The General Manager Meetings are taking place this week. And there are already rumors swirling about the Cincinnati Reds on the trade market. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that Jonathan India is a “popular name among execs at the GM Meetings” as “multiple teams have inquired the Reds about his availability”, but also notes that while the Reds are willing to listen that they value him highly and aren’t motivated to move him.
Obviously no team is going to come out and say “we want to move this guy” because that kind of takes away some leverage you may have in trade discussions. But Cincinnati’s infield is packed. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Spencer Steer, Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, and Jonathan India all play the infield. Only Steer from that group has played in the outfield as a professional for more than a handful of games. Even removing Steer from the conversation there’s still one more player there than there are positions on the infield. The designated hitter does allow for some wiggle room there, though.
Given that Steer did see plenty of time in the outfield with Cincinnati in 2023, that could be part of their plan – at least for now – for 2024. That would allow them to keep India if they wanted to, as well as the other infielders, and utilize the designated hitter spot to allow everyone to be in the lineup nearly every day but not necessarily in the field every day. India played third base in college and could probably play there if asked to again, but with both Marte and De La Cruz on the infield it seems it would just make more sense that one of them plays third base on days when India is at second and to slide McLain to shortstop.
Cincinnati has options, and as the initial report from Morosi suggests – the Reds don’t have to trade him. They can keep him and everyone else and make things work because it’s now 2023 and the National League has finally caught up to the times and has the designated hitter. Without it the club may be in a different position and may have needed to look at moving an infielder, be that India or someone else.
That puts the Reds in a position to keep a higher asking price for India, or anyone else on the infield if a team comes a’callin. There’s a lot of time for Cincinnati to try and navigate it all. Spring training doesn’t begin for another four-and-a-half months. The regular season is nearly six months away. Expect this to be the first of many, many trade rumors this offseason around India, who is the only infielder the club had in 2023 that’s coming back and wasn’t a rookie last season.