Recent reports suggested that Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, and Matt McLain are part of the Cincinnati Reds' long-term plans. And while Reds fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that three of their big-name stars are likely to stay put, there was one glaring omission.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand was not named as player that is seen as a long-term fixture in the Reds lineup. While that doesn't mean that Cincinnati is looking to move on from their slugging infielder, if the right deal came along, perhaps Nick Krall and the front office would consider it.
Dylan Cease has been linked to the Reds of late, and perhaps Encarnacion-Strand could be part of a trade package if Cincinnati was looking to make a deal for the Chicago White Sox starter. But why would the Reds be so quick to trade Encarnacion-Strand?
1. The Reds have enough infielders to replace Christian Encarnacion-Strand at first base
Immediately after it was revealed that the Cincinnati Reds had signed Jeimer Candelario to a three-year/$45-million deal, the fanbase assumed that Jonathan India would be out the door. After all, India's name has emerged in trade talks all offseason.
However, more recently, Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall made comments suggesting that rather than trading India, perhaps the club will give the former first-round pick some reps at first base during spring training.
While it wasn't the most outlandish idea imaginable, didn't it seem rather odd that Krall was hinting at moving India to a position he'd never played, and one where the Reds are already flush with capable players?
Even after Joey Votto was let go this offseason, Cincinnati's roster included Encarnacion-Strand, Spencer Steer, and Tyler Stephenson. All three of those players can handle first base duties. The Reds added then yet another player in Candelario who can do the same.
While Christian Encarnacion-Strand can play third base as well, it seems very likely that Noelvi Marte will be holding down the hot corner for years to come. Candelario and Steer also have experience at third base, and so does Elly De La Cruz. Even without Encarnacion-Strand, the Reds have first base covered.