How the acquisition of Will Benson changes the Reds lineup

Cleveland Guardians outfielder Will Benson
Cleveland Guardians outfielder Will Benson / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds made a trade with the Cleveland Guardians earlier this week. The Reds acquired outfielder Will Benson in exchange for prospect Justin Boyd and a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Benson brings tremendous power to a team that is definitely lacking in that area. Benson spent most of the 2022 season at Triple-A Columbus and smashed 17 home runs while slashing .279/.426/.522 and a wRC+ of 153 according to FanGraphs.

While Benson has familiarity playing all three spots, he has the arm strength to play right field and the speed to play up the middle. The question now becomes, how might the Reds use Benson in the outfield and how will he fit into the Reds lineup?

How the acquisition of Will Benson changes the Reds lineup.

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell loves to play the matchups. With Will Benson being a left-handed hitter, you can imagine that the 24-year-old would routinely get at-bats against right-handed pitchers.

Bell could deploy an outfield of Jake Fraley (LF), TJ Friedl (CF), and Benson (RF) with Wil Myers either playing first base or acting as the team's designated hitter. Myers could always occupy right field with Friedl in center field and Benson playing left.

Adding Benson to the Reds stable of outfielders also puts increased pressure on Nick Senzel this spring. The former first-round pick is already on thin ice, and after undergoing offseason surgery, it's questionable if the 27-year-old will even be ready by Opening Day.

Will Benson is an immediate upgrade over Alejo Lopez, who was designated for assignment. While Lopez had a knack for putting the ball in play, his lack of power was ultimately his undoing. Look for the Reds to attempt to re-sign him to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

Benson will factor in heavily to the Reds plans in 2023. If Joey Votto begins the season on the IL, like many suspect he will, then Benson's presence allows Cincinnati to shift the aforementioned Myers or even Tyler Stephenson to first base. In short, adding Benson to the Reds roster gives the club a lot more options than they had before his acquistion.

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