There is an excitement around the Cincinnati Reds that fans haven't seen in quite some time. The club's offseason acquisitions combined with the young talent already present on the roster have Reds Country thinking playoffs in 2024.
But no general manager should ever be completely content with what he has. Nick Krall and the Cincinnati front office have consistently been thinking at least one move ahead with hopes of remaining relevant beyond just one season. As such, the Reds have made a plethora of trades the past few years.
Though it's been painful for the fanbase to see the likes of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Kyle Farmer shipped elsewhere, it's one of the best ways that a small-market franchise like the Reds can remain in the postseason hunt year after year. With that in mind, which which four Reds players are untouchable and which two should Cincinnati consider training prior to Opening Day?
These Reds players are untouchable
The Reds should keep Elly De La Cruz at all costs
It goes without saying that the Cincinnati Reds need to build around the young talent already on their roster. The player with the highest ceiling among everyone on the Reds is Elly De La Cruz. Last year's rookie has five-tool potential and is just scratching the surface.
The 2023 season was a bit of a roller coaster ride for De La Cruz. There were moments where he looked like the best player in baseball, and others where it felt like a trip back to the minors was in order. Don't forget that De La Cruz is still just 22 years old, and during his minor league development, he could rely on his talent alone.
Heading into the 2024 season, Elly De La Cruz now knows that making adjustments will be key to his success. De La Cruz could be in for a huge jump from Year 1 to Year 2, and won't become a free agent until after the 2029 season. De La Cruz is the very definition of untouchable.
The Reds must hold on to Noelvi Marte
If Elly De La Cruz is player No. 1 on this list, then Noelvi Marte is 1A. There's reason to believe that Marte, while not as electric as De La Cruz, could eventually become a better major league player.
Marte ended the 2023 season on a 16-game hitting streak and looks to be locked in as the Reds' starting third baseman next season. With so much depth on the corners, it's debatable as to whether or not Marte stays on the infield dirt throughout his entire career, but the 22-year-old's bat is his carrying tool.
Marte will still be considered a rookie when the 2024 season begins. Just like De La Cruz, Marte is under team control for the next several years and, under no circumstances, should be traded.