May 19, 2024

Jeimer Candelario trade: Cubs acquire third baseman from Nationals amid hot July, playoff push

The Chicago Cubs have acquired third baseman Jeimer Candelario from the Washington Nationals, the teams announced Monday. Left-handed pitcher DJ Herz and shortstop Kevin Made will be headed to D.C. in the return.

Candelario, 29, emerged as a top trade candidate this summer, just months after being non-tendered by the Detroit Tigers this past offseason. The Nationals signed him to a one-year contract worth $5 million and the switch-hitter returned to his 2020-21 level while playing the best defense of his career. Candelario owns a .258/.342/.481 slash line and 16 homers this season.

We ranked Candelario as the No. 6 trade candidate leading up to Tuesday’s deadline. Here’s our write-up:

Candelario is on the cusp of recording his third well-above-average offensive season in four tries, as well as setting a new career-high home-run total. That’s an effective use of the one-year, make-good contract he signed with the Nationals over the offseason. Candelario’s defense has also graded better than usual this season, making him a quality two-way contributor. The third-base market is otherwise barren, so expect him to be a popular target.  

This marks the second time Candelario has been traded at the deadline and he is returning to his original team. The Cubs sent him, along with Isaac Paredes, to the Tigers for veterans Alex Avila and Justin Wilson in July 2017. Candelario was in Triple-A at the time of that trade, though he had several cups of coffee with the Cubs from 2016-17.

From 2020-21, Candelario slashed .278/.356/.458 with 23 homers in 201 games with Detroit. He struggled last year, however, putting up a .217/.272/.361 line with 13 home runs. That led to the offseason non-tender. Candelario will again become a free agent after this season.

Baseball America ranks Herz the No. 19 prospect in Chicago’s system in their midseason update. The lefty has 80 strikeouts a 3.97 ERA in 59 Double-A innings this season. Baseball America says he “has a chance to be a high-leverage, effectively wild lefty reliever.” Made does not rank among Baseball America’s top 30 Cubs prospects.

The Cubs, meanwhile, are riding the hot hand out of the deadline, during which they are now expected to keep both starting pitcher Marcus Stroman and outfielder Cody Bellinger. Headed into Monday’s games, Chicago is just four games out in the NL Central and 3.5 in the wild-card race.

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