The Cincinnati Reds expect to be contenders during the 2020 season, but that quest may start without their best player. That is terrible news, but where there’s terrible news, there’s good news. Another Red who had offseason surgery is ready to go and has been allowed to play in Spring Training games starting Wednesday.
Bad News First
Cincinnati’s perennial slugger, Eugenio Suarez, may possibly miss Opening Day this season. Suarez is nursing a shoulder injury sustained in a pool at his Miami home just three weeks ago. The third baseman had surgery to remove the loose cartilage in the injured shoulder on January 29th. The surgery was a common one and went off without a hitch. This week, Suarez suffered a setback that may cost him the start of his season. The Reds’ medical staff is working diligently to make sure that Suarez is ready to go as soon as possible.
In 2019 Suarez was a monster. He finished the season with a .271/.358/.572 slash line that included 49 homers, and 103 RBI. Cincinnati may have finished 75-87, but Suarez became the record holder for home runs by a Venezuelan player, and an NL third baseman. He has come into his own the last two seasons and has become one of the budding superstars in baseball. Cincinnati also has Suarez locked up in a team-friendly deal that has five years, $45 million remaining. The worst-case scenario for Suarez is he misses one to two weeks of the regular season.
With the Bad Comes the Good
Suarez isn’t the only Red who’s dealing with shoulder issues. Second-year man Nick Senzel was cleared on Wednesday for all baseball activity after having offseason shoulder surgery. Senzel had surgery to repair a torn labrum in late September and had finally started throwing last week. Cincinnati and their medical staff have deemed him ready to go, and he will begin playing for the first time this spring. There has been a lot of speculation around him regarding trades, but nothing came to fruition over the winter.
Senzel had a very pedestrian rookie season. He came up to the bigs with a lot of hype behind him, and performed well, especially in his new position of center field. He hit .256/.315/.427 with 12 homers and 55 RBI. There is a lot of room for improvement, and he is only a year into his career. Senzel is an important piece to this Cincinnati ballclub, whether it be on the field or through a deadline trade this season that puts the Reds over the top.
The Cincinnati Reds will try to make it through the rest of the spring without any further injury to important pieces. That was evident on Wednesday as they held out shortstop Freddy Galvis with quad tightness. There is no reason to risk your Opening Day roster to injury by overplaying them this early. The Reds are being diligent, and hope to get Suarez back as soon as possible, and hope Senzel can make the adjustment to the Major League level. Opening Day in Cincinnati is on March 26th. Cincinnati will welcome their division rival St. Louis Cardinals to Great American BallPark to start the season.