The Cincinnati Reds said goodbye to a former first-round pick on Friday. The Reds non-tendered Nick Senzel, ending his five-year run with the club. But there's another former first-rounder still on the 40-man roster.
Jonathan India's name has been among the most popular is trade talks this winter. With a relatively shallow pool of impact bats in the free agent market, teams looking to upgrade their offense have been inquiring as to India's availability this offseason.
But after declining Joey Votto's team-option, and now non-tendering Senzel, the Reds have a void in their clubhouse and on the infield. While a trade involving India could certainly materialize in the coming weeks, Senzel's departure makes it less likely.
Why non-tendering Nick Senzel makes Jonathan India trade less likely
Fans throughout the Queen City want to believe that the crop of rookies who debuted in 2023 will lead the Cincinnati Reds to the promised land. And there's every reason to believe that can happen.
However, the sophmore jinx is real, injuries happen to even the most well-conditioned teams, and leadership is not easily replaced. For those reasons, and more, trading Jonathan India seems less and less likely.
That's not to say that president of baseball operations Nick Krall shouldn't listen if other clubs come calling. But unless the Reds are able to get tremendous value for India that can help the team win now, and in the future, Cincinnati should stand pat.
Losing Nick Senzel, while not overly deterimental, cannot be so easily dismissed. For the first time since his rookie season, Senzel was relatively healthy. The 28-year-old also played multiple positions and hit .347/.389/.610 with a wRC+ of 165 against southpaws.
Will last year's Reds rookies find success in Year 2?
While an infield comprised of Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, and Noelvi Marte sounds very intriguing, there are flaws.
Encarnacion-Strand and Marte saw fewer than 100 games between them, and De La Cruz was virtually unplayable at times due to a high number of strikeouts and poor defense.
Spencer Steer has enough versatility to be a super-sub who can play all over the diamond. But last year's rookie leader in doubles might see most of his playing time in the outfield heading into next season.
The designated hitter offers an easy way for the Cincinnati Reds to keep Jonathan India on the roster while also providing plenty of at-bats for last year's rookie performers.
And while India seems to be a bit pigeon-holed at second base, the Reds really haven't tried him at other positions since the University of Florida alum debuted in 2021. Perhaps trying him in left field or even third base would give David Bell more options in 2024.
Depth is not a bad thing to have. With the entire rookie class, except Steer, having less than 100 major league games under their belt, is it really a good idea to go into next season with more potential than production?
Jonathan India is estimated, by MLB Trade Rumors, to take home about $3.7-million in 2024. That's a very small number when you consider all that India brings to the table.