July 31 is an exciting day no matter where your team stands. Whether a team is contending for a shot at the postseason or trying to rebuild for the future, it is a key date for most clubs. Unfortunately, in Cincinnati, they will be on the rebuilding side.
Potential Players on the Trading Block
The Reds have two trade chips they could consider moving, Raisel Iglesias and Scooter Gennett. Iglesias will demand a decent return because there are always contenders looking to boost their bullpen. Gennett, however, is a question mark come deadline day. The old saying always goes, if you can hit, you will find a way to be in the lineup. Gennett’s case is no different. The 28-year old Cincinnati native has earned himself a spot in the lineup. While defense may not exactly be his area of expertise, his bat more than makes up for his shortcomings with his glove.
When the Reds claimed Gennett off the waiver wire before the 2017 season, they figured they were just securing their infield depth. Little did they know that they were acquiring a player who would provide a year and a half of solid contributions at the plate.
Gennett and the Reds
Gennett’s most notable outing, was on June 6, 2017, where he became the first player in MLB history to record five hits, four home runs and 10 RBIs. Besides his historic performance, he is arguably the most consistent producer at the plate, outside of Joey Votto and a healthy Eugenio Suarez. He had a 2.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in 2017, and has already topped that number this season at 2.5, after only 63 games. He leads the league in batting average with an absurd .340 mark, and while that number is more than likely unsustainable, he has shown that his last season and a half is no fluke.
Gennett became a fan favorite almost immediately. He was brought in with low expectations, because he was considered to be a backup second baseman, and had the name Scooter. It was hard for anyone to dislike him. When he had a historic game in his third month with the club, followed by consistent performances throughout the season, is when he became a player the team had to view as someone who may not just be another forgettable name in the franchise’s history. It is obviously never a problem when a player produces at the level Gennett has been, the problem, however, is deciding what to do with him.
Future with the Club
While it may be hard to swallow, the right move would be to deal Gennett. It is uncertain if he will continue to produce at the high level we are witnessing now, and for a franchise that is still trying to figure out the right way to rebuild, it would be smarter to get younger. There are many teams that could use a better second baseman, especially one with power at the plate, a rarity for the position.
The Seattle Mariners currently have Dee Gordon at second base, a position he has played throughout his career, but have made it clear that he is not who they want in the middle of their infield, just a temporary fix since all-star Robinson Cano was suspended. Other teams leading their divisions or close to the top such as the Cleveland Indians or the Boston Red Sox, to name a few could also benefit by upgrading at second base. With how Scooter hits, especially against right-handed pitching, almost any American League team could improve their roster by adding a player of his caliber.
With that being said, the Reds should not desperately try to ship Gennett. He has only produced at this high of a level for a season and a half. While that is not the smallest sample size, it is small enough to where a team trying to rebuild could be swindled for a weak return, especially when the player is 28-years old. Recently, veterans like Justin Turner and J.D. Martinez have proved that late bloomers exist. If the Reds do decide to trade Gennett when the trade deadline comes, they need to be able to convince other teams that he will bring the same value the two aforementioned NL West sluggers have provided for their clubs.
Time to Start Looking
There is still a little under two months before the trade deadline, but it approaches quicker than one would think. The Reds need to begin trade talks about their second baseman that looks like one of the premier pieces come deadline day. This is not to say they have to deal him anytime soon, but it is a good time to gauge other teams’ interest in Gennett.
As July 31 approaches, teams will become more desperate to improve their club. There is always the possibility of injuries, which could lead the way for teams with more depth in their minor league system to be in need of a second baseman or designated hitter. Teams like the first place Mariners may feel more inclined to give up their top prospects if they believe the first third of the season is not a fluke, but a roster that has what it takes to lead them to the promised land come October.
It is not often that a player can draw the love and attention from the crowd that Scooter does, especially while producing at the level he does, and not just for having a ridiculous nickname. It is even harder to watch that player leave the club, but if the Reds can find pieces to potentially contribute in the rebuild, it would be a proper time to say goodbye to the kid from Cincinnati.
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