5 trade candidates for the Reds to sell if they fall further out of contention

If things don't get much better, the Reds certainly won't be buyers at the MLB trade deadline.
Cincinnati Reds second base Jonathan India
Cincinnati Reds second base Jonathan India / Bob Kupbens-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds have about another two weeks to turn their season around. Once the calendar flips to June, Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall will have some decisions to make. Will Cincinnati be buyers or sellers at the MLB trade deadline?

Given the current state of the team, fans should expect the Reds to be offloading talent rather than seeking to upgrade the roster. Cincinnati's horrific losing streak earlier this month has pushed the Reds below .500 for the season, and injuries have this team to the brink of disaster.

When that happens, GMs and front office executives cannot afford to be passive. Krall sat on his hands last summer, and the Reds straddled the fence choosing not to buy or sell. If the Reds fall further out of contention this season, which five players could be on the trade block?

Nick Martinez, Reds RHP

The Reds signed Nick Martinez to a two-year, $26 million contract this past offseason. Would the Reds be so quick to move on from the right-hander? If it meant clearing payroll and a spot in the starting rotation, you better believe they would.

Martinez occupies that odd, but necessary, role of a swingman. However, Cincinnati may have a terrific in-house option already in one of Carson Spiers or Brandon Williamson. Adding Martinez was supposed to bolster the Reds bullpen while also giving them a serviceable starter so that players like Randy Wynne and Brett Kennedy didn't appear on the mound in 2024.

If the Reds are out of contention later this season and they were able to get back a mid-tier prospect for Martinez while also shedding payroll, it's a win-win for Cincinnati. Martinez represents the type of player that many contending teams would definitely take a look at.

Jonathan India, Reds 2B

The rumblings have been there since last offseason, and were it not for an early-season injury to Matt McLain, it's quite possible that Jonathan India would have already been traded this season. India's bat, not his defense, is his calling card. The former first-round draft pick has a tremendous knowledge of the strike zone, and could be of great benefit to a number of ball clubs in need of a bat at the MLB trade deadline.

The Reds signed India to a two-year, $8.8 million deal, but the infielder is still under team control through 2026. India hasn't done anything to really help his trade value so far this season, but he also hasn't done anything to hurt it.

The Reds kept India around this past offseason in order to maintain quality depth. Seeing so many players hit the IL, the move appeared to work out. But moving forward, if Cincinnati is out of the playoff chase by the end of July, India should be on the trade block.

Frankie Montas, Reds RHP

Frankie Montas has a $20 million mutual-option for next season. If the Reds truly want to keep Montas in the Queen City (and he wants to come back), there's no reason to trade him. But, if Cincinnati believes that they have a suitable replacement for Montas in the minor leagues, it makes a lot of sense for the Reds to deal their Opening Day starter if the team is out of contention.

Montas has been solid, but not spectacular. However, there'll be plenty of teams near the trade deadline who'll be looking to secure that type of player. Trading for Montas won't cost an organization it's entire farm system, but the Reds should still be able to get a quality piece or two if the veteran is sent elsewhere.

Lucas Sims, Reds RHP

Lucas Sims has had a rough go of it in 2024, and normally his stats aren't the type that will garner a ton of attention from other GMs. But Sims has a great track record and tremendous stuff. The numbers aren't there this season, but if an opposing team is looking for an upgrade to the back of the bullpen, they could do a lot worse than Sims.

Sims is in the final year of team control, and having not received a contract extension to date, it's doubtful that one is going to come. Sims would fit that mold of a two-month rental that any number of teams will have interest in by the end of July. If the Reds are out of contention, Sims will almost assuredly be dealt.

Jake Fraley, Reds OF

This is a bit of a long shot, but Reds fans shouldn't be shocked if Jake Fraley is traded later this summer. Much like India, Fraley does not become a free agent until after the 2026 season. That will be very appealing to a number of contending teams.

It's a stretch to call Fraley and everyday player, but if another ball club is looking for a fantastic platoon option, you won't find many better than Fraley. The former Seattle Mariners farmhand plays above-average defense, possesses adequate speed, and absolutely rakes against right-handed pitching.

For all those reasons, however, the Reds should be able to set a relatively high price for Fraley's services. Of all the players on this list, Fraley is one who could undoubtedly help this team in 2025 and beyond. But if another team comes forward that's too good to refuse, the Reds may relent and move Fraley at the trade deadline.

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