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The Cubs should trade for one of their former prospects to play third base

No, not Javy Báez — instead, a guy who is an actual third baseman.

Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Through Sunday’s game, Cubs third basemen are batting .207/.301/.349 (54-for-261) with eight home runs. All of the home runs were hit by Patrick Wisdom, though I suspect you knew that already. Wisdom’s other six homers were hit as a DH (three) and right fielder (three).

I probably also don’t need to tell you that .650 OPS is pretty bad. It ranks 24th among MLB teams at third base. The Cubs could use power at many positions, but third base is a glaring, gaping offensive hole.

Jeimer Candelario, who has been around so long that he was signed by the Cubs by the Jim Hendry regime (October 2010), could be that guy. Candelario made steady progress through the Cubs system and had a brief five-game cameo with the big club in 2016 (Hey! He got a World Series ring for that!). He also played in the Futures Game in 2016.

Several lists had Candelario as a Top 5 Cubs prospect in 2017, and he was MLB Pipeline’s No. 96 overall prospect that year. Then he was traded to the Tigers, along with Isaac Paredes, for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila at the trading deadline in 2017. That was a win-now deal but neither Wilson nor Avila did much for the Cubs and they didn’t win. Meanwhile, Candelario had several good years in Detroit — including leading the American League in doubles with 42 in 2021 — and signed with the Nationals as a free agent before this season. (Paredes, who was in Low-A at the time of the trade, played sparingly for the Tigers at age 20 and 21 in 2020 and 2021 and then was traded to the Rays for Austin Meadows, and has had two pretty good years in Tampa Bay.)

Candelario is batting .260/.335/.466 (73-for-281) with 10 home runs in 74 games for the Nats. Except for the abbreviated 2020 season, that’s the best OPS (.809) of his MLB career. He rates as a strong defender at third base (the Fielding Bible has him sixth among MLB third baseman with four defensive runs saved), and the Cubs could use both hitting and defense at the position. Candelario also ranks highly defensively on this Fangraphs list.

Here’s a really slick play Candelario made back in April [VIDEO].

This seems like a no-brainer. The Nats are far out of contention and Candelario is a free agent at the end of this season, and is making just $5 million this year, which means if the Cubs traded for him now, they’d owe him only about $2.5 million, which they should be able to easily afford. He’s still relatively young — 29, turning 30 in November. For comparison, Jake Slaughter, who many of you want to see the Cubs bring to MLB, is 26, turning 27 in October, and he has played 61 games above Double-A. Candelario has a .732 OPS in 680 MLB games with over 2,700 plate appearances.

So what would it take to get Candelario? First, I’d offer Madrigal. He’s got MLB experience, can play third base (and, of course, second base) and seems like a strong candidate for a change of scenery perhaps helping him improve.

The Nats are probably going to want a pitcher, too. My question: Would they want someone at the lower prospect/higher upside level, or would Jeremiah Estrada be a pitcher they’d be interested in? Estrada could probably go into their MLB bullpen right now and seems a bit extraneous to the Cubs pen this year.

Who says no?


Jeimer Candelario...

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    ... the Cubs should trade for him for the deal mentioned in the article
    (495 votes)
  • 12%
    ... the Cubs should trade for him, but for other players (post the players you’d include in the comments)
    (118 votes)
  • 30%
    ... the Cubs should not trade for him
    (282 votes)
  • 2%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (27 votes)
922 votes total Vote Now