India could be moved -- to another position

December 5th, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Although rumors to the contrary have existed since last summer, the Reds are not shopping second baseman for trades. President of baseball operations Nick Krall made that crystal clear on Monday during the Winter Meetings.

However, Krall has had talks with India about being moved to other positions.

“We sat down with him before Redsfest again [last weekend] and had a conversation with him about, ‘Hey, how can we get your bat in the lineup more?’ I’ve said this openly … we’re not trying to trade him. But I’m not going to tell you it’s never going to happen," Krall said. "Our goal is to have him here and be a contributing player.

"We’re not looking to move him. He has a chance to be a very big contributor on our club next year. I told him that. We’re not looking to trade anybody. Do people get asked about? Sure. Does that happen periodically? Sure. But at the same time, we are not looking to just move him. That’s been out there multiple times.”

India, who will turn 27 on Dec. 15, won the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year Award and is a vocal team leader on and off the field.

With Cincinnati looking to find ways to keep young middle infielders Matt McLain and Elly De La Cruz in the daily lineup, there might be times in 2024 where India plays first base or is the designated hitter. India took grounders at third base before some games last season and there were conversations about giving him a look in the outfield, though that didn't materialize.

“I talked to him. He’s a great team guy that’s going to do what’s best for the team. He wants to play," Krall said. "He’s a tremendous guy that’s been a very good Major League player so far in the early part of his career. He just wants to do what’s best to help us win games.”

Following his rookie season in 2023, Christian Encarnacion-Strand appears to have the inside track to play first base after Joey Votto didn't have his 2024 club option picked up. Besides Encarnacion-Strand, utility player Spencer Steer and catcher Tyler Stephenson can also man first base.

And now, perhaps India.

"Are we going to be able to get a guy like Jonathan India some at-bats there vs. DH?" Krall said. "If Christian is out of the lineup and Steer is in left field, maybe [India] can play some first. I think there’s going to be some mix and match. … So you’ve got four guys on your team that can play first base, that if somebody is out of the lineup or you want to give a guy a day off or push a guy to the DH spot.”

In 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. But he was moved out of the top spot in the lineup in some stretches.

During Redsfest on Friday, India wasn't concerned about trade rumors.

“I go with the flow. There’s nothing I can do about it," he said. "I talked to the front office and talked to a lot of people. I know where I stand. Bottom line is I just have to prepare my body and prepare myself for the season coming up. We’ll see what happens.”

That wasn't the case in July ahead of the Trade Deadline.

"That was just because it was my first time going through it," India said. "It was hard for me to hear that."

India and his fiancee, Daniella, are due to welcome their first child in January. Eligible for arbitration for the first time, he praised the front office for its honesty with him and stated his desire to remain in Cincinnati.

“Oh my God, I tell you guys all the time. I love this team. I love this city," India said.