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Former Tennessee Baseball Player Heading to Washington Nationals

Nick Senzel
Former Tennessee and current Reds baseball player Nick Senzel. Photo via Cincinnati Reds on Twitter.

Former Tennessee baseball player Nick Senzel signed a $2 million, one-year deal with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

The move from the Nationals comes after the Cincinnati Reds non-tendered Senzel back in November. The non-tender essentially means that the team is declining to give a player a contract for the upcoming season, thus allowing him to become a free agent. Senzel will help fill a need at third base for the Nationals in the upcoming season.

Senzel played in 104 games for the Reds during the 2023 season and came away with a handful of memorable moments. On April 27, Senzel blasted a walk-off home run against the eventual World Series Champion Texas Rangers and donned a Viking helmet during the celebration.

Then, in July, Senzel had a sensational game with a game-saving diving catch against the wall in the bottom of the ninth inning in a tie game against the Washington Nationals. Then, in the top of the 10th inning, Senzel blasted a two-run go-ahead home run in the Nationals Park. Seems that was a fitting location to have a big game, in hindsight.

Senzel hit .236 with a .696 OPS, 42 RBIs, 13 home runs, and had six steals on the season. The issue for Senzel, though, has been staying healthy. The former Tennessee Vol has been on the injured list seven times since debuting in MLB in 2019.

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Senzel played for Farragut High School in Knoxville prior to his time with the Vols and helped lead the Admirals to a Tennessee State Championship in 2011.

Before starting with Tennessee in 2014, Senzel had actually planned on attending the University of Georgia but was granted a release after the Bulldogs had fired their head coach. The Knoxville ball player then made the decision to stay in town and play for the Volunteers.

“Nick is a family guy,” former Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano has previously said about Senzel. “And that’s why I know the decision he made to go to Athens and the University of Georgia was a little hasty one, and maybe he wanted to be wanted a little bit more. But, boy, it sure turned out for the right thing.”

Senzel played in 53 out of the Vols’ 54 games during his freshman season and was the starting designated hitter for 45 of those games, along with a handful of starts at the second base position.

“It was a very hard decision for me,” Senzel said. “But at the same time I wanted to stay close to my family and coach Serrano gave me a chance, an opportunity to do that.”

Senzel played at Tennessee for a total of three seasons and racked up quite a few prestigious awards during that time. For instance, in his final junior year in 2016, Senzel was named a Perfect Game First-Team All-American, Baseball America Second-Team All-American, Golden Spikes Semifinalist, and Second-Team All-SEC.

Senzel, the newest member of the Washington Nationals, finished his Tennessee career with a .326 batting average hitting 101 runs, 149 hits, and nine home runs over the span of 125 games.

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