3 players the Reds should non-tender this offseason, but probably won't

Aristides Aquino, Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds
Aristides Aquino, Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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As the Cincinnati Reds enter the final stretch of the 2022 season, 100 losses is very much in play. Should Cincinnati drop four of their final six games, they match the dubious distinction set 40 years ago by John McNamara's group.

When a team loses 100 games, or even becomes dangerously close to it, significant changes need to be made. Whether it's to the coaching staff, front office, or the roster itself, losing 100 games amounts to nothing short of a failed season.

With that idea in mind, the Reds have just two players (Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas) under contract for next season. Of course, Cincinnati can tender contract to pre-arbitration eligible players and work out deals with those who are arbitration eligible.

The non-tender deadline usually falls at the end of November or the beginning of December. Let's look at three Reds players that should be non-tendered this season, but probably won't be.

1. Reds infielder Matt Reynolds should be non-tendered, but probably won't be.

Matt Reynolds is a solid, yet unspectacular player who just goes out and does his job. The 31-year-old veteran is one of the more versatile players on the Cincinnati roster, as he's played every position this season with the exception of catcher. On a team filled with so many young players, it's nice to have Reynolds on the squad.

But the Reds have plenty of versatile infielders already on the roster, and most of them are younger than Reynolds. While Reynolds gets the most out of his ability, it would be a shame to see the Oklahoma native taking opportunities from the likes of Spencer Steer, Alejo Lopez, Matt McLain, and even Nick Senzel is the Reds decide to move him back to the infield.

The Cincinnati Reds already have a versatile, experienced infielder who can play multiple positions in Kyle Farmer. With Mike Moustakas' 2023 status up in the air, it just seems as though there won't be enough room for Reynolds on the roster.

That said, the Cincinnati Reds have an affinity for veteran players who can play multiple positions. Don't be surprised if Matt Reynolds survives the non-tender deadline and is line to find a spot on the Reds 2023 Opening Day roster.

2. Reds outfielder Aristides Aquino should be non-tendered, but probably won't be.

It really is hard to believe that Aristides Aquino is still on the Cincinnati Reds roster. Make no mistake, fans throughout Reds Country would love nothing more than to see The Punisher find consistent success at the major league level. But it's something that's alluded him throughout his entire career.

Aquino is hitting .198/.248/.364 and has 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. The most troubling stat from that slash line is the on-base percentage. For his career, Aquino's OBP is below .300, but a .435 slugging percentage still brings his career-OPS up to .721.

Aquino gives a manager and front office so much to dream on. He has a cannon for an arm, plus-speed, and elite-level power. Aquino is one tool short of being a five-tool player. Unfortunately, his below-average bat makes him a liability in the lineup, as he oftentimes looks as though he has no idea what pitch is coming his way.

Aquino has always had a high strikeout-rate, and that's something that most managers can live with if the player offsets it by crushing 30-plus home runs or at least posting a walk-rate above 10.0%. Aquino has done neither and, according to FanGraphs, his BB/K of 0.17 is at an all-time low.

But, the Cincinnati Reds seem hold on to Aristides Aquino the same way that a toddler clings to his pacifier. While the Reds should non-tender Aquino this winter, it just seems unlikely. Do not be shocked in the least if The Punisher is the Reds Opening Day right fielder next season.

3. Reds outfielder Nick Senzel should be non-tendered, but probably won't be.

Oh, what might have been. Nick Senzel was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Senzel was supposed to be an advanced hitter coming out of the University of Tennessee and was expected to be a middle-of-the-order bat that would be cornerstone for years to come.

Fast-forward six years and Senzel has played in just 273 games in the major leagues. The 27-year-old has ended three of his four seasons on the IL, and just this season eclipsed 105 games played in a season. Most of Senzel's injuries have been obscure and odd, but nonetheless, the former first-round pick jus can't seem to stay healthy.

Some will blame his inability to stay on the field on the Reds decision to transition the former third baseman to the outfield. While there's probably some truth to that, Senzel incurred a number of injuries in the minors while playing on the infield dirt as well.

Will the Cincinnati Reds really non-tender a former first-round pick? That's highly unlikely. Let's not forget that Robert Stephenson was given every opportunity to find success in the big leagues despite multiple failures. Fans have already seen how many chances Aristides Aquino has received and he does not have the same amount of clout as Senzel.

If Cincinnati decides to keep Nick Senzel heading into next season, his role with the club needs to be re-evaluated. The Reds can no longer trot out the Atlanta native on a regular basis as the team's starting centerfielder. Players like TJ Friedl, Stuart Fairchild, and even Mike Siani have proven to be better defenders and more durable

Look for the Cincinnati Reds to head into next season with Nick Senzel occupying a spot on the 40-man roster. Allowing him the opportunity to find success as a utility player should be the team's goal.

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