After adding another significant free agent to their lineup, the Reds may not be finished. The club is “considering” finding a deal involving top young talent Nick Senzel, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter).
It doesn’t appear that there’s a specific deal already lined up, but the signing of Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year contract further crowds the outfield mix, representing the latest move that seems to limit the opportunities for Senzel.
While Senzel was heralded as a potential franchise centerpiece, he hasn’t quite found a fit yet in Cincinnati. At various points since he was selected second overall in the 2016 draft, the versatile 24-year-old has been tasked with lining up at second base, third base, shortstop, and center field.
As presently constituted, the Reds would seem likely to deploy Senzel in some kind of outfield timeshare while perhaps also giving him some innings in the infield. But there’s an obvious alternative, laden with both risk and upside: cashing him in via trade.
Just what might be contemplated isn’t yet clear. The roster’s one glaring area for improvement is shortstop, though perhaps there’s still room to add pitching and the team has long been said to have interest in finding a more offensively capable catcher. Senzel has exhausted his prospect eligibility, but he’s still the type of controllable, MLB-ready asset who could conceivably be a headliner in a package to acquire any of the myriad high-profile trade targets who’ve been discussed over the course of the winter.
There’ll surely be wide interest in Senzel, who could be plugged right into a lineup and remains controllable through the 2025 season. His debut effort wasn’t a grand slam; he slashed .256/.315/.427 (90 wRC+) with a dozen home runs in 414 plate appearances last year. But that’s hardly a miserable showing for a rookie and he’s still seen as possessing ample talent with the bat. The positional versatility makes him a potential fit just about anywhere and the contract situation is a huge positive.