The Chicago Cubs made an aggressive move on Monday as the team acquired the top rental bat on the market in Washington Nationals' third baseman Jeimer Candelario.
In the deal, the Cubs sent mid-level prospects DJ Herz and Kevin Made to the Nationals in exchange for Candelario. The Nationals also kicked in some cash considerations but there is no doubt that the move was surprising for the Cubs' front office.
The move was surprising in the sense that once it became clear that the Cubs were going to be buyers at the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline, the idea was that the front office may dip their toes in the water without fully submerging the team in an effort to go for it this season.
There is no doubt that Candelario will provide a tremendous boost to the Cubs' efforts to make the post-season this season but this has the scent of a move that was done as a way for the team to begin their 2024 shopping early.
Candelario is a free agent after this season but given the need that the Cubs will have at third base and first base this off-season, it would seem likely that the team was going to be involved in the market for their former prospect. Assuming Candelario maintains his production, chances are the Cubs will make every effort they can to bring him back for 2024 and beyond.
Candelario would have been an ideal target for the Cubs this off-season given his switch-hitting ability and the fact that he wouldn't cost nearly as much as Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman will be appealing to the team. That is an important fact considering the likelihood of the Cubs wanting to re-sign center fielder Cody Bellinger and the need that they will have in the starting rotation.
There would be some form of irony in Candelario, in 2023, factoring into the Cubs' long-term plans after being blocked at the Major League level in 2017.