The San Francisco Giants have acquired Scooter Gennett from the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations. A 2018 All-Star, Gennett gives the Giants — solidly in the bottom third of the league in scoring — some much-needed punch.
While Gennett is coming off a groin injury that cost him the first three months of the season, his acquisition, taken in tandem with the acquisition of 25-year old infielder Mauricio Dubon from the Milwaukee Brewers, place into question the future of incumbent starting seecond baseman Joe Panik.
“It’ll be a continuing conversation between [manager Bruce] Bochy and Panik and [Donovan] Solano about what we’re going to do,” Zaidi said.
A career .287 hitter, who has averaged 18 home runs and 74 RBIs over the past five seasons. Though a rental, he will likely supplant Panik and super sub Solano in the short term, while Dubon — who leads all PCL shortstops with 16 home runs — is the likely natural successor at the position.
“Dubon is hopefully a piece of the long-term puzzle,” said president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. “He has the ability to play both spots in the middle infield, either short or second. He’s also played some outfield, and he’s athletic enough to do that. He’s that guy who could get 500 at-bats playing all over the infield. Infield depth was an area that we wanted to address. Gennett can help us immediately, and Dubon is part of the long-term picture.”
Panik, 28, has been the Giants’ starter for the past five seasons, but after hitting .312 as a rookie, he’s been very inconsistent, and over the last season and a half (199 games), he’s hit .243 with just seven home runs and 30 doubles. He does, however, have minor league options, though sending a player with five full big league seasons back to Triple-A is not a strong likelihood.
“We’ve done different things with the 25-man roster to accommodate some less-than-conventional configurations, so I think we expect Scooter to join the team on Friday, and we’ll have to make a roster move then,” Zaidi said. “We haven’t decided what that move is going to be.”
After beginning his career with the Pirates, Gennett was moved to the Reds before the 2017 season. In his first two seasons in Cincinnati — which included a 2018 All-Star nod — he hit .303 with 50 home runs and 189 RBIs in 295 games. He is one of three second basemen in Reds history to hit 25 or mroe home runs in a season, joining Joe Morgan and Brandon Phillips.
Though he’s played in at least 100 games for each of the last five seasons, Gennett, 29, has only played in 20 games this year due to a groin injury that sidelined him for three months. He’s not been able to find a rhythm since returning, going 14-for-66 (.212) with only three extra-base hits.
“Gennett has an All-Star pedigree,” Zaidi said. “He’s a power guy. He’s just coming off an injury, but it’s nice to be able to give him an opportunity to put him back on that path.”