Amid the shuffle of last-second MLB trade deadline deals, the San Francisco Giants further upgraded the second base position with the addition of Scooter Gennett.
Just last season, Gennett was worth 4.5 WAR, hitting .310/.357/.590 with 23 home runs and 92 RBI while earning a spot on the NL All-Star team.
He has not enjoyed anything close to that level of success this season, but the Giants decided to roll the dice:
The 29-year-old suffered a severe groin strain at the end of spring training that cost him over half of the season. Since returning, he’s hitting just .212/.232/.258 in 69 plate appearances over 20 games.
He’s making $9.775 million this season in his final year of arbitration, so the Reds were no doubt happy to unload his contract, which explains the minimal return.
For the Giants, the hole at second base was a clear area of need. Joe Panik is hitting a punchless .231/.305/.312 and he has no injuries to blame for his poor production. Meanwhile, minor league free-agent signing Donovan Solano has been a godsend, but his success might prove unsustainable.
Panik and Gennett are both left-handed hitters, so that quickly eliminates the idea of a potential platoon. There was already a good chance Panik would be non-tendered at season’s end, and this could expedite his departure from the organization.
That said, Panik does have minor league options remaining, so there’s a chance the Giants could try to send him to Triple-A in hopes something clicks while running out a platoon of Solano and Gennett on the MLB roster.
One way or another, a 40-man roster crunch is coming soon, and acquiring Gennett likely makes Panik one of the first names that could be on the chopping block.
San Francisco Giants: Incomplete
Cincinnati Reds: Incomplete
It all rests on the return.
If this is a pure cash move, the Giants receive a C+ for gambling on some upside and the Reds receive a C- for the financial savings.
If a prospect goes Cincy’s way though, then the grade will incrementally increase for the Reds and decrease for the Giants depending on the value of the player.
Gennett does offer some interesting upside and maybe the Giants have a specific adjustment in mind to help get him out of his funk.
Otherwise, it’s unclear whether he is a legitimate answer to their second base problems.