate Nick Senzel from the 60-day injured list and then optioned the 26-year-old to Triple-A Louisville. Sending a versatile position player to Triple-A rather than dismissing a failing reliever like Sean Doolittle is pure insanity.

The Reds are currently carrying nine relievers, and while I can understand Nick Krall’s reasoning for keeping the extra pitcher at this time of the season, hanging onto a player like Doolittle while allowing Senzel to waste away in Triple-A doesn’t make any sense.

Optioning Nick Senzel to Triple-A was not the Reds best option.

Let’s be real here; optioning your former No. 2 overall pick in favor of a veteran reliever who’s well past his prime is not smart. It also does not bode well for Nick Senzel’s morale heading into the offseason.

It’s fair to argue that Senzel has underperformed during his time in the bigs, and we all know his injury history. But that should not have any bearing on whether or not your Opening Day centerfielder is left off the active roster at this point. Reds’ GM Nick Krall, via, said that he “felt the guys up here were playing well”. What?! Are we watching the same team?!

"“Well, right now, if we bring him to the club, who goes down? There’s only so many players that are optionable right now, and I think that’s the main factor — he had some flexibility. We felt the guys up here were playing well, so we want to keep this group together for right now and keep moving forward.”"

Sean Doolittle, whom the Reds signed to a $1.5M contract this offseason has a 1.554 WHIP and has just eight punch outs in 12 appearances since July 1st. Over his last nine outings, Doolittle owns a 6.75 ERA, allowing six hits and six runs in 6.2 innings.

It’s also not as if Doolittle would be the club’s only option either. Left-hander Amir Garrett and right-hander Heath Hembree could also be considered expendable. Garrett owns a 6.23 ERA and -0.2 WAR, while Hembree has been saddled with seven losses and a 5.40 ERA.

You’ve got the severely underperforming Eugenio Suarez hitting .173 with a 59 OPS+ and -2.4 WAR. You cannot convince me that Senzel is not a better option than Suarez. Even as a defensive replacement or right-handed bat off the bench, Senzel gives you more than Doolittle, Hembree, or Garrett.

You also can’t convince me that Aristides Aquino is a better option in center field versus left-handed pitchers than Nick Senzel. I’m a fan of Aquino, but The Punisher is hitting just .210 on the season.

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I’m sorry, this move just makes no sense. Any number of Cincinnati Reds players could have been optioned, released, or designated for assignment in order to squeeze Nick Senzel onto the active roster. This was a terrible decision.