Earlier this week Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that the Cincinnati Reds were actively involved in trade discussions with three or four teams around infielder Jonathan India. He also noted that at the time nothing was likely to happen within the few hours after his report.
Nick Krall, the Reds President of Baseball Operations, spoke with the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Gordon Wittenmyer, and refuted the idea that the club is motivated to move him.
““I wouldn’t say we are motivated (to trade India). If a deal comes around, we have to be open to anything. But just motivated to move players off your roster just because ‘that guy might not fit (a specific spot).’ That doesn’t make any sense.”
When it comes to Jonathan India there are a lot of things at play. MLB Trade Rumors projects his salary, via arbitration, to be $3,700,000 for the 2024 season. That’s next to nothing, but it’s also about five times what any other infielder on the club is going to be making since everyone else has yet to reach arbitration.
India, unlike everyone else on the Reds infield who isn’t a first baseman, has only played one position in the big leagues. For the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year, that position is second base. He did play third base in college and some in the minor leagues, too, but his only time in the field in the big leagues has come at second base.
That could be important because Noelvi Marte, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Spencer Steer can and have been asked to play multiple spots on the field. Not just that, with that group, along with Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Jonathan India, it’s tough to find every day playing time for everyone involved. Even if we take into account Steer playing some outfield and the designated hitter spot, those aren’t going to be every single day things. And when they aren’t, someone from that group is going to be on the outside looking in from the dugout.
Cincinnati could get creative and work with a good rotation of that group to try and get everyone in the lineup five days a week. It would certainly make the bench stronger every single day. But it’s also possible, and very likely that if you trade someone from that group for another big leaguer, that the result would be a better team given that you probably aren’t trading for a bench player.
The winter meetings haven’t even started yet, but the stove is warming up. Cincinnati’s not going to come out and openly say “we’re trying to trade so-and-so”. That would be silly. Not only does it give other teams the idea that they can low-ball you, but if you make such a statement and then you don’t wind up trading that player, there could be some issues with how that player feels about the club. You want to avoid stuff like that. We’re still months away from the start of spring training. Plenty of time to see how things play out.