The Cincinnati Reds and Nick Senzel have parted ways. Some would classify the former first-round pick as a bust. And while that's pretty harsh, it's hard to ignore the fact that over his career Senzel has posted a -1.8 bWAR and has a career-OPS of .671.
Senzel was supposed to be the best pure college hitter in the 2016 MLB Draft. The University of Tennessee standout was taken No. 2 overall and signed for $6.2-million.
And while so many Reds fans want to claim that the Reds "screwed up" by shifting Senzel from third base to center field, the fact of the matter is that both parties share equal blame for Senzel's shortcomings.
The Reds are not solely to blame for Nick Senzel's shortcomings
As is the case when almost any relationship turns sour, both parties are culpable in some way, shape, or form. Once it was revealed that Nick Senzel and his representation spoke with Cincinnati Reds management about his part-time role with the team, it was clear that this moment was coming.
Senzel had become little more than a defensive replacement and left-handed hitting specialist on last year's team. While his versatility to play multiple positions cannot be ignored, Senzel looked woeful against right-handed pitchers in 2023 and had become virtually unplayable.
Senzel's career with the Reds will be defined by his injuries. Even before his big league debut in 2019, Senzel was plagued bouts of veritgo and other various ailments. In fact, after being sent to minor league camp during spring training in 2019, Senzel suffered an ankle injury.
Nick Senzel ended 3 of his 5 major league seasons on the injured list
In 2019, Senzel landed on the IL in August after crashing into the outfield, effectively ending his season. In 2020, Senzel missed half of the abbreviated campaign with an illness.
In 2021, it was more of the same for the outfielder. Senzel suffered a knee injury in May that eventually landed him on the 60-day IL. After a rehab stint, it was apparent that Senzel was not healthy and once again, he ended the season on the injured list.
In 2022, Senzel had two short stints on the IL that spring, but fractured his toe near the end of the season and for the third time in four years, wound up on the injured list at the end of the season.
Nick Senzel began the 2023 season on the injured list as he continued to recover from offseason surgery. A knee injury saw him miss about two weeks in June, and Senzel was optioned to Triple-A last August after struggling both at the plate and in the field.
While some fans like poke fun at Senzel for being "fragile" or "made of glass", quite frankly the 28-year-old just plays hard. And when you play the game with such reckless abandon, the law of averages will catch up with you eventually.
Of the 677 games in which Senzel could have appeared in, he played in just 377. Senzel missed 300 games (45-percent) during his five years with the Cincinnati Reds. The best ability is "avail"-ability, and Senzel was never able to be a consistent contributor on the field.
The game of baseball is about adjustments, and while the Cincinnati Reds share some of the blame for Nick Senzel's shortcomings, when he was on the field, the former No. 2 overall pick did not produce.