ESPN’s Jesse Rogers The newspaper reported last week that the Nationals have expressed “some interest” in potentially reuniting with Jeimer Candelario, the 29-year-old third baseman whom Washington signed to a one-year, $5 million contract last winter. He was a veteran at the ’23 trade deadline. D.C. front office GM Mike Rizzo and others sent Candelario to Chicago in exchange for 2019 eighth-round pick DJ Hurts, a 22-year-old left-handed pitcher, and Kevin Made, a 21-year-old infielder signed from the Dominican Republic. dispatched. Republic of 2019 (for $1.5 million).
The day after the deadline, Rizzo explained to D.C.’s Sports Junkies Fan 106.7 that the market for Candelario started with seven or eight teams, but it was reduced to two potential clubs before Candelario was signed. did. cubs.
“After all, there are [were] There are two strong candidates for him, and the reason for that is that the market has shrunk because of their position and because there wasn’t much of a need for corner infielders, who are No. 3 and No. 1 on competing teams. That’s the last thing I want to say,” he explained.
“Two strong candidates were targeting him, cubsTwo young prospects were the ones we liked the most. And we pulled the trigger. And we’ve got two really young players with big opportunities. In Double-A, they already have a 22-year-old left-handed pitcher who strikes out almost 12-13 men per nine innings. We like that escalation. His name is Hearts.
“And Maid is a young, handy shortstop who can really defend, has a good pitching arm and with a bat we think he has the potential to be an everyday player.” , he’s 20 years old in A ball, he’s going to Wilmington and Hurts is going to Harrisburg. ”
After the trade, Made struggled at the plate in a small sample size in the Nationals’ system, going 10-for-73 (.137/.232/.192) in 22 games with a combined batting average of .218/.307/ It ended with that. He had 319 lines and 383 PA in 92 games for the year.
Hertz posted a 2.55 ERA (53Ks) in 35 games. 1⁄3 He earned IP in Double-A and performed well in the Arizona Fall League (3.71 ERA, 25 Ks in 17 IP games).
LHP DJ Herz who came to #nuts He was in the minors and majors in the trade for Jaymar Candelario. @granthpaulsen today on SiriusXM.of @MLBazFallLeague The All-Star named his fastball his best pitch and called his Vulcan changeup his “bread and butter.”
— Lacy Lusk (@LacyLuskBA) November 5, 2023
Coach Rizzo had nothing but good things to say about Candelario’s play in the nation’s capital. Candelario hit .258/.342/.481 in 419 at-bats with 30 doubles and 16 home runs in 99 games, but ended up bouncing back-up for the eight-year veteran. 3.3 fWAR Campaign.
“Candy has been great for us,” the Nationals GM said. “What a great guy in the clubhouse. That’s one thing I didn’t really know is that he was such a great guy in the clubhouse. We knew he was a great guy. However, [manager] davie [Martinez] He was in Chicago and had a great year for us, mentoring young infielders and being great in the clubhouse. ”
“Jeymar, obviously he was great,” Martinez said after Candelario was suspended. “Like I said before, he was more than I expected and was good to us. We will miss him.”
As Rizzo noted, Martinez and Candelario had previously crossed paths when the Cubs prospects were developing in Chicago, and the six-year captain was the Cubs’ bench coach. He said he felt real growth. The time we spent together this past season.
“He’s grown up. He’s grown up,” Martinez said. “He’s established himself as a major league baseball player, but from the first time I saw him, from this young, skinny little kid to now, he’s grown so much and he’s so great in the clubhouse. You see him become a leader. That’s what he’s done for us. He’s taken a lot of young players under his wing and taken them as far as possible. He tried to help. He’s always positive, always shouting for his teammates in a positive way, so we’re going to miss that.”
Martinez spoke about a conversation he had with Candelario before the deadline, hinting at a possible future reunion.
“I told Jaymar, ‘Hey, you have an opportunity to do something special, and go for it. And we might get back together again, but every day. Understand what the job is and be on your feet.”
Rizzo was asked by MLB Network reporter John Morosi during a GM meeting earlier this month if he would be interested in bringing Candelario back to the Nationals.
“We’re going to look at all options,” the D.C. GM said.
“He’s been a great teammate for us and played well for us,” Rizzo added, echoing comments made just before the deadline. “[Candelario] It was fun to be in the clubhouse, he got along really well with the young players, it was a great season for us and we appreciate what he did for us and we I think it was a win/win for both of us because it gave him two great futures. ”
Morosi reported Sunday night that sources are considering the Nationals to play third baseman again this winter, as the soon-to-be 30-year-old will soon be turning 30.
Jeimer Candelario, who turns 30 this week, is a popular name around the world. @MLB Free agent.
Officials confirmed the Nats, Blue Jays and Angels are among the teams pursuing him.@MLB Network
— John Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2023
MLB trade rumors predicted Candelario would sign a four-year/$70 million contract in free agency at some point this offseason. Would such a trade make sense for the rebooting Nationals?:
“Bringing Candelario back is obviously going to be a much bigger commitment than it was 12 months ago.” MLBTR’s Anthony Franco wrote last week: Here’s why Washington would consider re-signing the corner infielder:
“Washington has another clear opportunity at third base. After signing Candelario, they used journeyman Ildemaro Vargas and former top prospect Carter Kieboom at that position. Washington’s third baseman Since July 31st, he has hit .189/.247/.311 in 224 at-bats.
“This is an untenable situation even though the team is still in the process of rebuilding. Some kind of third base acquisition seems inevitable. They could also be rebound candidates, though…Example: Brian Anderson or possible non-tender Nick Senzel.), Candelario would be a more obvious upgrade. General manager Mike Rizzo said last week that the team is looking to add a presence in the middle of the lineup. ”
Does a four-year deal make sense for Candelario, who turns 30 this season, considering where the Nationals are in their rebuilding/development process? If he was as good with the Nationals’ young players as Rizzo and Martinez said, would having him back in the clubhouse justify the cost as the club grows together? ?