Detroit Tigers: Jeimer Candelario is worthy of a contract extension

May 8, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario (46) makes a throw to first base for an out against the Minnesota Twins during the ninth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario (46) makes a throw to first base for an out against the Minnesota Twins during the ninth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Tigers have struggled to put together consistent at-bats across the lineup. Even during a rough stretch of Tigers baseball, Jeimer Candelario struggled at the plate but once again, it seems like he has been getting back into the groove.

Even with the recent errors in Boston, what Detroit has in Candelario is a steady, everyday player, which is something we have not seen during the rebuild. If there is one thing that General Manager Al Avila did right, it was the trade for Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila. He was able to extrapolate value at the trade deadline, which has been a struggle in the recent years.

Why should the Detroit Tigers give Jeimer Candelario a contract extension?

Based on his current contract situation, he is arbitration-eligible in 2022 and he is signed currently at $2.85 million dollars and he is set to be a free agent in 2024. While the Tigers have drafted Spencer Torkelson, Gage Workman. Colt Keith and Nick Quintana to play third base, there are no guarantees that it will come to fruition. Torkelson may end up playing first base and in the first week of games down in Lakeland, Workman was playing short with Quintana at third.

While my narrative suggests that I am bashing the whole process if prospects will work out, all you need to see is the recent history of the Tigers’ development process. It has been quite some time since the Tigers have produced a 2.0 WAR or better regular infielder from their farm system for multiple seasons.

Only Nick Castellanos in the last decade, drafted as a third baseman, comes to mind. Brandon Inge, who was drafted in 1998, produced six seasons of 2 or better WAR seasons and Travis Fryman in 1987, where in a Tigers uniform, produced eight season of 2 or better WAR including four All-Star apperances.

History has a way to repeat itself and for Tigers fans, all they would have to do is look back at 1997. Damion Easley, who was the same age as Candelario (27) received a three-year contract extenstion from the Tigers after one season of good production. If you recall, he came over from then California Angels for Greg Gohr.

Since the start of May, he’s been the Tigers’ hottest hitter, putting a slash line of .393/.469/.607 with an OPS of 1.076. (11-for-28) with a big home run to help the Tigers win at least one in Boston and he is third on the team in walk percentage at 9.2%.

Granted, if you look at his defensive metrics this season, he is -2 DRS (Defense Runs Saved) so the the recent errors has thrown his numbers off track. But his ability to play both corner spots is valuable for a team that lacks a first baseman at the moment.

Now, if the Tigers do develop talent from within the system, then address Candelario’s performance and go from there. Given the unsureness of what the shorten season did to the Tigers financially, it is unknown an exact dollar amount they are going to spend.

The Tigers have not extended any contracts since Miguel Cabrera. This should be the first one for Chris Ilitch. With Candelario, you have someone who is entering their prime and continues to be a stable force within a roster that will see more turnover.

For once, there is not a suggestion to trade a player with value away for potential lottery tickets aka role 30 or 40 players. If Detroit is going to continue to get better, why not address the established talent in Candelario?

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