As I wrote the other day, Major League Baseball announced some pace of play changes for the 2018 season. And as I said on the Podcast yesterday afternoon, I believe that it’s all lip service that doesn’t actually address anything in terms of the actual pace of play, but more so the length of the game. Fangraphs writer Travis Sawchik wrote a nice article on Tuesday suggesting the same thing. He went even further, suggesting, and providing some evidence that it’s the batters, more so than the pitchers, that are leading to the slow pace of play.
Eric Longenhagen weighed in on whether or not he believes Nick Senzel can stick at shortstop. Something he brought up is something that was also brought up here by a few posters in the comments section, too:
Michael Moore: Can Nick Senzel succeed at shortstop? Is there any history of guys moving up the defensive spectrum in the minors like this? Would be huge for the Reds
Eric A Longenhagen: There’s a chance. The number of teams who think you can hide a lack of range with good defensive positioning seems to be growing. He has other physical attributes that work fine at short. I have no idea what his actions are like around the bag, if I had to pick a reason he doesn’t work out there, it’s that.
While I don’t think that he’s wrong in the sense that teams are shifting more, if everyone, or almost everyone is doing it, it’s not really changing the range of players, it’s simply shifting the range a few feet to the left or the right. Range is range is range. Proper shifting is better than improper shifting, for sure, but shifting two guys to the same spot doesn’t hide a lack of range. The footwork is something that we should look for on Friday and Sunday – both games will be on Fox Sports Ohio – if Nick Senzel gets a chance to play and is at shortstop.
Joey Votto isn’t the only Cincinnati Reds employee who wants to see a step forward in 2018. Of course, I’m sure that they all would like to see improvements after going 68-94 last season. But Dick Williams went on the record with Mark Sheldon to say it. That, however, wasn’t the part that stood out to me the most from the article. As I said, obviously he wants to see improvement. Here’s what stood out to me the most:
“I absolutely think we will expand our payroll and investment in the team in the coming years,” Williams said. “That may be to keep the current team together or maybe to bring people in from outside.
The Reds haven’t really spent money on free agents in a while. They’ve paid more to let Brandon Phillips play for someone else than they have on free agents over the last two offseasons. Going out and spending on free agency without knowing exactly what you need for that next competitive team isn’t always easy.
The Reds currently have so many areas of need that it’s tough to say “they need _______”, because they need a lot of things. But, they also could have internal solutions to a lot of those blanks. Maybe they don’t, but it’s the 2018 season that should provide the answers to a lot of those questionable spots. Guys like Jose Peraza, Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall, Scooter Gennett, the entire rotation, where will Nick Senzel fit in – the organization will have answers to at least some of those questions as they head into the next offseason. Hopefully they will be able to write some checks to fill in the areas of need and make big strides over the next two seasons from where the 2017 season wound up.
John Fay has an article at The Cincinnati Enquirer up about Nick Senzel working on shortstop. Bryan Price doesn’t have a ton to say about his play so far other than he wants to see more of it before saying anything. Which, of course, makes sense. What he does have to say though, is more about where he will be looked at this spring, and why.
Over at The Athletic C. Trent Rosecrans tackled a subject that myself and Brian Snow discussed a little bit on The Unnamed Reds Podcast yesterday: Stealing signs. With the new limits on how many times you can visit the mound without a pitching change, more than a few people in baseball brought up that often it’s done because teams are stealing signs. Trent decided to ask several Reds players, and Bryan Price if sign stealing was cheating. There were some good answers in there. Cliff Pennington had an interesting take on who is and isn’t good at stealing signs, too.