Predicting the Reds 2024 Opening Day depth chart after signing Jeimer Candelario

The Cincinnati Reds improved their roster after signing Jeimer Candelario.

Chicago Cubs infielder Jeimer Candelario
Chicago Cubs infielder Jeimer Candelario / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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While most folks were sound asleep, the Cincinnati Reds added another infielder after signing Jeimer Candelario to a three-year/$45-million deal.

The casual Reds fan probably woke up this morning and thought that Nick Krall had lost his mind. After all, doesn't Cincinnati have enough infielders as it is?

Other fans assume this is a surefire signal that Jonathan India is out the door and the Reds could trade the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year any moment now. But let's see what the Cincinnati Reds 2024 Opening Day depth chart might look like after the Candelario signing.

Predicting the Reds 2024 Opening Day starting lineup after signing Jeimer Candelario

Jeimer Candelario, for those who don't know, came up as a third baseman with the Chicago Cubs. The switch-hitting infielder spent most of his career, however, with the Detroit Tigers.

After a down-year in 2022, Candelario was non-tendered. Candelario signed a deal with the Washington Nationals last offseason and was traded to the Cubs midseason. Candelario hit .251/.336/.471 with 22 home runs and 70 runs batted in last season.

Player

Position

TJ Friedl

CF

Spencer Steer

LF

Matt McLain

2B

Jeimer Candelario

1B

Christian Encarnacion-Strand

DH

Elly De La Cruz

SS

Noelvi Marte

3B

Will Benson

RF

Tyler Stephenson

C

If the Cincinnati Reds open the season with the roster as currently constructed, one has to assume that Candelario is likely to get most of his reps at first base. Christian Encarnacion-Strand is sure to get some starts there as well, but both can also act as the Reds designated hitter.

Candelario and Encarnacion-Strand can both play third base as well. However, after getting a cup of coffee in the big leagues last season and ending the year on a 16-game hitting streak, Nolevi Marte is sure to be in the mix at third base as well.

Reds 2024 Opening Day bench after signing Jeimer Candelario

Player

Position

Jonathan India

2B

Luke Maile

C

Jake Fraley

OF

Stuart Fairchild

OF

Signing Jeimer Candelario likely pushes Spencer Steer to left field, though last year's rookie still possesses that positional versatility to play all over the diamond.

The biggest impact this signing is likely to have is on the playing time afforded to Jonathan India. While there have been trade rumors surrounding India all offseason, Nick Krall has maintained the club's desire to keep India in Cincinnati.

If India is on the roster heading into Opening Day next year, he could serve a role similar to what fans saw from Nick Senzel in 2023. Though India, to date, has not shown an ability to play in the outfield, David Bell could shuffle the 27-year-old in and out of the lineup based on the pitching matchup.

The rest of the Cincinnati Reds bench will likely be filled out by outfielders Jake Fraley and Stuart Fairchild, and backup catcher Luke Maile.

Some Reds fans are sure to scoff at the idea of keeping Jonathan India heading into Opening Day next season. But Cincinnati is one injury away from needing India on next year's roster. There's also the chance that one or more of last year's rookies takes a step back in 2024.


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