Should the Indians consider signing Scooter Gennett?

The Giants released the 29-year-old on Tuesday

James Rapien
August 27, 2019 - 7:06 pm
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 15: Scooter Gennett #14 of the San Francisco Giants makes the out at first in the ninth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 15, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The San Francisco Giants won 7

Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

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CLEVELAND, OH – Indians star third baseman José Ramírez will miss the rest of the regular season with a broken hand. He could return for the playoffs if his recovery goes well, but it’s far from a certainty.

Rookie Yu Chang and Mike Freeman are expected to split duties at third base with Ramírez out, which makes sense considering the trade deadline has come and gone. However, a better option may have emerged on Tuesday.

The San Francisco Giants released Scooter Gennett, which means he’ll likely clear waivers and become a free agent. Gennett has dealt with injuries this season, posting a .226 batting average with two home runs and 11 RBI in 42 games.

The 29-year-old was a pleasant surprise for the Reds in both the 2017-2018 seasons, posting a .303/.351/.508 slash line with 50 home runs and 189 RBI. Gennett made the National League All-Star team last season.

The Indians wouldn’t need the veteran to carry their offense. Instead, he would give them another proven infielder that’s capable of playing third base. Gennett has primarily played second, but spent 10 games at third in 2017. He’s also played in the outfield.

That versatility should be attractive to the Indians. He doesn’t have to play third base everyday. Gennett could play second when Jason Kipnis needs a day off. He could play either corner outfield spot.

Major League rosters expand to 40 on September 1. Gennett would have to be signed before that, but Chang could re-join the big league club after rosters expand.

Gennett wouldn’t be expected to post Ramírez-type numbers, but he hit .310/.357/.490 (124 OPS+) with 23 home runs in 2018. Why wouldn’t the Indians add a bat like that to their lineup at this stage of this season?

Gennett would get to play for a contender. The Indians would give him the chance to show teams he’s still capable of playing third base. Gennett is a free agent this offseason. His versatility will be a selling point for teams looking for infield help.

Ramírez's injury was a huge loss, but Gennett could help alleviate some of the pressure it puts on the rest of the lineup.  This would be a low-risk, high-reward type of move the Indians should try to make.

Adding Gennett might not help them reach the playoffs, but it could – and that’s exactly why they should try to sign the former All-Star.