India signs 2-year deal with Reds to avoid arbitration

February 9th, 2024

CINCINNATI -- The Reds avoided arbitration with their last remaining eligible player when second baseman agreed to a two-year, $8.8 million contract on Friday.

India, 27, will earn $3.8 million in 2024 and $5 million in 2025. He can earn escalators in the second year based on plate appearances or games started up to an additional $2.05 million. He earned $760,000 in 2023.

The Reds had offered $3.2 million in arbitration, while India filed at $4 million. Because he was first-year eligible, India will still have one more year of arbitration remaining after the new contract expires. After that, he will be eligible for free agency.

Over 119 games last season, India batted .244 with a .746 OPS, 17 home runs and 61 RBIs. He missed 39 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot after being Cincinnati's primary leadoff hitter in 2021-22 and for 62 starts in '23.

India, who won the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year Award, is viewed by the club and its players as a vocal team leader on and off the field.

Entering 2024, India could see significant changes to his role. With a deep infield that also features Matt McLain able to man second base, India could be used at other positions -- including first base, third base, left field and designated hitter.

Manager David Bell and president of baseball operations Nick Krall spoke with India during the offseason about his role amid an infield rotation involving up to six players for the four positions and DH.

“He’s established himself, and he’s 100 percent on what we have here as a team," Bell said on Jan. 24. "I think there’s been even a little more of a shift toward, 'I am going to do whatever I have to do to be on the field and to help our team win, whatever that takes.'

"He just wants to be on the field and in the lineup as much as possible. Obviously as a second baseman, but depending on how things shake out, to be able to get him on the field as much as he wants to be and as much as I want him to be, there may be other positions that he’ll need to play.”

On Jan. 11, at the deadline to exchange salary figures with eligible players, Cincinnati avoided arbitration with five players -- all on one-year contracts.

Reliever Lucas Sims will earn $2.850 million in 2024, catcher Tyler Stephenson will get $2.525 million, outfielder Jake Fraley will earn $2.150 million, Alex Young is set to receive $1.16 million and reliever Tejay Antone agreed to make $830,000.