Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett made clear today that he does not anticipate being traded, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Rather, the first-time All-Star says he has been given indication that the team would prefer to make him a part of the long-term picture.
Indeed, Gennett’s comments seemingly suggest that there’s even some contemplation of a long-term arrangement. Sheldon writes that “no serious talks” have taken place to this point, but that “a line of communication has been opened.” Perhaps it’s possible that mid-season talks will be pursued in some earnest, but that’s not particularly clear at this time.
What is apparent is that Gennett believes he won’t be putting on a new uniform in the next few weeks. As he puts it:
“Just from the talks that I’ve had with the guys in control of all those things, I feel like they want me here. I feel like, just from what I’ve been told, they want me here for the long term. What I’m getting is [CEO Bob Castellini] wants me here for a while.”
That dovetails with what Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports hears — namely, that some “sources familiar with Reds [sic] are dubious that the team has any intent of dealing him.” The note regarding Castellini is particularly interesting, as his preferences are of obviously critical importance and have evidently come to bear directly in the recent past. Though GM Nick Krall certainly did not give anything away in his comments to Sheldon, he did emphasize how much the team values Gennett.
Gennett, of course, has thrived since landing in Cincinnati via waiver claim before the 2017 season. There was cause to doubt the sustainability of his output last year, but he has only boosted it thus far. Through 374 plate appearances this year, Gennett carries an outstanding .326/.372/.518 batting line with 15 home runs.
That being said, there’s still reason to believe some regression could be in store, as his .371 batting average on balls in play doesn’t seem sustainable. In particular, it’s tough to imagine Gennett will keep up his current pace against left-handed pitching while carrying only a 3.7% walk rate to go with a healthy .389 BABIP.
No matter precisely how one views the 28-year-old, there’s no question that he’s a valuable asset. For the Reds, both evident possibilities — trade or hold and try to extend — are surely tantalizing. Despite an injury-riddled year, infield prospect Nick Senzel still seems to be a key long-term asset, providing added impetus to the idea of making a move. Cashing in Gennett might help other areas — notably, a pitching staff that’s still in need of long-term pieces despite some promising signs of late. At the same time, a long-term deal with the Cincinnati native would no doubt prove popular with fans. With the team expressing growing confidence in its core group of talent and preparing to increase its MLB spending, perhaps Gennett will be worth more to this organization than any other.