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Nationals To Sign Nick Senzel

Nick Senzel Not Expected To Be Ready For Opening Day

The Nationals and infielder Nick Senzel have a one-year deal, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post. The deal reportedly guarantees Senzel $2MM with an additional $1MM available in performance bonuses.

Senzel, 28, was a highly-touted prospect early in his career, having been selected second overall by the Reds in the 2016 draft. By the time he made his major league debut back in 2019, Senzel was a consensus top-10 prospect in all of baseball. Unfortunately for both Senzel and the Reds, his career hasn’t lived up to that promise to this point. Senzel’s rookie campaign went fairly well, as the then-24-year-old adjusted to become the everyday center fielder in Cincinnati after spending his entire professional career to that point on the infield dirt. Senzel posted a decent .256/.315/.427 slash line in 414 trips to the plate that year, and entered the 2020 season with plenty of reason for optimism that better days would be ahead.

Unfortunately, Senzel struggled to stay healthy over the next two seasons, appearing in just 59 total games between the 2020 and 2021 campaigns. To make matters worse, Senzel posted brutal numbers at the plate when he was healthy enough to take the field, slashing a combined .227/.294/.332 in 202 trips to the plate. While Senzel was healthy enough to return to semi-regular playing time in 2022, his bat didn’t improve, as he posted a similar slash line of .231/.296/.306 across 110 games that season. Senzel’s offense improved slightly in 2023, as he slashed .236/.297/.399 with 13 home runs in 330 plate appearances while splitting time between second base, third base, and all three outfield spots.

That said, Senzel’s performance did not convince the Reds to tender him a contract worth a projected $3MM this offseason (per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz). Given the excess of young, controllable position player talent in Cincinnati, the club’s decision to part ways with Senzel was hardly a surprising one. Still, Senzel’s positional versatility makes him an intriguing bench option for teams in need of additional depth around the diamond. That’s particularly true of teams that struggle offensively against southpaws, as Senzel owns a career 108 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

That’s a description that fits the Nationals, who hit a below-average .266/.323/.415 against lefties last season. In particular, Senzel could be a potential platoon partner for Luis Garcia, who slashed just .261/.273/.395 against same-handed pitching…

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