The Washington Nationals need to find pieces if they are going to emerge from their rebuilding process. That includes players that they may look to move at the deadline.
The Nationals took a step in that direction on Tuesday. Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press reported that the Nationals have signed Jeimer Candelario to a one year deal for the 2023 season.
Washington Nationals hoping Jeimer Candelario can return to form
As it was, the Nationals have a major question mark at the hot corner. Carter Kieboom had appeared to be the heir apparent to Anthony Rendon, a consensus top 100 prospect in 2019 and 2020. However, his prospect star has faded as he struggled in the majors and saw his performance at Triple-A suffer last season as well.
Candelario would be a bit of a gamble as well. He struggled in 2022, posting a disappointing .217/.272/.361 batting line with 13 homers and 19 doubles in his 467 plate appearances. His hard hit and line drive rates decreased as did his average exit velocity in 2022 compared to the previous two seasons.
It appeared as though Candelario was on the verge of cementing his name as one of the best third basemen in the league after the 2021 season. He had posted a .278/.356/.458 batting line in his 832 plate appearances in those two seasons, hitting 23 homers and 53 doubles. Not only did he lead the majors with 42 doubles in 2021, but his combined 5.8 fWAR was the third best amongst MLB third basemen, surpassed by only Jose Ramirez and Manny Machado.
Maybe a change of scenery will be what Candelario needs. He is just 29 years old and has plenty of time to recapture the form he showed in the previous two seasons. If he can, the Nationals would not only have a bargain, but could also have a needed trade chip at the trade deadline.
The Washington Nationals are taking a chance on Jeimer Candelario. He could be one of the biggest bargains of the offseason.