clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cubs free agent target: Jeimer Candelario

Would a reunion with the former Cubs prospect be worthwhile?

Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Cubs cut ties with the last player on their roster who was signed by the Jim Hendry regime, Willson Contreras, when Contreras turned down their qualifying offer and became a free agent.

Would it be useful to bring back another Hendry signee, Jeimer Candelario?

Though Candelario is a US citizen by birth — he was born in New York City — he was raised in the Dominican Republic and signed with the Cubs October 2, 2010, just before he turned 17. A steady rise through the Cubs system briefly made him a Top 100 prospect (96th, pre-2017) and gave him a stint in the Arizona Fall League in 2016, where he hit .329/.371/.610 with five home runs in 21 games. That was after playing in five games for the Cubs in 2016, going 1-for-11. That undoubtedly qualified him for a World Series ring.

Anyway, Candelario played in 11 more games for the Cubs in 2017, going 5-for-33. One of those hits was a home run against the Nationals:

The homer gave the Cubs a lead, which they blew, but scored three in the ninth and won 5-4, June 29, 2017.

Three days later Candelario was sent back to Triple-A Iowa and at the July 31 deadline was traded to the Tigers, along with Isaac Paredes, for Alex Avila and Justin Wilson.

Welp. That deal didn’t work out for the Cubs at all as Avila and Wilson weren’t very good, and both departed as free agents with no return at all. Meanwhile, Candelario went on to become a solid regular third baseman for Detroit and Paredes, traded to the Rays last April for Austin Meadows, had a good year in Tampa Bay.

Candelario had a really good year for the Tigers in 2021. He hit .271/.351/.443 and led the major leagues in doubles with 42. That was a 3.8 bWAR season.

His performance declined in 2022 to .217/.272/.361. In part that was likely due to a shoulder injury he suffered in June, and the rest of it ... well, pretty much everyone who played for the Tigers had a bad offensive season, they were last in MLB in basically every offensive category.

The Tigers non-tendered Candelario last week. He made $5.8 million in 2022 and has two years of team control remaining, and turns 29 next month. Defensively, he appears to be about league average and is pretty much third base only, though he’s played a bit of first base. If the Cubs were to sign him, he’d basically be replacing Patrick Wisdom, as the two players do pretty much the same thing.

Would it be worth it for the Cubs to take a flyer on him? I’d say yes, but I don’t know if it would be worth a major league contract to sign him. Would he return to the North Side on a minor-league deal with some financial guarantees if he made the Opening Day roster?


Jeimer Candelario...

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    ... the Cubs should sign him to a major league deal
    (92 votes)
  • 44%
    ... the Cubs should sign him to a minor league deal with some guarantees if he makes the Opening Day roster
    (326 votes)
  • 41%
    ... the Cubs should not sign him
    (302 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (7 votes)
727 votes total Vote Now