Former Cubs infielder Jeimer Candelario inks deal with division rival
After playing 41 games for the Cubs in 2023, Jeimer Candelario has found a new home in the NL Central.
On Wednesday night, Candelario signed a three-year, $45 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds. The 30-year-old, who was traded to Chicago on July 31 in exchange for prospects DJ Herz and Kevin Made, set career highs in home runs (22) and RBI (70) with the Cubs and the Washington Nationals this past season.
Infielder Jeimer Candelario and the Cincinnati Reds are in agreement on a three-year, $45 million contract, sources tell ESPN. Candelario, 30, joins a young Reds team that has spent $87 million on free agents this winter. First on the scene with the deal was @Feinsand.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2023
Candelario originally signed with the Cubs as an international free agent in September 2010 and played 16 total games for Chicago in 2016 and 2017 before being traded to the Detroit Tigers in July 2017. After playing for Detroit and Washington, he was traded back to the Cubs at the 2023 MLB trade deadline and became a regular in the lineup, batting .234 with 17 RBI over 41 games. He missed 17 days in September due to a back injury.
The 30-year-old is expected to play third and first base in Cincinnati, along with some at-bats at designated hitter. The Reds have an infield that already features young players such as Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte, Spencer Steer and Jonathan India and now they brought in a veteran to further add to the mix.
With the acquisition of Candelario, Cincinnati might look to trade an infielder for a pitcher — the Reds already added Nick Martinez as a starter and Emilio Pagan to the bullpen, both on two-year deals. Cincinnati finished 2 games out of a postseason spot and 1 game behind the Cubs last season and hope to compete for the NL Central in 2024.