Which Cincinnati Reds position player is most likely to be traded before the season?

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) bats.
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) bats. / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

There's been a lot of rumblings during the offseason about the Cincinnati Reds three starting pitchers being on the trade block. Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray heard their names involved in trade rumors last offseason, and this winter, Tyler Mahle's has been the topic of trade speculation as well.

While I could see one or two of the Cincinnati starters shipped elsewhere prior to the 2022 season (whenever that may be), we haven't really heard of many position players mentioned in trade rumors. Sure, Mike Moustakas' name has emerged, but the Reds would have to attach a top-rated prospect or part of the infielder's salary to any potential deal.

Which Reds position player could be traded before Opening Day?

Eugenio Suárez is another name that has been tossed about, but I just don't see it. After two "down" years, the Cincinnati Reds would be "selling low" on Suárez. The third baseman put up 49 homers in 2019, but after shoulder surgery in 2020, it seems as though Geno has yet to return to that dominant plate presence we saw two seasons ago.

Suárez did show improvement during the final month of 2021, hitting .370/.460/.808 over his final 25 games last season. Cincinnati doesn't really have a great option to replace Suárez at third base either. Moustakas is an option, but has declined defensively. Kyle Farmer could slide over to third base, but the veteran doesn't really have the power profile that goes along with playing the hot corner.

Nick Senzel is another name that comes to mind. The former first-round pick switched positions prior to the 2019 season, and while a capable outfield defender, Senzel looks much better on the infield dirt. There's also the matter of Senzel's health, which has been discuss ad nauseam.

Just like the aforementioned Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suárez, the Cincinnati Reds would be selling low on Nick Senzel if they dealt the former University of Tennessee star this offseason. Senzel is also incredibly cheap, as he's likely to only take home about $1M this season. The 26-year-old is also under team control through the 2025 season.

Could the Reds find a trade partner for Shogo Akiyama?

I honestly think the most likely position player to be dealt before the start of the regular season is Shogo Akiyama. There's no way the Cincinnati Reds would receive anything of value for Akiyama. In fact, they might be able to scratch out a lower-tier prospect, and that's only if they include a prospect of their own or some extra cash.

Akiyama holds little trade value, but he's also not going to find any playing time in Cincinnati during the upcoming season. While Akiyama is a solid defender in the outfield, his bat is below-average, and the 33-year-old was relegated to bench bat in 2021, receiving just 162 at-bats.

The Reds also have a crowded outfield as it is with Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, TJ Friedl, Tyler Naquin, and Aristides Aquino. The combined 2022 salary of all five outfielders, using MLB Trade Rumors' arbitration predictions, would be about $12.5M. Akiyama is slated to make $8M and has fewer big league home runs that Friedl, who has just 31 major league at-bats.

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I'm not sure how feasible it would be, or which teams may even be interested, but the Cincinnati Reds would be wise to trade Shogo Akiyama before the 2022 season. While many fans will argue that he's yet to have a real chance to showcase his talent, Akiyama is unlikely to receive that opportunity in Cincinnati this season.