3 players who could replace Nick Senzel if the Reds centerfielder lands on the IL

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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Nick Senzel may be headed to the Injured List. While it's been a familiar place for the former first-round pick in the past, Senzel has been relatively healthy for the Cincinnati Reds this season. However, Senzel injured his hamstring in a game versus the Philadelphia Phillies last week and did not appear in the most series against the Washington Nationals.

Senzel has has spent 24 days on the Injured List this season, but has been on the active roster since late-May after two trips to the IL for non-injury related issues. Senzel's first three seasons in the majors had been marred by multiple trips to the IL. So far this season, Senzel has appeared in 91 games.

The MRI came back clean, so if the 27-year-old winds up on the IL it's not expected to be for very long. However, the Reds can only backdate the injury for three days, so if an IL placement is looming, today's the day.

The Reds have been tinkering with the idea of transforming Senzel into a super utility player. His ability to play the infield and the outfield could be a tremendous benefit next season. But who might the Reds look to if Senzel is headed to the IL later today?

1. The Reds could replace Nick Senzel with Michael Papierski.

While it seems complicated, the simplest, and most logical transaction would be to place Nick Senzel on the 10-day IL, transfer Mike Moustakas to the 60-day IL, option one of the team's relievers to Triple-A, recall Michael Papierski, and select the contract of Chase Anderson.

Anderson was signed to a minor league deal and is scheduled to start today's game versus the St. Louis Cardinals. The right-hander has to be added to both the 40-man and the Reds cannot have more than 13 pitchers. This would satisfy both criteria. Moustakas has a calf strain, and it sounds as if Cincinnati's $64M man is done for the remainder of the 2022 season.

Michael Papierski is already on the 40-man roster, but would be little more than a bench bat until either Albert Almora Jr. or Matt Reynolds return from the IL. You can be sure that Chase Anderson will be added to the roster today, but will the transaction be this simple or might the Cincinnati front office need to get more creative?

2. The Reds could replace Nick Senzel with Spencer Steer.

Now this would be music to Reds Country's ears. The Cincinnati faithful are waiting with bated-breath for Spencer Steer to make his major league debut. While it may happen before the end of the 2022 season, this might not be the time or place.

Steer has played quite well for the Reds Triple-A affiliate since arriving from the Minnesota Twins organization at the trade deadline. Along with Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Steve Hajjar, Steer was part of the trade that sent Tyler Mahle to Minnesota.

Steer has been on a roll at Triple-A Louisville. The 24-year-old is hitting .301/.389/.470 during his time with the Bats and has eight extra-base hits in 21 games. But, there's a catch. Steer would have to be added to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster.

Now that's not too big of an ask, as the former third-round pick will need to be added to the 40-man roster during the offseason in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. So the question then become, do the Cincinnati Reds really want Steer to accrue service time?

If the team views Steer as part of next year's Opening Day roster, there's little lost in adding him to the roster right now. But, if like the organization did with Nick Senzel, they prefer to preserve an extra year of service time, fans may have to wait until next May to see Spencer Steer make his major league debut.

Steer has a little less than 300 at-bats in Triple-A this season and has kept his strikeout-rate below 20% while posting a wRC+ of 122 according to FanGraphs. The Reds could certainly use that bat in their lineup and Steer has the versatility to play multiple defensive positions.

3. The Reds could replace Nick Senzel with Isiah Gilliam.

If the Cincinnati Reds feel the need to replace Nick Senzel with a right-handed hitting outfielder, perhaps Isiah Gilliam will get his first opportunity in the major leagues. A former draft pick of the New York Yankees back in 2015, Gilliam has performed well in the minors this season.

Seeing as how Gilliam is not as highly-touted as player like Spencer Steer, the concerns about service time would not be present. However, the team would still need to select him contract from Triple-A Louisville, which would require a player to be removed from the 40-man roster.

Max Schrock is another name to watch today. Both he and Mike Moustakas may be out for the rest of the 2022 season. Schrock has been plagued by injuries all season, and just when it looked as though the utility player wasa ready to rejoin the club, he suffered a knee injury that's kept him out of action for the month of August. Schrock could be headed to the 60-day IL to make room on the roster.

Isiah Gilliam has hit .282/.366/.508 during his stops at both Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville this season. In his 33 games with the Louisville Bats, Gilliam is hitting .267/.340/.489 with a wRC+ of 118 according to FanGraphs.

The Cincinnati Reds outfield is beginning to get a bit crowded with the recent stellar play of the likes of TJ Friedl and Jake Fraley. Stuart Fairchild has shown some power of late and Aristides Aquino continues to cut down runners at the plate. The recent success of those outfielder was a big reason why the Reds decided to explore moving Nick Senzel into a super utility role.

The outfield may be overflowing with potential at the moment, but none of those mentioned have shown an ability to secure an everyday spot in the lineup. If Isiah Gilliam gets the call, he's going to need to prove his worth and do so quickly.