Where will Yasiel Puig play?
-- @rich_trogden on Twitter Puig played right field for the large majority of his tenure with the Dodgers, and I'm betting that he will man that spot for the Reds as well.However, 67 of his 680 career games were spent in center field. The front
Where will Yasiel Puig play?
-- @rich_trogden on Twitter
Puig played right field for the large majority of his tenure with the Dodgers, and I'm betting that he will man that spot for the Reds as well.
However, 67 of his 680 career games were spent in center field. The front office hasn't ruled out using Puig there since there's currently not a natural center fielder on the roster. This brings us to a related next question.
Who is best suited on the active roster to handle center field duties?
-- @mkghstry on Twitter
The Reds are still looking outside the organization for a true center fielder to replace Billy Hamilton. If they are unsuccessful, they will have to look within.
Corner outfielder Scott Schebler made 16 starts in center field last season, and he has 44 over his career. Phillip Ervin has played some in center field, although his skills would really have to improve. We've already discussed the Puig option.
The X-factor is Nick Senzel, MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect in the organization. A natural infielder, Senzel got some reps in center field and left field in the fall instructional league, and the team believes he has the instincts and athleticism to handle the spot. If Senzel could handle the job, it would certainly solve the problem of finding him a place to play regularly in the big leagues.
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Because of the cozy setup at Great American Ball Park, the Reds do not need a superlative defender of Hamilton's caliber in center field (although it wouldn't hurt). They want more offense and are willing to take lesser skill on defense in that tradeoff. Remember, in 2013 they used Shin-Soo Choo as their center fielder and leadoff hitter. Choo lacked range and fell short in many defensive metrics, but he was competent there. Only Joey Votto got on base more than him that season, so I think that worked well.
Will Reds sign another new starting pitcher, or just let Tyler Mahle or Sal Romano fill in the last position?
-- @SakerfKarlYeh on Twitter
I think they will try to add one more starter that could fit at or near the top of the rotation. Like I noted before the holidays, Dallas Keuchel is on their board. But the club would be supremely careful about spending that kind of money to get the best starting pitcher left on the open market.
There are a lot of other starters still out there that could be had, and many of them would likely improve the Reds' rotation. Otherwise, I could see the likes of Mahle, Romano and several others vying for the fifth spot.
More and more, we're seeing teams experiment with their bullpens by starting a reliever for an inning or doing "bullpen games" to avoid using a starter. With guys like Michael Lorenzen and Amir Garrett, who can pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen, do you see the Reds trying an approach like this?
-- Matthew T., Lexington, Ky.
With new leadership in manager David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson, I wouldn't rule anything out in how pitchers are used in Cincinnati.
In Milwaukee last season, Johnson often colored outside the lines. The Brewers used an "opener" in some games, and they employed a bullpen day in Game 1 of the National League Division Series vs. the Rockies. Johnson and Brewers manager Craig Counsell also sprung a surprise by having Wade Miley start and face one batter in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series vs. the Dodgers.
The Reds have a lot of pitchers who could function as starters or relievers, so Bell and Johnson appear to have flexible pieces in place to experiment and get outs.
Why not invest in a stadium roof? That way people from far away can come and be sure to see a game or two, plus spend money in Cincinnati. Then the Reds would have money to spend on players.
-- Bob C., The Villages, Fla.
Fun question, and a roof would have been great if it was included when Great American Ball Park was originally built. But realistically, it would cost in the neighborhood of $150 million for a retractable roof. And, of course, there needs to be space to hold it up when it's open. The ballpark footprint is already small as it is, so there really isn't a place for a roof.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.