GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Scooter Gennett is unsure of his future with the Cincinnati Reds even though he’s coming off one of the best two-year showings in franchise history.
Gennett can become a free agent after this season, his third season in Cincinnati. The Reds acquired several other players who also are in the final years on their contracts in a series of trades to try to dig out of last place. Gennett would love to stay in the city where his career took off, but the Reds haven’t offered a deal.
So the second baseman has to see how the season plays out heading into July, when the Reds might be tempted to trade some of their potential free agents if they’re not in contention in the NL Central. Gennett said there are no ongoing talks with the club.
“There hasn’t been much interaction,” Gennett said. “We weren’t going to figure anything out before spring training. It is not the right time for them. It’s not like they don’t know I want to be here. It’s not like I don’t know they want me to be here.”
For now, he is one of the Reds’ most valuable players on offense.
They claimed him off waivers from the Brewers a day before they broke camp for the 2017 season. Gennett adjusted his swing and had a career year. He became the first major leaguer to have four homers, five hits and 10 RBIs in a game. He also led the majors with four grand slams, joining Lou Gehrig as the only players with a four-homer game and a four-grand slam season.
He kept it up last season, becoming an All-Star for the first time. His ninth-inning, pinch-hit homer sent the All-Star game to extra innings. Gennett finished second to Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich for the batting crown with a .310 average.
In the last two years, Gennett has 50 homers and 189 RBIs, joining Dave Parker and Deron Johnson as the only Reds to put up such numbers in their first two seasons with Cincinnati. He’s the only second baseman in Reds history with eight homers and 24 RBIs in a month — he’s done it twice.
After making $5.7 million last season, he avoided arbitration and settled for a one-year deal for $9,775,000. Gennett, who turns 29 in May, has gotten no hints about how the Reds see him long-term.
“It’s just a weird time,” he said. “At some point in the future we can get that question answered.”
The Reds are coming off four straight seasons with at least 94 losses, prompting them to make a flurry of trades that overhauled their rotation and their outfield. The infield is intact from last season, with Joey Votto at first base, Gennett at second, Jose Peraza at shortstop Eugenio Suarez at third and Tucker Barnhart behind the plate.
Gennett is encouraged by the team’s new look.
“It’s going great,” he said. “I’m not the only one who thinks that. It’s just a really good atmosphere.”