News broke late Wednesday that the Cincinnati Reds were signing third baseman Jeimer Candelario to a 3-year deal worth $45 million, with an option for the 4th year. Now, a lot of us at Sodo Mojo were hoping the Mariners would offer a similar deal to Candelario to replace Geno, but obviously, that's not the case. With a glut of infielders now, could it set up a swap of infield talent from the Reds for pitching from the Mariners?
As things stand right now, the Cincinnati Reds have a lot of infield depth, even if you factor in a DH. They have Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Jonathan India, Noelvi Marte, Jeimer Candelario, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand. It gets even more crowded when you look at the outfield with TJ Friedl, Will Benson, and Jake Fraley. Not to mention Spencer Steer will have to factor in there somewhere. That's 10 guys for 8 spots in the lineup. Something has got to give right?
I touched on a couple of ideas previously here, but that was targeting TJ Friedl more than it was one of their infielders. After the signing of Candelario, over at Blog Red Machine, they touched on the depth chart and have Noelvi Marte starting at third base, McLain at second base, and De La Cruz at shortstop with Encarnacion-Strand at first base and Candelario at the DH. India is coming off the bench in this situation, but if the Mariners could make a pretty aggressive offer, the Reds could realistically slot India at second, with De La Cruz shifting to third.
Could Dipoto bring back Noelvi Marte?
I think this scenario is becoming more likely than we previously might have thought. Marte just debuted in 2023 and was really solid, He slashed .316/.366/.456 with 3 home runs in 35 games, and he also stole 6 bags. He has posted solid strikeout and walk rates at every level in the minor leagues. He could slot in at third base and be there for the foreseeable future.
With reports that the Mariners are working under certain budget constrictions, Marte being in the first of 3 years of pre-arbitration certainly help alleviate some of those concerns. Plus, Julio and Marte are reported to be really good friends having come up through the minor leagues together and it would be awesome to see them on the field everyday together. It would sort of remind me of the bond between Adrian Beltre and Felix Hernandez.
Acquiring Marte would not be cheap at all. With his age, early success, and club control he will cost a pretty penny. The Reds need pitching and would most certainly ask for Bryce Miller or Bryan Woo. In that case, the Mariners should probably get back something else, say a Jake Fraley or WIll Benson to fill an outfield void. Or perhaps they could get some bullpen help in the form of Ian Gibaut or Lucas Sims.
Another interesting possibility here could be a 3-team deal. They are very hard to work out, but what if the White Sox jumped in and sent Dylan Cease to the Reds, the Reds sent Marte to the Mariners and the Mariners traded prospects to the White Sox instead of dealing from their starting pitching. It would take some very solid prospects, certainly having to include at least a couple of Cole Young, Harry Ford, Gabriel Gonzalez, or Colt Emerson. I just picture the future of Marte and Julio in the same offense and watching them on the same field together.