Reds' pursuit of Jeimer Candelario could signal position change for Elly De La Cruz

The Reds are rumored to be interested in signing Jeimer Candelario.

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz (44) catches a pop up.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz (44) catches a pop up. / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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Rumors surfaced on Thursday that the Cincinnati Reds were interested in signing free agent infielder Jeimer Candelario.

It was a puzzling report given that the Reds have so many talented infielders. But perhaps this is a signal that something bigger is brewing in Cincinnati.

While one way of looking at these latest Reds rumors could suggest that president of baseball operations Nick Krall is looking to acquire pitching depth by dealing one of the team's top infielders, perhaps Elly De La Cruz may be on the move; not to another team, but a new position.

Reds' pursuit of Jeimer Candelario could signal position change for Elly De La Cruz

Many fans have been advocating since watching Elly De La Cruz debut last season that the 21-year-old phenom should be moved to the outfield. On the surface, that idea makes sense.

De La Cruz possesses elite speed and could track almost any ball hit his way. De La Cruz also has one of the strongest arms in the game, and that cannon could profile very well in right field.

Elly De La Cruz also looked a bit uncomfortable at times while playing shortstop last season. Yes, it was only his rookie season, but it's not often that fans see many 6-foot-5 shortstops in the major leagues. De La Cruz committed 14 errors last season.

If the Cincinnati Reds actually pursued and signed Jeimer Candelario, the team could insert the 29-year-old at the hot corner and move Noelvi Marte from third base to shortstop to begin the 2024 season.

Matt McLain also has plenty of experience playing shortstop in college, the minor leagues, and last year with the Reds. If the club decides to hang on to Jonathan India next season, rather than moving the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year off the keystone, Cincinnati could insert McLain at shortstop.

Plenty of former shortstops, including Mookie Betts and Fernando Tatis Jr. have made the switch from the infield dirt to the outfield grass without skipping a beat.

It may be a bit premature to be talking about a position change for Elly De La Cruz, as the Cincinnati Reds have maintained their desire to keep their star player on the infield dirt. However, adding a corner infielder like Jeimer Candelario would raise a lot of questions about the future direction of this Reds team.

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