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Dave Pemberton makes his picks for the Cincinnati Reds lineup.

Dave Pemberton

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© Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The best part of the 2019 Cincinnati Reds lineup is for the first time since, probably, the 1999 team, they have a ton of depth and versatility. Besides maybe Barnhart there is a real possibility that all of the rest of the starting regulars have an average of .275 or greater. That doesn’t include a bench with several players likely to bat over or close to that as well. They could also bat lefty righty from the 1-8 lineup positions if they wanted to as well. I don’t think there is any fixed way you will see the lineup for the first few months of the season because it has incredible flexibility. I’m going to take a stab at what I think the Opening Day lineup will be.

1-3 Spots

There is only one guy I have even heard mentioned as hitting leadoff and that’s Winker. The guy is an on base machine. He had a .299 AVG and a .405 OBP which was one of the best in the league until he was injured. I was listening to an interview with Winker on the Reds Hot Stove league where he stated his shoulder had not been right since college. If he’s been playing his entire time with the Reds with a bum shoulder I’m interested to see what he can do with one at full strength.

The second spot seems like will be either Senzel’s or Peraza’s. Senzel is listed as one of the top-10 prospects in all of MLB. His career minor league AVG of .314 and OBP of .390 shows that he can provide consistent opportunities to be score runs. Pereza was the silent killer last year. He amounted 182 hits, 85 runs, and 23 stolen bases. Although I am not one to think much of Spring Training games the dude is on FIRE right now. Both Pereza and Senzel also help to add some speed at the top of a slow lineup.

The third spot seems to be Votto’s as usual. Although I think there is a slight chance he bats second. Votto is poised to have a bounce back year. Even Votto himself stated he was disappointed in his performance. Despite that he still led the lead in OBP and made the All-Star team. Even more important this will without a doubt be THE best lineup Votto has been apart of during his career. No longer can they simply pitch around him. Plus the two batters in front of him should consistently get on base possibly helping to boost some of Votto’s power numbers.

Spots-4-6

These spots are probably the most up in the air position in the lineup. I would have to imagine its almost locked in stone to be some combination of Gennett, Suarez, and Puig. None of them will stay the same and probably go to the hot hand from week to week.

In following the lefty righty theme, I would go with Suarez, Scooter, and Puig in that order. Most fans will tell you Puig has to bat fourth because he’s going to hit over 40 dingers and a grand slam every month if you bat him fourth at GABP. Suarez who had his breakout season last year seems like the smarter bet. He hammered 34 HR’s, 104 RBI’s, 283 AVG, and 366 OBP during the 2018 season. That was without a stacked lineup too. I expect him to continue to put up the big numbers we have seen in a Reds uniform from him. What many thought would be a regression year turned out to be even better. Gennett tied Suarez for a team best 4.2 WAR. He has stated he wants to be in a Reds uniform after this season. I’m confident he will make it difficult for the Reds not to offer him an extension. Puig has not even played a game yet and is already the most talked about player on this team. He is without a doubt the most exciting player on the field because of his antics. And I mean that in a good way. However his numbers in recent years don’t show me that he needs to be batting clean up like most fans are probably anticipating. Even if he is batting sixth I still expect him to have a career season. Puig’s playing in GABP (a hitter friendly park), playing nearly every game, the fans are behind him 100%, and most importantly a contract year.

In a recent Bleacher Report Puig was quoted saying “The last couple years, I didn’t work hard because I still have a contract to go. Now I think I’ll work hard more than any year in my life.” Everything about his introduction to Reds Country lead me to believe he’s right. As far as extending his contract that may be a different story. For the 2019 season however Puig is my friend. I’m all in on him so much so I bought a t-shirt jersey.

Spots 7-8

I would assume the seven spot has belong to either Senzel or Peraza as well. The only person that may take this spot is the person to beat out Senzel for center field like Kemp or Schebler.

Eighth spot seems to be a lock for Tucker Barnhart. While never a better than average hitter, he makes up for his lack of a bat with his gold glove defense. Barnhart also seems to provide good leadership and dependability to the pitching staff.

My Guesstimate Opening Day Lineup 1. Winker- LF 2. Pereza- SS 3. Votto- 1B 4. Suarez- 3B 5. Gennett- 2B 6. Puig- RF 7. Senzel- CF 8. Barnhart- C

I would also like to add I pray they add the DH this year or next to the National League. Having to sit people like Kemp, Dietrich, Schebler, and Ervin consistently just isn’t fair.

I grew up engulfed in baseball. My grandfather had season tickets for the Reds from 1970 until 2002. I was raised in a neighborhood that was essentially the Sandlot set in the 1990's but with even more kids. We played from the minute we woke up until it was too dark to see the ball. Then we'd spend the night at someones house playing baseball video games, talking about baseball cards, or watching it on television. I idolized Barry Larkin as fielder, hitter, and leader. I was fortunate enough to play baseball through high school. Now I am a registered nurse, married way out of my league, and have two amazing kids that will exceed anything I ever do in this life. I am fortunate enough to have a Reds season ticket package with my close friends and family. The Reds ballpark is my second home. Baseball has provided me with some of my most treasured memories shared over four generations.

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Cincinnati Reds

Should the Reds Sign or Trade Puig?

With the way he has struggled, and the Reds’ current pace, we may see Puig on the move before the trade deadline.

Clay Snowden

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Yasiel Puig gave this team energy in December. The Cincinnati Reds haven’t had excitement in December in years. Acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, Puig came to town with a lot of buzz. You may remember him parading around town posting on social media about how much he loved Cincinnati and how excited he was to be a Red. I was thrilled. The talks of 30+ home runs and reaping the benefits of GABP had many fans following the Reds once again. Fast forward to mid- June and no one is too excited about the .213 hitter. The Reds’ chances at making the playoffs seems slim and it might be time to move some rentals. With an expiring contract the question is this: should the Reds look to trade Puig at the deadline?

One thing we all know about Puig is that he’s an emotional player and a big personality. This season, hitting and getting on base has been a struggle for the Wild Horse. A .213 average and a *squints* .256 on-base percentage are awful. 62 K’s to 13 walks is not pretty, either. Sitting at a -0.3 WAR you wonder what’s going on. 11 home runs and 9 stolen bases are positives. He has a strong arm in the outfield as well. While a walk off hit and “I am going to fight an entire Pirates’ team” were memorable moments of the season and, fun as hell, I am not sure if he’ll have a chance to make many more moments like these. So what teams are looking for a corner outfielder who is struggling and is maybe “a bit too much of a personality” for some? That might be the problem. The first corner outfielder off the market was Jay Bruce (name sounds familiar) to the Phillies. The amount of contending teams needing a corner outfield bat is not high and honestly there are simply better options available.

On paper, you would not see a larger return for a player with his stats. Look at his track record, a career .273 hitter that is no doubt a talented player. It might take an injury on a contending team to get his value up. A trade of “we lost a player and need to replace him” not a “let’s see if we can upgrade from our current player” type of trade. When the Reds traded Bruce to the Mets they took a flyer on an injured former high prospect Dilson Herrera. Sometimes taking a flyer on a prospect who might need a change of scenery can pay off big time. Someone did mention they could trade him and try to sign him back in the offseason. While true, I think the Reds would not trade him if they plan to sign him to an extension.

Signing Puig to an extension would pretty much set the outfield for a few years. Winker, Senzel (assuming he stays there), Puig. But with Taylor Trammell approaching quickly where would that put him? Ervin, Schebler, Sirri, Siani, and others could play a role in the future. Puig is not going to be cheap, either. What he does from here on out will give us a better idea but at only 28 years old he has many years left in him. Plenty of expiring contracts will need to be resigned and, well, the Reds don’t have Yankees-type money.

The trade deadline is coming soon and the Reds making the playoffs is very unlikely. Look for the front office to move some players for prospects and for Puig to be a prominently rumored player on the move.

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Cincinnati Reds

Locked On Reds – 6/13/2019 Reds Split with Indians

Thursday’s episode is up!

Jeff

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Cincinnati Reds

Scooter Get Off The Pot

Scooter Gennett is a dude who will be hard to say goodbye to. The team’s current makeup, however, makes it seem that is coming, sooner rather than later.

Dave Pemberton

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© David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff has brought up a lot of talk about who we as fans would hate to see get traded this year. For me there is only one answer. Scooter Gennett.

Without a doubt it has to be him. While I completely understand if they do from a financial and bigger picture stand point, it will eat my soul. I haven’t seen a Cincinnati native this well liked since Barry Larkin.

Everything about him including his name screams a Cincinnati Reds ballplayer. You can see it in his play, character, leadership, and communication that this guy LOVES playing for his home town team. The man is already a Reds legend after smacking 4 home runs in a game. A game that, by sheer luck, I was able to witness. It was, by far, the best moment I have ever witnessed in person at GABP. He put up the best numbers of his career in 2017 only to follow it up with a better season as an All Star in 2018.

Scooter has made it clear he would like to remain a Red and loves this organization. I was really hoping the Reds would extend him to a short term deal last season after an incredible season that almost saw him win a batting title. I even tried starting the #ScooterGetOffThePot trend. Instead, like many things in recent memory with this team, good things go wrong quickly. He suffered the worst injury of his career with a severe strained groin.

Making the case for extending him even more difficult has been the off-the-wall performance by Derek Dietrich. Another free agent find who has been as wildly entertaining and likable. Dietrich has already made himself the face of the team this year with his kid like swagger for the game. Dietrich was just named second basemen of the month of May by the MLB. Per Stats by STATS Dietrich played in 55 games with a .706 slugging percentage. The only other player in baseball history to match that in there first 55 game with an organization was a HOF 2B Rogers Hornsby. The Reds also have control of Dietrich’s contract next season being an arbitration year. If you remove Dietrich from the equation it’s not any better.

Jose Iglesias is a must start for this team, currently, at shortstop. Iglesias is the best defensive infielder the team has had since Brandon Phillips. Iglesias also currently holds the highest batting average on the team nearly two months into the season. Meaning Jose Peraza has no place left to play but filling in for guys on their day off. Peraza also seems like a guy that, come next season, will more than likely be the starting shortstop simply because of his age and salary.

The Reds have their current center fielder, Nick Senzel, who has been the spark to this offense since coming up to the big leagues. The Reds have averaged nearly 2 more runs a game since Senzel has been playing for the team. Senzel definently stands a chance to be Rookie of the Year. Most importantly he seems to a guaranteed core player of this team’s foreseeable future. Senzel is a player who could, hypothetically, be the Reds starting second baseman for 2020. Plus they have Johnathan India, last year’s first round pick, quickly making his way up through the minors. He could potentially take that spot if not next season the following year.

None of this leads me to believe Scooter will be playing for this team next year. He is the perfect trading chip if they are looking to have a sale at the trade deadline or add a missing piece as well. I think what I enjoy about Scooter Gennett most is his GRIT. There is no denying the dude has GRIT. Something many of the players on this team currently do not have. More than anything that is why I will hate if he is traded.

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