The lack of middle infielders available in free agency this offseason will have Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall fielding trade offers early and often this offseason.
If there's one thing the Reds have, it's a glut of middle infielders; both at the major league level and in the minors. The temptation will be there to move one of the club's talented young players, especially if the offer is right.
It's common, and understandable, for Reds fans to abhor the idea of trading some of their favorite players. But the hard truth is that one of the team's middle infielders is likely on the way out this winter.
Weak free agent class will have Nick Krall's phone ringing off the hook this offseason
There's honestly no telling what the trade market will look like this offseason, but the free agent market is extremely thin on middle infielders. I'm not sure that many teams have players like Amed Rosario, Elvis Andrus, and Kike Hernandez very high on their wishlist this offseason.
Can I interest you in Whit Merrifield, Kolten Wong, or Adam Frazier? No, I didn't think so. But if you're a team looking to upgrade your middle infield, that's what you've got to choose from. According to FanGraphs, Merrifield was worth 1.5 fWAR. But at nearly 35 years old, Merrifield isn't going to draw a crowd.
The Cincinanti Reds, on the other hand, have a quintet of middle infielders on the 40-man roster. Jonathan India, Elly De La Cruz, Spencer Steer, Matt McLain, and Noelvi Marte can all play up the middle. If you'd like, throw in Jose Barrero for good measure.
Yes, there are ways that manager David Bell could finagle the lineup in 2024 in order to get every single one of those players into games, and depth is never a bad thing. However, it's not as if the Reds are bursting at the seams at other positions.
Cincinnati needs pitching. Anyone who saw last year's team burn through 38 different hurlers could tell you that. With so much depth up the middle and the need for quality starting pitching, it makes all the sense in the world that the Reds would consider moving one of their talented middle infielders in order to help upgrade the rotation this offseason.
Fans don't want to hear this, but Jonathan India is the most obvious choice. After two sub-par seasons and some rather troubling defensive performances, India's spot in the lineup heading into 2024 seems rather precarious.
That said, Cincinanti Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall shouldn't necessarily be "shopping" India or any other middle infielders this offseason. However, if the Reds chief executive is presented with an offer, he most certainly should entertain it.