Jeimer Candelario starting to get in good graces with Reds fans after turnaround

The Candy Man has been crushing baseballs of late.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jeimer Candelario
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jeimer Candelario / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds went out this winter and signed veteran infielder Jeimer Candelario. The signing was met with unwavering support by some, while others saw it as another failed attempt on the part of the Reds front office. But most Reds fans had the same reaction — confusion.

Not because of Candelario himself, but his fit on the roster. After all, the Reds had just jettisoned Joey Votto after an entire career in a Reds uniform. There was also rampant trade rumors surrounding former NL Rookie of the Year, Jonathan India. The signing was, at the very least, perplexing.

Then came the early-season struggles. That, of course, triggered a barrage of commentary from those Reds fans who just didn't understand the signing. However, Candelario appears to be turning a corner, and may be winning back those fans that were quick to dismiss his presence on the Reds roster.

Jeimer Candelario starting to get in good graces with Reds fans after turnaround

Through his first 23 games in a Reds uniform, Candelario was hitting .159/.263/.317 with 34 strikeouts in 82 at-bats. That's not going to win too many new friends in the Queen City. It's difficult enough to ingratiate yourself with a new fanbase, but when your bat is consistently failing to live up to the billing, fans have a way of jumping ship rather quickly.

But Candelario appears to be getting back on track. Since the Reds' road trip to San Diego, Candelario has looked like a completely different player. Over the past eight games, Candelario is hitting .333 with a .909 OPS and four extra-base hits, including two home runs. That's the player that Reds fans were hoping to see after Cincinnati inked Candelario to a three-year deal last offseason.

The rest of the Reds offense has hit rock bottom, and Cincinnati is on a 10-game trip out west. Those West Coast road trips are usually brutal for manager David Bell and the Reds, but perhaps the rest of the team can follow Candelario's lead.

The Reds were swept in back-to-back series by the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks, but the bats began to show signs of life during the final two games of the homestand. Reds fans are hopeful that hot-hitting will follow the team to the Bay Area as Cincinnati has two more games left against the Giants before heading off to the desert for a rematch with the D-backs.

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