The Detroit Tigers have to make a decision on their third baseman
Of the Detroit Tigers many disappointments this season, perhaps none are bigger than Jeimer Candelario. A year after putting up solid numbers and leading the American League in doubles, “Candy” has been anything but sweet in 2022.
The trade deadline is less than three weeks away on Aug. 2. The question is, what should the Detroit Tigers do with Candelario?
Armchair General Managers’ first impulse might be to ship him out of town for a bag of baseballs. But in the real world, Al Avila has to determine if Candelario – who was MCB’s Position Player of the Year in 2021 – should get a mulligan and hang onto him for 2023, trade him now or in the off-season, or simply DFA him.
To make a proper decision, let’s take a look at the big picture.
In seven seasons, Candelario’s 162 game average slash is .240/.325/.398. He also averages 17 home runs and 65 RBI. This year, his numbers are flat ugly at .191/.259/.311 with 6 home runs and 23 RBI.
Candelario is at -0.1 for both offensive and defensive WAR. His career offensive WAR is 8.1 and his defensive WAR is -1.0.
For a bit of perspective, look at Houston third baseman Alex Bregman. He has also played seven seasons, but has amassed 25.9 offensive WAR and 4.2 defensive WAR. Bregman, a two-time all-star, has a 162 game average of .277/.375/.497 with 28 home runs and 98 RBI.
Better Second Half On Tap For Jeimer Candelario?
If you believe baseball players generally find their levels in a full season, Candelario will need a big second half to get close. The eyeball test says he’s not anywhere near taking off, but perhaps the all-star break will rejuvenate him.
As it stands, it’s unlikely any team will want to trade for Jeimer Candelario straight up. For fun, let’s see what Baseball Trade Values thinks Candy could bring in a deal right now.
The Tigers and Brewers hooked up a year ago on a trade that sent lefty reliever Daniel Norris for minor league pitching prospect Reese Olson. Milwaukee, which currently sits on top of the National League Central, could use help at third base in the short and long term.
According to Baseball Trade Value, Candelario’s value sits just a tick below Brewers prospect Tyler Black. MLB Pipeline rates Black as Milwaukee’s no. 7 prospect. He’s a left hand hitting second basemen that rates an overall 50 grade on the Pipeline’s 20-80 scale. Black, 21, has a hit tool of 60, his strongest rating.
Jeimer Candelario could be used in a larger package at the trade deadline, too. The Tigers could finish out the season with a combination of Willie Castro, Harold Castro and Kody Clemens if such a trade didn’t yield a third baseman.
Candelario currently makes $5.8 million and is arbitration eligible next season. Arbitration hearings are in February, and it’s likely he would make a similar salary in 2023. So if the Detroit Tigers were going to make a move with Candelario, most likely it would come before the arbitration process kicks in.
Bottom line? The Tigers’ best bet is to hang onto Candelario for the remainder of this season with the hope that he recovers some of his value. Whether he does or doesn’t shouldn’t keep the Detroit Tigers from moving on from The Candy Man to start 2023. They need more production from third base than Jeimer Candelario, who seems capable of providing both offensively and defensively.