Candelario agrees to 1-year deal with Nats

November 29th, 2022

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals on Tuesday agreed to a one-year deal with veteran third baseman Jeimer Candelario as they continue to address their hot-corner options this offseason.

Candelario, who turned 29 on Thursday, slashed .217/.272/.361 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs this past season with the Tigers, his seventh in the Majors and sixth in Detroit. A switch-hitter, Candelario became a free agent after he was non-tendered on Nov. 17.

The Nationals entered the winter with a vacancy in the third-base starter role. Carter Kieboom, 25, is expected to be healthy from Tommy John surgery and compete for the job in Spring Training. The Nats avoided arbitration with 31-year-old veteran infielder Ildemaro Vargas -- who made 43 starts at third base last season after Maikel Franco was designated for assignment -- and agreed to a one-year contract on Nov. 15. The team also added Triple-A standout infielder Jake Alu, 25, to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Of these four players, Candelario has the most experience at third. Since debuting in 2016 with the Cubs, he has logged 4,427 1/3 innings across 517 games (505 starts) at the position. He has a career .968 fielding percentage at the position.

Candelario will look to return to his 2021 form, when he hit .271 with 16 home runs. His 42 doubles tied for most in MLB that season.

The Nationals have seen such turnarounds with non-tendered players. Outfielder and 2022 postseason slugger Kyle Schwarber bounced back from a disappointing ‘20 performance with the Cubs to re-establish himself as a home run-mashing leadoff hitter with Washington in ‘21.

Washington also announced it agreed to a Major League contract with outfielder Stone Garrett, who hit .276 with an .848 OPS in 76 at-bats for the D-backs last season as a rookie.