Yankees could make splash move to upgrade third base

MLB: Texas Rangers at Washington Nationals, Jeimer Candelario, yankees
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With much attention centered around potential outfield acquisitions, the New York Yankees might consider addressing the third base position. This move follows the premature end of the season for Josh Donaldson due to a calf muscle tear.

At the age of 37, Donaldson concludes his stint with the Yankees with a .142 batting average and a .225 OBP this season, alongside 10 homers and 15 RBIs. In his absence, 23-year-old Oswald Peraza has been given some golden opportunities, posting a .184 batting average and a .344 OBP, along with five RBIs over 18 games.

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Could Jeimer Candelario Be the Answer?

Despite Peraza’s contributions, the Bombers could be eyeing an upgrade at the hot corner. One potential fit is Jeimer Candelario, a 29-year-old player nearing free agency in 2024.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Candelario, a switch-hitter with slugging potential, could be the ideal fit for the Yankees’ requirements.

The Washington Nationals will subtract at the deadline, with third baseman Jeimer Candelario their best trade chip right now. With Josh Donaldson out, the switch-hitting Candelario could be a perfect fit for the Yankees. — Rogers

What Candelario Brings to the Yankees

Candelario is batting .257 with a .335 OBP this season, hitting 16 homers, 50 RBIs, with a 21.1% strikeout rate, an 8.1% walk rate, and 119 wRC+. He has already amassed 2.9 WAR this season, playing 791.1 innings at third base, with one defensive run saved, seven outs above average, and a .973 fielding percentage. Not only does Candelario bring solid defensive skills, but his offensive capabilities also offer a significant upgrade in a role that has seen inconsistent performance over the past two seasons.

While Candelario had a lackluster 2022 season, his performance has otherwise been solid over the last four years, including the current season. He ranks in the 72nd percentile in max exit velocity and the 94th percentile in outs above average, though there’s room for improvement in some areas.

Candelario’s performance against left-handed pitchers this season is a modest .238 with a .333 OBP, but he’s shown solid performance against right-handed pitching, hitting .265 with a .336 OBP, 13 homers, 38 RBIs, 21 walks, and a .858 OPS.

The Trade Potential for Candelario

Given their current options at third base, Candelario would be a significant upgrade for the Yankees. However, acquiring him would likely necessitate surrendering a prospect haul of Matt Sauer, Tyler Hardman, and Carlos Lagrange, all middle-level players with potential. With Candelario on an expiring contract, the Yankees could consider extending his contract beyond the 2023 season.