In a late-breaking report last night, Jeimer Candelario has signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs' division rival, Cincinnati Reds. There wasn't much smoke on the Candelario front going into the evening, but the Reds acted swiftly and brought in a bat they feel will excel at the Great American Ballpark next season. He will receive $45MM throughout the following three seasons, slightly higher than I expected, given the down second half of 2023.
Candelario failed to succeed with the Cubs like he did with Washington in the year's first half. The former Cubs prospect who returned for a reunion tour slashed just .234/.318/.445 in 41 games. On top of that, the hot start in the first couple of games after the deadline was primarily good luck hits. Initially, the hope was that Candelario would do great in a Cubs uniform this time around and could be re-signed on a two or three-year deal to bridge the gap at the hot corner. Unfortunately, that did not come to fruition, and the club parted ways after the 2023 campaign.
It wasn't much of a surprise seeing him sign elsewhere. He already knew a reunion would not be likely a few weeks ago. Still, the reality of this move for Cincinnati is more than something we figured would happen.
Seeing Candelario sign gives us a reminder that the Cubs desperately need to figure out a way to get better production from third base, both offensively and defensively. The team has Matt Shaw on the way, but it may take another season to reach MLB. If the Cubs go another route, they can sign Matt Chapman, but a recent power outage presents red flags for the 2023 Gold Glove winner. Assuming Chapman signs a long-term deal, the Cubs would be blocking a top prospect who has appeared on the fast track. Nevertheless, good luck to Candelario in Cincinnati.