The Cincinnati Reds have talked with the Boston Red Sox about a trade of Jonathan India. Jim Bowden of The Athletic reported that Boston is looking for a second baseman and have spoken with the Reds as well as the Yankees about potential options.
With four infield spots, plus the designated hitter spot, Cincinnati still seems like they may have too many players for spots to play. Christian Encarnacion-Strand seems to have first base locked down after the team declined the 202 option on Joey Votto. That leaves second base, third base, and shortstop out there for Jonathan India, Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, Spencer Steer, and Noelvi Marte. Even if we account for someone being the designated hitter, that’s still not enough spots. With Steer having some time in left field it does create some wiggle room, but with Jake Fraley, TJ Friedl, and Will Benson all proving they deserve to play every day (at least when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound), the wiggle room is tiny and still doesn’t create enough spots on most days.
Jonathan India has been the name that teams have seemingly been asking about. There could be plenty of reasons for that – he’s more established than the others being one of them. But another one could be that unlike the rest of the group, he’s arbitration eligible now and will be making more than the league minimum and likely make about as much money as the others make combined in 2024. Cincinnati, which currently has one of the lowest payrolls for 2024 in all of baseball, doesn’t need to be lowering payroll, but when you’ve got a reputation for not being a big spender and have one player in a crowded group who makes a lot more money than the others do…..
Nick Krall, Reds President of Baseball Operations, noted this past week that the team wasn’t motivated to move Jonathan India in a trade. With plenty of planning ahead, the Reds could get just about every one of their “every day” players about five games a week. And the bench would be stronger by having one or two of the guys not starting that day on it. The question becomes whether that’s more valuable to the club, or making a trade to acquire someone who would provide value in another area.