How will the Reds handle the center field position in 2023?

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Michael Siani (67).
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Michael Siani (67). / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds have question marks all over the field, but none may be more glaring than center field. Nick Senzel, when he's not on the injured list, has been the team's primary centerfielder since 2019. But durability concerns and inconsistent play have dogged Senzel since his rookie season.

Senzel is now on the 60-day IL with a fractured toe and will miss the final week of the season. While the former first-round pick played a career-high 110 games in 2022, his status heading into the offseason is certainly in question.

While it seems highly unlikely that the Reds would actually part ways with Senzel this winter, the possibility is there. Cincinnati was also said to be exploring the idea of turning the University of Tennessee alum into a super utility player. So what might center field look like next season?

How will the Reds handle the center field position in 2023?

The easiest thing that the Cincinnati Reds could do is just trot out Nick Senzel as the team's Opening Day starter in center field. But that doesn't seem like a very sound strategy. Senzel has struggled to stay healthy throughout his minor league and major league career, and has been a below-average fielder on the outfield grass.

Furthermore, that advanced bat that was supposed to be Senzel's carrying tool has not carried him very far. Senzel posted just a .601 OPS in 2022 and has hi just .240/.303/.360 during his four seasons in Cincinnati.

The Reds recently selected the contract of Michael Siani who is a glove-first center field prospect. The 22-year-old registered his first major league hit on Tuesday night and was caught stealing. Though unsuccessful, Siani's speed is one of his greatest assets. That said, if he wants to become a regular in the Reds lineup, the former fourth-round pick will need to improve in the batters' box.

As for the Cincinnati Reds other options in center field, the club could decide to trot out a platoon of Stuart Fairchild (versus left-handed pitchers) and TJ Friedl (versus right-handed pitchers). The two rookies each have good speed, play solid defense, and have shown power in limited at-bats during the second-half of the 2022 season.

With so many internal options, Reds Country should not expect the front office to look for centerfielders during free agency. Albert Almora Jr., who represents one of the better defensive outfielders in the game, was already designated for assignment earlier this season.

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