Scooter Gennett has been absolutely incredible in Cincinnati over the last year and a half. Originally claimed off of waivers from Milwaukee by the Reds, Gennett was a promising addition to the Reds’ lineup.
Scooter’s four home run game in 2017 put him in the forefront of every Reds fan’s mind. Then, this season, Gennett leads all National League hitters in batting average. Tuesday, he hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of his first All-Star Game. Gennett has been unstoppable from the plate, he is a Southwest Ohio native, and is one of the most exciting and lighthearted players in baseball. It is no wonder that he has quickly become a fan favorite in Cincinnati.
While Gennett has been the topic of trade talk for much of the last month, reports show that Cincinnati may be leaning towards an extension. Still, let’s take a look at the options that face the Reds’ front office.
Should the Reds trade away Scooter Gennett?
After a breakout season in 2017, Gennett has demonstrated his consistency in 2018. In fact, he has gotten even better. Currently, Gennett leads the National League in batting average at .326. Among second basemen, Gennett is ahead of Jose Altuve in wOBA, and second to the reigning MVP in wRC+. This should make Gennett one of the most coveted trade prospects for the 2018 deadline. Any contender that wants to add a consistent bat to their lineup should take a look at the second baseman in Cincinnati.
The Dodgers have been linked as a possible suitor if they are unable to secure the Orioles’ Manny Machado (via Twitter). If the Reds are able to trade Gennett at his high point, they should get an abundance of necessary pitching in return. The desperate need for pitching makes dealing Gennett an enticing option for this front office.
Trade away after the deadline
While it is always optimal to sell high, the Reds can afford to wait until after the deadline if they wish to trade Scooter Gennett. Cincinnati still has control over Gennett for another year under arbitration. If need be, the front office could choose to move Gennett on waivers, in the offseason, or even at the 2019 deadline. Still, Gennett’s stock right now is at the highest it has ever been.
Sign to an extension
Some clamored for Cincinnati to sign Gennett to an extension this past offseason instead of going through arbitration. If that route had been taken, the Reds likely could have secured Gennett for much cheaper than they will be able to now. Still, Cincinnati had reason to pause. Up and coming talent in Nick Senzel and Dilson Herrera provided a positional predicament. Also, nobody could be certain that Gennett’s breakout season could be replicated. Or, in this season’s case, improved upon.
Nonetheless, an extension is still looking to be the most likely outcome of this deadline.
There are a number of difficult pros and cons that come with signing Gennett. Pros: keeping a fan favorite from the Cincinnati area, and the Reds’ offense retains the hottest hitter in the National League. The cons come with the future players situated behind Gennett.
Jose Peraza is already beginning to solidify his spot as the starting shortstop in Cincinnati. Dilson Herrera has been making an impact at the Major League level over the last couple of weeks. Nick Senzel has suffered a season-ending injury in AAA, but is still the top prospect in the Reds organization. This creates a problem of Cincinnati having too many promising athletes, and too few positions to play.
If Gennett is signed to an extension, it likely would be at max a two to three-year deal. If that is the route taken, I would like to see him moved to the outfield to make room for Senzel/Herrera at second. Plus, an outfield of Schebler/Hamilton, Winker and Gennett would make it one of the best hitting outfields in the National League.
Whatever Cincinnati decides to do, I think all Reds fans can agree that this time with Scooter Gennett has been beyond fun. If they trade him away, expect some much-needed pitching in exchange. If Gennett is signed, look forward to great hitting and maybe a couple more All-Star appearances along the way.
What to expect
At the end of it all, I expect Cincinnati to sign Scooter Gennett to a two-year deal. Dealing Gennett would yield an impressive return, primarily in pitching, but it is appearing less likely that the Reds will go that route. Cincinnati will likely trade at least Matt Harvey and Adam Duvall. The front office should focus solely on pitching with any trade made at the deadline. If they can get a solid return for Duvall and Harvey, then keeping Gennett would be a major boost to the future of this offense.
If dealing Duvall and Harvey do not produce what the Reds are looking for, then trading Gennett is the best option for Cincinnati to bolster their pitching staff.