CINCINNATI — Now that Scooter Gennett is an every day player for the Cincinnati Reds, what might his future be?
His contract expires after this season. Either the Reds sign him to a multi-year deal or he can become a free agent and peddle himself to the highest bidder.
Every team needs a Scooter on its roster.
So far the Reds have made no move on Gennett, not even talked to him about where he stands for 2018 and beyond.
The 5-10, 185-pound Gennett is only 27, probably in the prime of his career, and could easily be considered part of the Reds rebuild.
AS HE IS SHOWING, HE is far more than the guy who dressed as the Easter Bunny one year for the children of the Milwaukee Brewers. And he got married in the cold beer cellar of the Miller Brewering Company in Milwaukee.
Gennett was born in this area and was a resident in Lebanon until he was about 10. And he wants to be part of the Reds future.
“They’ve been pretty busy with all the moves they’ve made (the pitchers shuttle between Louisville and Cincinnati) and the trade deadline is coming up,” said Gennett. “So I’m sure the time for me will present itself, but I haven’t heard anything yet.”
BECAUSE OF HIS DIMINUTIVE stature, his energy and hustle, his wear-it-on-his-sleeves love for the game, Gennett quickly became a fan favorite, even before hitting four home runs in one game.
Now he is a legend.
Asked if he wants to come back to a last place team still assembling building blocks, he said, “Absolutely. Everybody who has been with his coaching staff — hey, everything about being here has been great. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
GENNETT, THOUGH, REALIZES the business end of baseball and said, “Sometimes all that doesn’t matter and it doesn’t matter what the player thinks. They are in control of those things. But I’d love to play here and be here for a long time.”
Gennett was released at the end of spring training by the Milwaukee Brewers and quick signed by the Reds. All he has done so far is hit .308 with a career-best 16 home runs and 54 RBI in only 234 at bats. That’s 100 less at bats than Joey Votto and 120 less than Adam Duvall.
His numbers and his off-the-field contributions nearly forced manager Bryan Price to bench 22-year-old prospect Jose Peraza and put Gennett into the regular lineup.
About being a fan favorite, Gennett said, “Fans appreciate effort, they appreciate guys who play the game the right way. A lot of us on this team do that. And that’s why fans show up even though things might not be great right now.
“What brings fans in is guys playing the game the right way and respect the game,” he added. “True baseball fans really like that.”
GENNETT LIKES THE SOUND of ‘Every Day Gennett,’ something he never heard before, not even when he played in Milwaukee.
“It is nice knowing you will be in there every day and something I never had the opporunity to do, even with the Brewers,” he said. “It’s a good time for me and my career and all the hard work I’ve put in. Now they feel I’ve earned the right to play every day, so I’m honored and fortunate to be blessed with the ability to put myself in this position. I’m happy, but I put in the hard work. And it continues and it is about getting better every day. And being in there every day makes it easier to fine-tune your game.”
JOEY VOTTO TURNED DOWN an invitation to appear in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby. He didn’t want to wear himself out, didn’t want to risk changing his swing. He saw it happen with other players.
So he didn’t participate. And yet since the All-Star game his offensive production is at a much lower pace than he is accustomed to diplaying.
Heading into Saturday’s game with the Miami Marlins, Votto is 3 for 26 (.115) with seven walks and six strikeouts. And Votto has played every game this season, something he prefers to do. But does he need a day off?
“Joey and I keep an open line,” said Price. “One of these days you’ll walk into the clubhouse and see that he is not in the lineup. He prides himself on playing, but we have an open relationship as to when he needs a day.”
With the Reds playing 37 games in 38 days, Price indicated that a day off may come soon for Votto.
“When that time comes, I’ll initiate that but our line of communication right now indicates he will be in there regularly.”
THE OTHER MAN witho ‘Struggle’ as his middle name these days is Scott Schebler. He is 0 for 12 and 1 for 23.
And Price did give him Saturday off, replacing him with Patrick Kivlehan.
“It is just a day for Schebler,” said Price. “I’ve really struggled getting Kivlehan and Almendy Alcantara in there. I like the match-up (Miami pitcher Chris O’Grady) to give Kivlehan a start.”