Who is 3B Jeimer Candelario? Diamondbacks reportedly showed interest in free agent

Nov 11, 2023, 1:12 PM

Jeimer Candelario...

Jeimer Candelario #9 of the Chicago Cubs at bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on September 08, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks showed interest in free agent third baseman Jeimer Candelario, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported this week.

Candelario is a 29-year-old switch hitter coming off a season in which he hit a career-high 22 home runs with an .807 OPS. He also hit 39 doubles after leading the AL with 42 in 2021.

He was non-tendered by the Detroit Tigers after a down 2022 (.633 OPS) but slashed .258/.342/.481 in 99 games with the Washington Nationals in 2023 before the trade deadline.

Washington sent Candelario to the Chicago Cubs, where he was closer to a league average hitter with a .764 OPS in 41 games. In his career, his platoon splits have been better against left-handed pitchers, although that was not the case this past season when he blasted 16 homers off righties.

His 22% strikeout rate and 9.2% walk rate were close to average in MLB.

Candelario played exclusively at third base in Washington, but he split time at first base with the Cubs. He was statistically much better at third base with two outs above average at the hot corner and -2 at first. That contributed to a defensive drop-off after the trade to Chicago.

He made his MLB debut in 2016 with the Cubs and has spent most of his career playing for Detroit.

Heyman reported the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels also showed interest in the veteran, while multiple reports indicated his representatives met with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Spotrac projects his contract to be three years for $35.8 million.

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro said on Burns & Gambo he heard it was doubtful the Diamondbacks go for Candelario. There is not a deep pool of third basemen on the free agent market, though.

Other free agents include Matt Chapman, Justin Turner (played more first base in 2023), Gio Urshela and Josh Donaldson. The trade market could yield more results.

The Diamondbacks’ Opening Day third baseman is not as obvious as other spots in the lineup. Evan Longoria is a free agent, and he said after the World Series he was undecided on whether he would play another year.

Emmanuel Rivera and Jace Peterson remain options but were below league-average hitters in 2023. Prospects Ivan Melendez and Deyvison De Los Santos have worked at the hot corner, but they have yet to reach Triple-A Reno.

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