5 former Reds players off to troubling starts in spring training

These former Reds players are not starting off on the right foot.

Washington Nationals infielder Nick Senzel
Washington Nationals infielder Nick Senzel / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds have endured a lot of roster turnover in recent years. With the team essentially going all-in on a rebuild prior to the 2022 season and then watching several first-year players debut in 2023, it's safe to say there are a lot of former Reds playing for different teams this spring.

Players like Eugenio Suárez and Luis Castillo are off to solid starts during spring training. Geno has an OPS over 1.000 with his new club in Arizona, while Castillo has racked up eight punch outs in eight innings for the Seattle Mariners. Joey Votto hasn't played a game yet for his new team, and former pitcher Michael Lorenzen remains unsigned.

But there are a number of former Reds players who are playing this spring, but have gotten off on the wrong foot. Whether that affects their ability to be part of an Opening Day roster or limits their playing time once the season begins remains to be seen. But these five former Reds players better hope their spring struggles don't carryover into the regular season.

5 former Reds players off to troubling starts in spring training

Kyle Farmer, Twins SS

Farmer was beloved during his time in Cincinnati, and the Reds traded the infielder prior to the start of the 2023 season in exchange for pitching prospect Casey Legumina. Farmer landed with the Minnesota Twins and appeared in 120 games last season. Farmer suffered a gruesome injury early on during the season after he was hit in the face by a Lucas Giolito fastball.

Farmer is struggling so far this spring. The veteran infielder has just five hits through the first nine games of spring, and his roster spot is in question. With Carlos Correa, Edouard Julien, and Royce Lewis, Farmer is seen as a bench bat, not a starter.

After acquiring Manuel Margot in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Willi Castro's strong spring campaign, there are questions surrounding Farmer's future with the Twins organization.

Nick Senzel, Nationals 3B

A former top prospect in the Reds organization, Senzel is off to a poor start with his new club. After being non-tendered by Cincinnati earlier this offseason, Senzel signed a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals.

The Nats chose to insert Senzel into their starting lineup as a third baseman. When Senzel was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the Reds envisioned Senzel as their third baseman of the future. But the position was under lock and key by the time Senzel made it to The Show, and the Reds made the unpopular move to shift him into the outfield.

This spring, Senzel has hit just hit just .188 and struck out over 40% of the time. Carter Keiboom, who was a first-round pick in that same 2016 draft, hasn't performed well enough this spring to push Senzel out of the starting lineup. But Senzel is on a one-year "prove it" deal to show that he can be an everyday player after operating a platoon bat for the Reds in 2023. So far, Senzel has struggled to find his footing with the Nats.

Mike Moutakas, White Sox DH

Why any GM would pay Moustakas any amount of money to play baseball after watching his performance the past several seasons is a mystery. But apparently the Chicago White Sox believe Moose still has something left in the tank.

This spring is proving that's probably not the case. Moustakas, who received a non-roster invite to White Sox camp, has a .382 OPS with eight strikeouts. As desperate as the Sox might be this season, Moustakas is currently on the outside looking in.

The Reds paid Moustakas $22 million to play elsewhere in 2023 and his 112 games played with the Los Angeles Angels and Colorado Rockies in 2023 was the most he's played since the 143 games he played with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019. Moustakas' four-year, $64 million could go down as the worst in Reds history.

Curt Casali, Marlins C

Casali is one of the more well-liked Reds players who's set foot on the field at Great American Ball Park over the past few seasons. After backing up Tucker Barnhart during his first stint with the Reds, Casali returned last year to platoon alongside Tyler Stephenson and Luke Maile.

Casali suffered an injury midway through the season, and never got back behind the plate. Known as a coach on the field, Casali didn't produce enough to warrant being brought back for another season and his mutual-option was declined.

Casali inked a minor-league deal with the Miami Marlins this offseason and received an invite to spring training. Known more for his glove than his bat, the 35-year-old is going to have to hit better than .067 if his hopes to break camp with the Fish this season.

Hunter Renfroe, Royals OF

Renfroe was supposed to bolster the Reds' hitting down the stretch last season. After being plucked off waivers along with Harrison Bader, Renfroe was installed into the Cincinnati lineup on a regular basis with hopes of giving the Reds' bats the push they needed to make a run at the playoffs.

But in 14 games, Renfroe hit just .128 and posted a .432 OPS before he was designated for assignment. Renfroe was somehow able to con Kansas City into signing him to a two-year, $13 million contract this offseason. This spring, Renfroe is hitting .143 with a .343 OPS. The Royals are hoping Renfroe doesn't put up the same numbers in 2024 that he did for the Reds in 2023

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