5 Reds players and prospects who could be traded during the MLB Winter Meetings

Will the Reds be active in the trade market during the upcoming MLB Winter Meetings?

Cincinnati Reds hats in the dugout
Cincinnati Reds hats in the dugout / G Fiume/GettyImages
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The MLB Winter Meetings begin next week, and Cincinnati Reds fans are hopeful that some more roster additions are on the way.

After inking right-handed pitchers Emilio Pagán and Nick Martinez to free agent contracts this week, might Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall turn his attention to the trade market once the Winter Meetings open up?

The Reds have a treasure trove of prospects that rebuilding teams would love to acquire, and there are likely some major league caliber players who are sure to pique the interest of opposing executives as well. Which five Reds players and prospects could be traded during the MLB Winter Meetings?

1. Reds prospect Leonardo Balcazar could be traded during the MLB Winter Meetings

This will be a very unfamiliar name to a majority of Reds fans, but those who are truly plugged in to the organization's farm system will have undoubtedly heard of Leonardo Balcazar. While some will surely be dismissive of Balcazar because he's one of, what seem like, a dozen shortstop prospects, rest assured that the 19-year-old is very talented.

Balcazar played in Low-A this past season and hit .324/427/.474 in 18 games. Unfortuantely, a torn ACL ended Balcazar's season, otherwise, you probably would've heard a more from the Reds infield prospect.

However, as mentioned, Leonardo Balcazar is a shortstop. Moreover, he's at least three-plus years away from making it to the big leagues. With so much talent at the position, both in the big leagues and in the minors, at some point Cincinnati is going to have to part with some of these talented assets in order to bolster other aspects of the roster.

Balcazar would be unlikely to be the headliner of any trade during the MLB Winter Meetings, but any rebuilding club or one looking to improve their farm system would be thrilled to have the bat-first prospect join their organization. Don't be shocked if Balcazar is part of some sort of deal during next week's festivities.

2. Reds 2B Jonathan India could be traded during the MLB Winter Meetings

Where there's smoke, there's fire. While it feels as though the Jonathan India trade rumors have been beaten to a bloody pulp this offseason, and they have, there's obviously some validity to them. Those rumors are not going to go away once the MLB Winter Meetings begin next week.

India is a prime candidate to be traded for two reasons. First, he's entering Year 1 of his arbitration window and should receive a nice raise heading into the 2024 season. That said, the Reds can more than afford to pay India after shedding so much of last year's salary with Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas off the books.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, the Cincinnati Reds have more infielders than they know what do with. India joins a crowd that includes Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Matt McLain, and Spencer Steer.

India is somewhat land-locked, as he's never really played any other position besides second base. When the former first-round pick has taken reps at the keystone, his defense usually grades out as below-average.

However, Jonathan India is viewed as the leader of the Reds clubhouse and possesses a level of intangibles that can't be measured. If so many other teams are that enamored with India, perhaps the Reds would do best to hang on to him heading into next season.

3. Reds prospect Cam Collier could be traded during the MLB Winter Meetings

Cam Collier was a draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds just over a year ago after falling into their laps in Round 1. Collier has all the tools to be a monster in the middle of the batting order, but the youngster did run into his fair share of struggles during his first full season in the minor leagues last year.

After dominating Rookie-Ball the previous year, it would appear as though Collier took a step back in 2023. The 19-year-old hit just .246/.349/.356 with six home runs and 68 RBI at Low-A Daytona. But try not to get too caught up in the numbers and remember that Collier was one of the youngest prospects on the Daytona Tortugas roster last season.

To be sure, the Reds are in no way shopping Collier, but there are plenty of teams who'd love to have him as part of their organization. If Cincinnati goes big-game hunting at next week's MLB Winter Meetings, they may have to part ways with one of their top prospects.

Just because Collier has fallen out of favor with some scouts and talent evaluators does not mean that's the case with the Reds coaches and development staff. However, if trading Cam Collier as part of a package that would land Dylan Cease, you'd have to assume Cincinnati would at least consider it.

Sal Stewart, who was taken with the Reds second pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, put up terrific numbers last season while at Low-A. Both Stewart and Collier play the same position, so there's a chance that the redundancy would give the Cincinnati Reds confidence to make blockbuster trade and part with one of their corner infielders.

4. Reds OF Jake Fraley could be traded during the MLB Winter Meetings

Some Reds fans may scoff at the idea of trading Jake Fraley, but if Cincinnati's interest in a free agent like Jeimer Candelario heats up during the MLB Winter Meetings, the team may be able to part with one of their left-handed hitting outfielders.

Fraley had a great season in 2023 until a toe injury put him on the IL. The right fielder returned during the latter part of the season, but it was obvious that the injury was hindering him and Fraley was relegated to just being the team's DH.

A healthy Fraley in 2024 could be quite the weapon, but the Reds do have some talented left-handed hitting outfielders already on the roster. TJ Friedl proved that he's an everyday player and will likely open next season as the Reds centerfielder.

But it was Will Benson's emergence during his first year in Cincinnati that could cause the Reds to pivot away from Fraley this offseason. The Reds also have youngsters like Rece Hinds, Jacob Hurtubise, and Blake Dunn coming up through the pipeline; all of whom are likely to see the field in 2024.

Jake Fraley is entering Year 1 of his arbitration window, though just like Jonathan India, that's no reason to just move on from the slugging outfielder because he's due a bump in pay. However, Fraley proved to be rather unplayable against left-handed pitching last season.

If Nick Krall sees an advantage in trading Fraley this offseason, don't put it past the Reds President of Baseball Operations to pull the trigger on a potential trade. That said, Cincinnati isn't "shopping" Fraley, and the 28-year-old is likely to be part of the Reds 2024 Opening Day roster.

5. Reds prospect Edwin Arroyo could be traded during the MLB Winter Meetings

Edwin Arroyo, much like Leonardo Balcazar, is a name that Reds fans will kick around as a potential trade candidate due to the fact that he plays shortstop. There's nothing wrong with that on its own merit, but if Elly De La Cruz is the player that everyone in the Reds front office expects him to be, that position is on lockdown for the foreseeable future.

Arroyo is arguably the best defensive shortstop in the Reds farm system. His bat's not too bad either. While Arroyo had some early-season struggles at High-A Dayton, he did enough over the last few months to earn a promotion to Double-A Chattanooga.

Arroyo's timeline probably puts the former second-round pick ready for the big leagues in late-2024 or 2025. De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Noelvi Marte, all of whom are capable of playing shortstop, will still be pre-arbitration eilgible at that time.

Edwin Arroyo, as is the case with the aforementioned Cam Collier, is not the type of player you just give away. The slick-fielding shortstop would no doubt be the headliner in a deal for a potential ace. If such an offer is presented to Nick Krall at the upcoming MLB Winter Meetings, don't think he won't listen.

Dealing Arroyo could be part of a trade package for a player like Dylan Cease, or another young, controllable starting pitcher. Reds fans, however, need not see the farm system's abundance of shortstop prospects as a detriment, but rather a means to help the club acquire some top talent on the trade market.