Brewers: Reds pick up Scooter Gennett after he’s waived by Milwaukee
After four years as the Milwaukee Brewers’ second baseman, Scooter Gennett came to spring training with a new mission: Transform into a utility player.
The 26-year-old embraced the challenge, seeing action in left field, right field and at third base and he appeared to be on track to make the team as a reserve.
But come Opening Day, Gennett will be filling those roles for the Cincinnati Reds, who claimed him off waivers Tuesday morning.
Gennett performed well this spring. He was hitting .316 (12-for-38) with seven runs scored and nine RBI in 38 games, but as the Brewers tried to finalize their 25-man roster, it became clear that playing time would be difficult to come by once the regular season began.
Hernan Perez turned into a Swiss Army knife of sorts last season, playing seven positions and he’s likely to see semi-regular action again this year, limiting the number of at-bats available to Gennett.
Gennett still had an option remaining and could have been assigned to Class AAA Colorado Springs, but there, too, his chances were limited because the Brewers have a number of middle infield and outfield prospects at that level.
General manager David Stearns told reporters his staff had explored a trade of Gennett but was unable to find a deal so Gennett was put on waivers.
A 16th-round selection in the 2009 MLB Draft, Gennett was Milwaukee’s second-longest tenured player behind Ryan Braun.
Gennett broke into the majors in 2013, batting .324 in 69 games as a rookie. In four seasons with the Brewers, he was a .279 hitter with 35 home runs and 160 RBI including a .263 mark in 136 games last season.
But when top prospect Orlando Arcia was summoned from Class AAA Colorado Springs, the Brewers faced a problem. Arcia’s arrival meant shortstop Jonathan Villar, enjoying a breakout season himself, needed a new position. Milwaukee tried him at third base, but Villar was more comfortable at second, leaving Gennett the odd man out.
Counsell talked with Gennett over the winter and explained that he’d need to adapt.
“He was really open with me in terms of what I should expect and I told him what I was thinking,” Gennett said early in camp. “I was excited when he told me I’d be playing different positions this spring.
“I’ve never had a guaranteed job any time I’ve come here for spring. So I always treated it the same — in the spring I’m going to battle and try to make the team.”