The former Detroit Tigers' 3B will spend next season in Washington D.C.
Jeimer Candelario was non-tendered by the Detroit Tigers on Nov. 19. 10 days later, he already has a new home.
Candelario has signed a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals, first reported by Evan Petzold of The Detroit Free Press. The 29-year-old will play his first season not in a Detroit Tigers uniform since the first half of 2017.
We all know the story of Candelario by now. He was acquired by the Tigers at the 2017 trade deadline along with Isaac Paredes in exchange for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila. He showed some promise thanks to his strong plate discipline in 2018 and 2019 before finally busting out in 2020 with a slash line of .297/.369/503 and a 140 wRC+. He looked like the guy the Tigers hoped he would be.
That continued in 2021, where he slashed .271/.351/.443 with a 120 wRC+ and led the American League in doubles with 42. He also had a 3.9 fWAR. Talks of a potential extension began amongst fans and media alike. As it turns out, not paying him was a good decision.
Candelario struggled mightily in 2022 to the tune of a .217 batting average and a 80 wRC+. His walk rate dipped over four percent from a year ago. He looked nothing like the Jeimer Candelario we had come to know. New president of baseball operations saw his 2022 season and thought it was best if the two sides went their separate ways.
The Nationals seem like a pretty good fit for Candelario on paper. They are in full rebuild mode, so there's no real pressure for him to perform immediately. It's a nice change of scenery for him—a completely new league and division. Hopefully it does him some good.
This also means that there's no turning back now for the Detroit Tigers. Scott Harris can't go back and sign Candelario to a cheap one-year deal if he can't find a third baseman he likes. The Tigers will be turning over a new leaf at the hot corner in 2023.