Top Reds prospect Nick Senzel, who was recently reassigned to minor league camp, incurred a right ankle sprain while sliding into second base during a minor league game and will be in a walking boot for seven to 14 days, the team announced. As president of baseball operations Dick Williams tells Bobby Nightengale Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Senzel will require multiple weeks to get back up to speed once he’s out of the boot.
Cincinnati assigned Senzel to minor league camp earlier this week — a move that was met with noted protest from agent Joel Wolfe, who called the decision a “simply egregious case of service-time manipulation” in a statement to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Whether the move was indeed fueled by service time — the Reds can at least plausibly maintain that they’d like Senzel to continue getting reps in center field after shifting there from the infield just this spring — the injury will definitively keep in the minors long enough for the Reds to garner an additional year of club control over the former No. 2 overall draft pick (2015). Assuming Senzel is called up to the Majors later this season and sticks, he’ll be controlled through the 2025 season and, depending on the exact date he’s called up, would be eligible for arbitration after either the 2021 season (if he’s a Super Two player) or the 2022 season.
With Senzel sidelined, Scott Schebler will now get a lengthier look as the primary center fielder with the Reds to begin the 2019 season. He’ll be flanked by Jesse Winker, Yasiel Puig and (more occasionally) Matt Kemp in the outfield for at least the first few weeks of the season.