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Inbox: Is Senzel destined for Reds' outfield?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers questions from fans
Louisville Bats third baseman Nick Senzel (12) (Ken Inness/MiLB.com) (Ken Inness/MiLB.com)
October 16, 2018

Does it make sense to convert Nick Senzel to an outfield position? The outfield already seems pretty set with Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler, Billy Hamilton and Phillip Ervin. Meanwhile, Scooter Gennett could bring in quite a haul through trade, and Senzel could play second base, where he already has experience.

Does it make sense to convert Nick Senzel to an outfield position? The outfield already seems pretty set with Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler, Billy Hamilton and Phillip Ervin. Meanwhile, Scooter Gennett could bring in quite a haul through trade, and Senzel could play second base, where he already has experience. Thoughts?

  • Matthew T., Lexington, Ky.
    The Reds aren't converting top prospect Senzel to an outfielder as much as they are exposing him to a new position to increase his versatility and to create more avenues to get him to the big leagues. As the Cubs have demonstrated with Kristopher Bryant playing three positions besides his natural third base, a manager has flexibility to create better matchups with his lineups. Before Senzel had elbow surgery last week to remove some bone chips, the Reds liked what they saw from Senzel in the outfield at instructional league. It was the perfect place to try it out.
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    Also, I would argue the Reds' outfield isn't set. Winker is coming off a major shoulder surgery. Schebler endured a lot of injuries last season, and Hamilton has underperformed at the plate. Ervin did really well with his opportunity in the second half, but he has a lot of work to do for improving defensively.
    What if a team like the Reds -- who probably could not offer Bryce Harper or Manny Machado a long-term deal -- pay one of them well above what they would get per year on a long-term contract by offering a two-year, $100 million contract?
    -- @JGideon818 on Twitter

    I do not see it. While money is a big part of the equation, so is the security of a long-term contract. What if Harper or Machado were injured or had a dreadful season in the second year of the contract while heading into another free-agent year? Their value would plummet.
    If the Reds do not hire Jim Riggleman, would he go back to bench coach? And what would happen to Pat Kelly? Also, do you think that Reds will keep interim pitching coach Danny Darwin?
    -- Mason A. Oxford, Ohio

    Riggleman said on the final day of the season that he would be willing to remain in the organization in just about any role. As for bench coach, it would really depend on who the new manager would want and who he is comfortable with. Kelly and Darwin were told they could remain in the organization if they weren't retained as big league coaches.
    Will Cody Reed have a chance to be a starting pitcher next season?
    -- Lily F., Cincinnati

    Reed will likely get a shot after showing improvement and increased confidence at both the Triple-A and big league levels. The good thing about the lefty is that he could potentially be a starter or reliever, and he's shown enthusiasm about working in either role.
    How does this franchise get away with not interviewing top diverse talent for their manager opening? We interviewed exclusively old white men for the manager opening outside of Billy Hatcher and Freddie Benavides.
    -- Jordan S., Cincinnati

    You forgot that Cincinnati also interviewed Hensley Meulens and Charlie Montoyo.
    Do the Reds know now who will be available for Rule 5 Draft, or does that come later?
    -- Al Lautenslager on Facebook

    Teams must protect eligible players on 40-man rosters by Nov. 20. That leaves a few weeks to go over the board before Dec. 13, when the Rule 5 Draft is held on the final day of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Since everybody scouts at all levels of each organization, I'm sure all teams have a reasonable idea of who they would like should they be left unprotected. But I wouldn't get your hopes up that anyone selected will be a huge difference-maker. The Reds' last Rule 5 pick to last the whole season was backup catcher Stuart Turner a couple of years ago. It's been over a decade since the 2006 Rule 5 Draft, when Cincinnati got both outfielder Josh Hamilton and reliever Jared Burton.

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.