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  • TRADE: Cubs Acquire Jeimer Candelario from Washington Nationals

    Matt Trueblood

    The Cubs front office has thrown down the gauntlet. They're not only holding onto Cody Bellinger, but acquiring the best impending free-agent hitter on the trade market, instead. 

    Image courtesy of Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

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    Six years after being traded to the Tigers, Jeimer Candelario returns to the Cubs organization, where he'll become the everyday third baseman as the Cubs pursue an NL Central crown.

    In return, the Cubs will send prospects Kevin Made and DJ Herz to Washington, according to Michael Cerami of Bleacher Nation. Herz was one of the names I mentioned in my piece about a potential Candelario trade, last week. The value makes sense. 

    As I wrote in the aforementioned piece, Candelario is a galvanizing addition to a lineup that already led baseball in runs scored during July. His arrival only exacerbates the uncertainty around Nick Madrigal and Patrick Wisdom, but they become much less important figures, which is the point of a trade like this at this stage of a pennant race.

    Candelario can credibly bat in the top half of the batting order against both lefties and righties. He adds power that Madrigal couldn't and is an on-base threat Wisdom can't be. He's a more experienced defender than either, and though defensive metrics have had a mercurial relationship with him, the eye test says he's smoother and lower-effort there than either of the incumbents. He's also enjoying one of his good years, by those inconstant numbers.

    What a difference a year makes, for everyone involved in this deal. Candelario was non-tendered by the Tigers this past winter, after a brutal season in which he batted .217/.272/.361. This year, however, he's batting .258/.342/.481. On the flip side, both Made and Herz had some helium at this time last year, but neither has distinguished themselves in their tests in 2023. Each still has upside--Made as a glove-first shortstop, Herz as a stuff-over-command fourth starter or a very interesting reliever--but they're no longer the somewhat shiny objects they were a year ago.

    It's funny, how nicely Candelario has grown into exactly the player he projected to be when many of us became aware of him as a Cubs farmhand over a decade ago. He draws walks, he hits more doubles than home runs, and he acquits himself in the field. He's a solidly above-average (though rarely star-caliber) third baseman, with the same shape of production one would have guessed he would provide by watching him in Tennessee or Iowa in 2016. Now, the Cubs will be the ones reaping the rewards of that successful development.

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    Just an extremely easy to understand, logical move. Clear upgrade at a position of need.

    Back of the napkin, he's like a one-win upgrade for a two-month period over what we have now, maybe a bit more.  Seasonal leverage multiplies that by a bit, so it's worth a lot more than a generic win in the future.


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    Two very legit prospects going out - Herz is a lefty with massive potential, but a lot of reliever risk. And Made is a really good defensive SS with a developing (but lagging bat). 

    Love that the Cubs are buying aggressively. Clearly want to send a message that the rebuild is over. 

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    I like it. Dont mind the guys we gave up. Was a fan of both Herz and Made but they were mid tier guys for me. Several arms and SS's i like more

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    Herz was decent; I predict makes the majors, but likely as a swing/pen type.  You can talk yourself into seeing more there, but he's been in the system since 2019 and he hasn't exactly been a world-beater.

    Made is a bit of a bummer, but he's having a down year and might benefit from the change of scenery.

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    5 minutes ago, Derwood said:

    Do we need two threads about this? It’s diluting the discussion 

    RIP megathreads.

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