Why Reds centerfielder Nick Senzel will receive 1 more season to prove himself

Cincinnati Reds centerfielder Nick Senzel.
Cincinnati Reds centerfielder Nick Senzel. / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

There's a portion of Reds Country who's ready for the Cincinnati Reds to cut Nick Senzel loose this offseason. While there may some justification for the fanbase's lack of patience, recent history suggests that Cincinnati will give Senzel one more season to prove that he's worth keeping.

Senzel has struggled with injuries throughout his career. The former first-round pick had several nagging injuries throughout his minor league career, plus a bout with vertigo. The injury bug followed Senzel to the big leagues, and to this point, have defined the centerfielder's career.

This season, while Senzel has made a few trips to the injured list due to illness, he has been able to avoid long stints on the IL. But the 27-year-old has struggled at the plate. On the season, Senzel is hitting just .237/.303/.307 with four home runs and 24 RBIs. However, Reds fans should expect Senzel to return next season.

Reds CF Nick Senzel will receive 1 more season to prove himself.

It's fair for Reds fans to be disappointed in Nick Senzel's career to this point. A lot of expectations come along with being the No. 2 overall pick in the MLB Draft and up until now, Senzel has failed to meet those expectations. But don't look for the Reds to move on quite yet.

First, the idea of trading Senzel is downright silly. Fans were upset when Eugenio Suarez was packaged with Jesse Winker this past spring and sent to Seattle. Why? Because the Cincinnati Reds were selling low on Geno. If the Reds decided to trade Senzel this winter, they'd be doing the exact same thing. His trade value is not very high.

The Reds also have a track record of hanging onto first-round draft picks in an attempt to unlock that potential that saw them taken so high in the first place. Former first-round picks Alex Blandino, Phil Ervin, Robert Stephenson, and Drew Stubbs all played at least four years in the bigs before Cincinnati decided to move on.

The Reds also do not have a true successor to Nick Senzel in center field. Yes, TJ Friedl has played well, and will certainly push Senzel for playing time next season. With Friedl being a left-handed hitter, one can easily see David Bell going with a platoon of Senzel and Friedl up the middle next season.

There've also been whispers of moving Senzel around in a "super utility" type of role next season. Whether that happens or not has yet to be determined, but Senzel played second and third base throughout his college and minor league career, so it's definitely conceivable that the University of Tennessee product could take on that type of workload.

Finally, Senzel is under team control for three more seasons. The Cincinnati Reds are not the type of organization to give up on talent that has so many controllable years remaining. Senzel also has minor league options remaining as well. While it's doubtful the club would option Senzel to Triple-A, Cincinnati does have that card to play as well.

Nick Senzel, after two days off, has changed his approach at the plate. Will it yield better results? Only time will tell. That skillset that saw Senzel taken with the second-overall pick in 2016 is still in there somewhere. But he'll need to showcase it next season in order to remain part of the Reds' long-term plans.

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