The Chicago Cubs have a need at third base this off-season but it does not appear that a reunion with Jeimer Candelario is likely.
The Cubs made the biggest move of any team at the MLB Trade Deadline this past season when they acquired Candelario from the Washington Nationals. At the time of the trade, it had seemed that the Cubs may have an interest in bringing Candelario back for the 2024 season on a new deal but it would seem that the team now has other plans.
Jesse Rogers of ESPN reported on Thursday that Candelario is not expected to return to the Cubs.
"At third base, a Cubs reunion with veteran Jeimer Candelario doesn't seem likely, according to a source familiar with the situation. "- ESPN
On the whole, Candelario had a career season in his time with the Nationals and Cubs last year as he slashed .251/.336/.471 with 22 home runs and a 117 wRC+. However, Candelario struggled considerably during the final month of the season as he slashed .152/.286/.391 with a wRC+ of 84.
In addition to the information on Candelario, Rogers also mentioned that the Cubs likely will not enter the 2024 season with the idea that Nick Madrigal will be the everyday third baseman as they did last season.
It's worth noting that the Cubs view 2023 first-round draft selection Matt Shaw as an early riser and initial timeline projections of placing his Major League debut during the second half of the 2024 season. Shaw, drafted as a shortstop, presumably will see playing time at third base this upcoming season.
Of course, for a Cubs team that is expected to contend in 2024, the team will need a definite answer at third base to begin the season. The idea of experimenting at the season like they did with Madrigal is not the behavior of contending teams.