Reds fans' ire with front office vindicated after Jeimer Candelario's 2024 start

Reds fans are extremely unhappy at the moment.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jeimer Candelario
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jeimer Candelario / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

When you sign a large contract, there are heightened expectations attached to it. Hunter Greene, who signed a six-year, $53 million extension with the Cincinnati Reds last spring, has drawn the ire of the fanbase from time to time. And now, Jeimer Candelario is the focus of Reds Country's angst.

During the offseason, the Reds made the rather peculiar choice to sign Candelario to a three-year, $45 million contract. At the time, it seemed as though the last thing the Reds needed was another infielder.

After all, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand had all made their rookie debuts in 2023, and Cincinnati was already struggling with how to fit Jonathan India into the lineup. Fast-forward to spring training, and after watching Marte receive an 80-game suspension and McLain land on the 60-day IL, Reds fans were glad to have both Candelario and India on the roster.

Reds fans vindicated with front office ire after Jeimer Candelario's 2024 start

While India is seemingly coming out of his slump, Candelario is unfortunately still marred in his. The Reds third baseman has fallen on hard times and the 30-year-old isn't playing up to his rather expensive contract. Candelario is hitting just .159/.263/.317.

Candelario is looking much more like the player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers in 2022 instead of the infielder who split time with the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs last season. In 2022, Candelario hit .217/.272/.361 while with the Tigers organization and was non-tendered during the offseason. Candelario landed a deal with the Nats heading into 2023 and hit .251/.336/.471 while playing in both DC and the Windy City.

It's not atypical for players to struggle once they join up with a new team. Reds fans soon forget how poorly Nick Castellanos played during his first season in the Queen City. The outfielder decided not to opt out of his contract after 2020 and returned to Cincinnati in 2021. That season, he led the Reds in RBI and went to his first All-Star Game.

Reds fans are hopeful that they won't have to wait that long for Candelario to turn things around. Unfortunately, none of Candelario's advanced metrics suggest that his play has been anything but abysmal through the first month of the season. According to Baseball Savant, Candelario ranks near the bottom of the league in expected batting average, expected slugging percentage, and strikeout rate.

Reds fans are trying to be patient, and are hopeful that Candelario's numbers eventually mimic what's on the the back of his baseball card, but that's a tough sell at the moment. Without McLain and Marte in the lineup, Reds manager David Bell has little choice but to continue to play the veteran and hope that he snaps out of his current funk. But the clock is ticking.

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