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Chicago Cubs acquire 3B Jeimer Candelario

The Cubs got a new third baseman who just happens to be an old third baseman.

MLB: MAY 12 Cubs at Cardinals Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportwire

Welcome back, Jeimer!

The Cubs today have acquired 29-year-old third baseman Jeimer Candelario from the Washington Nationals in a trade. The Cubs are sending left-handed pitcher DJ Herz and shortstop Kevin Made to the Nationals.

The switch-hitting Candelario signed with the Cubs as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. He had a breakout season with Boise in 2012 and was a big prospect for the Cubs after that, although his progress to the majors wasn’t without its bumps. He finally got a cup of coffee (five games) with the major league team in July of 2016—which means he got a World Series ring and that Candelario joins Kyle Hendricks as the only members of the championship team on the current roster.

Candelario got another cup of coffee with the Cubs in May of 2017, but at the trade deadline that year, he was packaged with minor league shortstop Isaac Paredes in a deal with Detroit for catcher Alex Avila and left-hander Justin Wilson.

With the Tigers, Candelario established himself as Detroit’s starting third baseman in 2018. He showed some good power—especially for doubles. The 2019 season was a lost one for Candelario as he missed almost half the year with injuries and wasn’t good when he did play. But he bounced back with terrific seasons in 2020 and 2021. He was tied for the major-league lead in doubles in 2021 with 42 while also hitting 16 home runs and getting on base at a .351 clip.

Candelario had a rough season last year after he hit a poor .217/.272/.361 with only 19 doubles and 13 home runs. The Tigers declined to offer him arbitration after that season and he became a free agent.

Candelario then signed with the Nationals as a free agent this past winter and has had a bit of a career renaissance. In just 99 games this year, Candelario has hit 30 doubles and 16 home runs while putting up a triple-slash line of .258/.342/.481 with the Nats.

Defensively, Candelario’s stats at third base have been all over the board. Some years he’s ranked as a superior defender and others he comes in below average. The eye test tells us that Candelario is probably above-average at the position. He has also played some first base—particularly during the 2020 season.

Although Candelario is a switch-hitter, his stats this year have him destroying right-handers to the tune of .271/.352/.523 and has struggled against lefties. However, over the course of his career, Candelario has hit left-handed and right-handed pitching roughly equally.

Candelario is a free agent again at the end of the year, so this is clearly just a rental move. Although they could always try to re-sign him.

Al Yellon wrote this piece about why the Cubs should get Candelario earlier.

Herz, 22, was the Cubs’ eighth-round pick in the 2019 draft. He has a low-90s fastball with good movement, a devastating change and a good curve. However, he has a very funky delivery tha on the positive side, makes it very difficult for hitters to pick up the spin. On the negative side, it also makes it difficult to throw strikes. This year in Double-A Tennessee, Herz struck out 80 and walked 37 over 59 innings. He has an ERA of 3.97. He was the Cubs’ 19th-best prospect according to Baseball America. He was the 16th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline

Made, 20, is a slick-fielding shortstop who has struggled to hit in High-A over the past two seasons. This year, Made is hitting .240/.328/.355 with three home runs and three steals. Most of his value comes from his glove, although he’s young enough that he could still learn to hit for average, at least. He is improved this year over last. Made was left off Baseball America’s midseason Top 30 update, although he was the 21st-ranked Cubs prospect at the beginning of the season. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the 14th-best Cubs prospect.

John Sebastian has this to say about Candelario.


Jeimer Candelario for Herz and Made?

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