Reds fans won’t like manager David Bell prioritizing Jeimer Candelario over young talent

David Bell's lineup is bound to be criticized more than ever before.

Cincinnati Reds infielder Jeimer Candelario fields a ground ball at third base
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jeimer Candelario fields a ground ball at third base / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Cincinnati Reds made, what many fans believed to be, an odd signing this winter when the club agreed to terms with Jeimer Candelario. Many Reds fans questioned the fit; after all, didn't Cincinnati have enough infielders on the roster?

But the team made the move, regardless of the perception throughout Reds Country, and now Cincinnati's infield depth is forcing manager David Bell to get creative with his lineup. If everyone is fully healthy come Opening Day, at least one of the Reds talented, young players will find himself on the bench, or perhaps even Triple-A, to begin the season.

Anthony Castrovince of MLB Network spoke with Bell recently about the addition of Candelario and how the Reds' skipper foresees allocating playing time for both the club's top free agent acquisition and the organization's best young players like Noelvi Marte and Christian Encarnacion-Strand. Reds fans won't like what they hear.

Reds fans won’t like David Bell prioritizing Jeimer Candelario over Noelvi Marte and Christian Encarncion-Strand

Bell said that Candelario is going to play most days, and potentially every single day. Bell's plan for Candelario is to move the veteran around the infield between both first and third base. The Reds manager even mentioned giving Candelario reps at second base. And, of course, Candelario will see time as the Reds' designated hitter as well.

Bell then shifted the conversation toward the pair of young infielders, saying that Marte and Encarnacion-Strand are going to need days off. And that's where Reds fans are going to have a beef. The Cincinnati faithful are all-in on Marte, Encarnacion-Strand, Elly De La Cruz, and Matt McLain leading this team in 2024 and beyond.

But if you read between the lines of what Bell is saying, Reds fans had better be ready to see days when Marte and Encarnacion-Strand are out of the lineup in favor of Candelario and Jonathan India.

There are only so many at-bats that the manager can offer, and as the season progresses, these things have a way of working themselves out. However, that's not going to stop the Reds fanbase from constantly berating David Bell if he makes a habit of keeping Noelvi Marte and Christian Encarnacion-Strand on the bench.

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