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Inbox: How will Reds' outfield glut shake out?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers fans' questions
MLB.com @m_sheldon

What is the endgame for the Reds' four-man outfield? All four are having trouble with consistency, as they are not playing every day. Are we just waiting for one of the four to get hurt?
-- Jeff S., Sparks, Nev.

The idea, initially, was that everyone would be kept fresh by getting a break once or twice a week. Then it was figured that one person might be weeded out via performance while the other three succeeded. The idea that there's been inconsistency from not playing every day doesn't have as much merit because all four have roughly the same total of plate appearances.

What is the endgame for the Reds' four-man outfield? All four are having trouble with consistency, as they are not playing every day. Are we just waiting for one of the four to get hurt?
-- Jeff S., Sparks, Nev.

The idea, initially, was that everyone would be kept fresh by getting a break once or twice a week. Then it was figured that one person might be weeded out via performance while the other three succeeded. The idea that there's been inconsistency from not playing every day doesn't have as much merit because all four have roughly the same total of plate appearances.

But other than Scott Schebler lately, all of the Reds' outfielders have struggled to hit, and that has made this rotation not work well. Jesse Winker had some clutch hits last week, but he hasn't hit lefties well and has struggled a lot defensively. Adam Duvall can hit homers, but his average is way down. And with the exception of Sunday's win over the Cardinals, Billy Hamilton really hasn't gotten going at all. He keeps himself in the lineup because he makes plays in center field that no one else on the team can. Put that all together, and the endgame you seek is murky.

Are the Reds going to seriously look at spending on starting pitching?
-- Guy Barry Drew, via Facebook

It's a tough area for Cincinnati. First, the Reds would probably have to overspend to lure a free agent to a smaller-market team that hasn't been winning. Second, Great American Ball Park isn't exactly a pitcher-friendly park, so that's not much of an enticement. They should try to sign or trade for starter, but they will have to be smart about it.

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Giving a nine-figure contract to a veteran who doesn't perform (because of injury or otherwise) can be crippling, as we've seen before in Cincinnati. The hope was that the young pitchers who have been drafted, acquired and cultivated over the past few years would come around. It just hasn't happened yet.

Will we see any more shake-ups in the starting rotation? The Reds did a good job of assembling a solid bullpen this year. Michael Lorenzen and Amir Garrett have looked great. Do you think either will get a chance to start, as Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle continue to struggle?
-- Andy Kuenning, via Facebook

It should be looked at. But Lorenzen and Garrett -- especially Garrett -- have been so good in the bullpen that it'd be tough to move them. Also, they'd have to go down to the Minors for a few games to get stretched out. Also, Garrett has been strong the first time through the order but not as much the second and third times around. Perhaps the bullpen is his best place.

At Triple-A Louisville, Brandon Finnegan has made some decent starts and wants to get back. Robert Stephenson's last start for the Bats wasn't good, but he's been mostly solid of late. I could see both get opportunities at some point.

Scooter Gennett is a good, young second baseman. Why would the Reds even consider trading him?
-- Ross H., Lynchburg, Ohio

It comes down to finances. Gennett can be a free agent after the 2019 season. While he's said that he's open to a longer-term contract, his trade value could be high now because of his performance and the fact that he'd be a short-term fit for a club while not making too much money. The Reds have held onto players too long in the past -- like Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman -- and that prevented them from getting great returns.

Hey Mark! Keep up the good work, read daily. When will the Reds bring up Nick Senzel and what do you expect the starting eight to look like in the second half?
-- Adam @ARFoskey, via Twitter

First, thanks very much for the kind words. Cincinnati's top prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, Senzel probably saw his timeline disrupted by the vertigo symptoms that kept him out nearly a month. But the numbers have been good, and so are the reports out of Triple-A Louisville. On Saturday while batting leadoff for the first time, Senzel went 4-for-6. The issue, of course, is where Senzel would play. He's been at second base for Louisville, and the Reds already have Gennett there. If the club moved Gennett to a different spot -- say, left field -- it would open a place for Senzel. It would also likely spell the end of the aforementioned outfield rotation.

Any news on Rookie Davis?
-- Nicholas C. Lawson, via Facebook

Davis, a right-handed pitcher who had offseason right hip surgery to repair his labrum, is throwing and working out at the team's complex in Goodyear, Ariz. If all continues without setbacks, he could be back pitching in games by the end of July.

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.

Cincinnati Reds