The Detroit Tigers may not need a new third baseman after all
It seems like a forgone conclusion that the Detroit Tigers are going to non-tender third baseman Jeimer Candelario, making him a free agent, and it makes sense. He’s simply been too inconsistent over the course of his career, and the team can do better.
But if you look at the list of upcoming free agents, third base is a pretty bare position. After Nolan Arenado, who the Tigers are not signing, it’s a mix of old guys and players who’ve been utlilty guys their entire careers.
The trade market is not much better. While I would love for them to trade for Rafael Devers, it just doesn’t seem realistic. Internal options to fill the position include Andre Lipcius, who’s unproven, and Ryan Kreidler, who played well defensively, but struggled with the bat in his brief stint in Detroit this year.
There aren’t a lot of quality options to replace Candelario. Because of that, there’s a chance they stick it out with him for another year. But at $7 million? Eh…I’m not sure it’s worth it.
If that is indeed what he expects to make after the season he just had, then I wish him the best in his future endeavors. But if he’s willing to come down on that price significantly and take a pay cut, I would be willing to bring him back—and I think the Tigers would, too.
I’m thinking around $2.5-3 million. It would not only be a case of Candelario betting on himself in a contract year, but it would be a case of the Tigers betting on Candelario. If he gets back to his 2020-2021 form, they could potentially offer him an extension. If he flops again, then they’ll probably just cut him during the 2023 season.
For the Tigers, it would be a low-risk, potentially high-reward type of deal. For Candy, there’s much more risk involved, but the reward is just as high.
I like Jeimer Candelario, and I’m sure many in the Detroit Tigers organization do as well. He’s been a good baseball player in the past, and has always been a great human being. But at the end of the day, this is a business, and Candy just hasn’t performed with enough consistency to justify a raise in 2023.