Reds could pick up this sneaky free agent acquisition to replace TJ Friedl

The Reds will be without TJ Friedl to begin the 2024 season.

Los Angeles Angels left fielder Jake Marisnick (10) hits a solo home run
Los Angeles Angels left fielder Jake Marisnick (10) hits a solo home run / Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds got a bit of bad news on Saturday when it was announced that TJ Friedl suffered a sprained right wrist. The bad news got worse on Sunday when MRI results confirmed a fracture that will sidelined the Reds outfielder for the start of the 2024 season.

Friedl will be reevaluated in three to four weeks, but this has the makings of an injury that could certainly test the Reds' perceived depth this season. At the moment, the plan is to deploy a combination of Will Benson and Stuart Fairchild in center field.

But Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall didn't rule out a possible addition either. While Michael A. Taylor just signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, there's another centerfielder who's likely to reenter the free agent market later this week. Might the Reds take a flier on Jake Marisnick?

Reds could pick up Jake Marisnick to replace TJ Friedl

The Reds could've absorbed an injury to almost any other player, but losing Friedl hurts both in the batters' box and in the field. Friedl was likely to be tabbed as the Reds leadoff hitter in 2024, and is arguably the only "true" centerfielder with any major league experience. The Reds could turn to a player like Jacob Hurtubise or Bubba Thompson, but neither is an ideal fit as an everyday player.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Marisnick is unlikely to break camp with the Los Angeles Angels and has an opt out in his contract on March 20th. While Marisnick isn't the table setter than Friedl is, the 32-year-old played above-average defense in center field and has been swinging a hot bat in the Cactus League. Marisnick is hitting .364/.382/.667 with three home runs, six RBI, and five stolen bases this spring.

Last season, Marisnick played in 46 games for three different teams, but was still worth 4 defensive runs saved (DRS) in center field. For his career, the 11-year veteran has 80 DRS. With infielders like Spencer Steer and Jonathan India being counted upon to log a lot of innings in the outfield, is it really wise to deploy Benson in center field having only played 14 games at that position?

With Taylor and Adam Duvall now off the market, there aren't many free agent upgrades the Reds can turn to with a little over one week left until Opening Day. Marisnick may not be Reds fans' first choice, but the options to temporarily replace Friedl are dwindling with each passing day.

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