As we approach the New Year, the Reds rumors continue to swirl. Are the Cincinnati Reds still players in the Josh Harrison sweepstakes? Apparently so.
With the Hot Stove season in full gear, the Reds rumors are coming fast and furious. While most fans of the Cincinnati Reds expect a big move involving a centerfielder or a starting pitcher, the team is apparently still kicking the tires on middle infielder Josh Harrison.
According to a report from Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports, Harrison is still a target of the Cincinnati Reds. Josh Harrison has been a Reds killer in the past. In 11 games last season against the Cincinnati Reds, Harrison slashed .348/.392/.457 with a homer, a triple, and 7 RBIs. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder the Reds may adopt the philosophy of, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
Harrison’s numbers outside playing the Reds, however, were not spectacular last season. J-Hay hit .250 with only 8 home runs and 37 RBIs. His on-base percentage was worse than Billy Hamilton‘s last season, and his OPS+ was only 80.
Harrison would be considered for a utility role with Cincinnati and nothing more, which is why it’s interesting to hear the Reds name rought up in conversations surrounding Harrison’s services. The Reds’ infield is set, with José Peraza and Scooter Gennett occupying the two positions Harrison is most comfortable playing. This raises the question; are the Cincinnati Reds actively shopping Gennett?
It’s possible. Scooter is in the final year of team control, will make in the neighborhood or $11M through arbitration next season, and is looking for a long-term deal. Management seems a little reluctant to dole out a long-term commitment to Gennett, and with uber-talented prospect Nick Senzel ready to ascend to the Major Leagues, it’s understandable that the Reds’ brass is hesitant to dish out a big contract to Scooter.
Gennett and Harrison do have something else in common besides the position they play, as they are both Cincinnati natives. The Reds have always enjoyed a fond relationship with players who’ve called the Queen City home. Star players such as Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin, and Pete Rose have put on the Reds jersey throughout the years.
What would a contract for Harrison look like? That’s anyone’s guess, but if I’m the Reds, I’m only looking a one-year contract with a possible option year attached to it. Seeing as how Harrison has a lot of other suitors, including the Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants, and Milwaukee Brewers, it’s hard to see Harrison coming to Cincinnati on a bargain.
To me, these latest Reds rumors regarding the team’s interest in Harrison don’t make a lot of sense given the club’s need for starting pitching and a centerfielder. However, if the Cincinnati Reds can sign Harrison to an inexpensive deal while moving either Gennett or Senzel in a trade to acquire another starter, I can wrap my mind around the team’s pursuit more easily.