The Captain Has Signed a 2 Year 8.8 Million Dollar Contract With The Cincinnati Reds
by Christopher Ball
For the past few years, fans and players alike have acknowledged that Jonathan India is the heart and soul of the Cincinnati Reds. On Friday, India and the Reds agreed on a contract that avoided arbitration and ensured that he will be back at least to start next season and potentially into 2025. It’s clear that this contract is a reflection of the contribution that India has made to the club and a hope that he can reclaim the form that saw him named National League Rookie of The Year just two short years ago.
India has made a name for himself for the Reds while playing second base, but the infield is already crowded with young players who have the potential to be legitimate stars and whose gloves are much better. There are rumblings that India could start to see more time at first, third, at DH or even in the outfield. Switching positions for good defensive players presents significant challenges, and so finding India a place on the field could be extremely challenging in 2024.
That’s not to mention how hard it may be to find a place in the Reds’ lineup next year. Fangraphs has projected a starting infield of Matt McLain at second base, Noelvi Marte at third and Jeimer Candelario at first. And that’s not even accounting for the talents of Christian Encarnacion Strand who could be on the verge of an impact year. The Reds’ lineup and infield is packed to the gills with young talent and so it’s fair to ask where India might fit in.
In just 119 games last season, India batted .244 with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs. However, nagging injuries and playing through pain obviously played a big part in those numbers. That’s why an 8-million-dollar contract seems more than fair, especially given India’s leadership, history, and his willingness to play different positions to help this team win any way he can.
The club found itself in a somewhat similar position last year with Nick Senzel. Granted Senzel was older, but he, too, was once very highly valued prospect that fell on hard times and simply wasn’t able to put it all together for the Reds. Senzel, too, was a veteran who switched positions and worked hard to give all he could given his limitations, and he had his fair share of big moments last year.
The Reds had plenty of injuries last year and they are a very young team. India will absolutely be called upon for significant at bats in 2024 and having him signed should make every Reds fan feel more secure that the team is much more complete with him on the roster.
There was a significant portion of the fanbase that wanted India traded after his struggles last year and it was an understandable position. And it’s likely that the Reds shopped him in some form or fashion this offseason. This contract doesn’t foreclose a potential move if there isn’t a fit for India in Cincinnati, but that’s likely the last thing on the Reds’ mind as they have locked up a solid contributor and a team-first guy that can contribute to what should hopefully be a breakout season for the Reds in 2024.
The Captain is back, and it’s time to see what he can do.
Christopher Ball is a longtime Loveland resident and an attorney. He graduated from Loveland High School in 2003 and was a member of the football team before going on to become a coach’s assistant at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He has been following and rooting for the Reds and Bengals since the early 1990s and has been through the many ups and downs that fandom has wrought over the years.