It looks as though the San Diego Padres may eventually desire a centerfielder for the 2020 season. Could Reds’ outfielder Nick Senzel be an option for the team?
With that trade, there appears to be a need for the Padres to gain depth in the centerfield department.
Currently, Trent Grisham, Franchy Cordero, and Tommy Pham are capable of playing the position (Pham is probably a longshot, though). Even Wil Myers can cover the area, though most fans would not want to see that any more. Taylor Trammell and Edward Olivares are in the minors and capable outfielders, but neither is that close to major league service time.
Heading into the spring, the Padres do lack depth in centerfield. The team also appears to need a right-handed option to platoon with Grisham and Cordero.
In searching all other team’s rosters, there is a player who fits the mold of what the Padres currently desire. Nick Senzel is a former #1 pick of the Cincinnati Reds who may be available via trade because there is no immediate playing time for him on a stacked Reds’ roster. Aristides Aquino emerged last season for Cincinnati and will undoubtedly play each day. Shogo Akiyama was signed this winter, and the Japanese outfielder is expected to earn plenty of playing time. Jesse Winker also figures to earn at-bats in 2020. Recently, the Reds added Nick Castellanos to their roster, and the All-Star slugger will surely play every day. Senzel is capable of playing second base or even third base, but the team has Eugenio Suarez and Mike Moustakas in those areas. Senzel is looking like an expensive trade chip for the Red Legs.
If you ask the Reds, they say they are not looking to deal Senzel as they value his versatility. That may be true, but the Padres have plenty of trade chips to entice Cincinnati. If A.J. Preller gets aggressive, he could very well walk away with a former #2 overall pick. Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams indicated that Senzel should be on the team’s Opening Day roster, but also admits the Reds have fielded offers for the young player.
In 2019, Senzel played in 104 games and put up a .256/.315/.427 batting line and recorded a.742 OPS in his rookie campaign. The former University of Tennessee star showed gap power, but only managed 12 homers in one of the most hitter-friendly home ballparks in all of baseball. There is an expectation that he could be a decent power threat when it is all said and done.
Barreling up the baseball is what Senzel does best as he hit over .305 in each of his three minor league seasons. The right-handed hitter also recorded an OPS of .887 or better since being drafted in 2016 with a first-round selection. His hit tool is above average, and success will come to him in the major leagues on that alone. The 24-year-old is not a burner, though he has decent foot speed and is capable of stealing a base when needed.
On defense, Senzel showed the ability to play centerfield for the Reds. There probably will not be any Gold Gloves in his future, but there is no reason why he cannot be serviceable for the Padres. He played 799.2 innings in centerfield for the Reds and committed just four errors last year. In a platoon with Grisham, the Padres would have two young athletic players with an unknown upside. That is worth considering if you are A.J. Preller and his baseball operations staff. It is worth noting that Senzel had surgery to repair a torn labrum this winter. He should be at full strength before the start of the season.
The Padres could upgrade the Reds in numerous ways. If Cincinnati wants major league talent, the Padres could easily ship a few young pitchers to the Reds, Cal Quantrill, Trey Wingenter, Ronald Bolanos, Gerardo Reyes, and others make sense to some degree to get things started. If the management from Ohio seeks future talent, the Padres could part with pitching talent at the lower levels. I would not expect the Reds to require Luis Patino in a potential deal. The Padres have plenty of highly-regarded prospects. A.J. Preller could easily meet the Reds asking price for the outfielder while at the same time, the Friars could make room on their crowded 40-man roster. A 3-for-1 or 4-for-1 deal would be really beneficial for San Diego heading into the spring in Peoria.
The Reds and Padres already consummated a few deals in the past. Most recently, when Travis Jankowski was shipped east for international bonus money. In the Padres search for centerfield options, the Reds’ Nick Senzel fits the mold of what the team desires. Keep an eye on this situation as the Padres’ lack of options at the position become apparent.