Yankees one of eight teams in on Nationals switch-hitting third baseman

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals, Jeimer Candelario, yankees
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

As the trade deadline looms just one day away, the New York Yankees remain seemingly inactive in their efforts to enhance their offensive line-up. General manager Brian Cashman may be contemplating the harsh reality that his team falls short of expectations, and minor additions might not considerably elevate their World Series aspirations.

A Bleak Prospect for the Yankees’ 2023 Season

Unless a surprise player like Juan Soto makes an unexpected appearance, it seems inevitable to consider the 2023 season a letdown, especially considering it’s the inaugural year of Aaron Judge’s colossal $360 million contract.

The Yankees have recognized a critical lesson – Judge is their entire offense. Without him, they simply can’t compete effectively. However, the Yankees have reportedly shown interest in a switch-hitting third baseman from the Washington Nationals who could instantly strengthen the position and provide a potential long-term solution.

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Interest in Jeimer Candelario

The player generating interest is Jeimer Candelario, a 29-year-old with a batting average of .258 and an on-base percentage (OBP) of .342. His record also includes 16 home runs, 53 RBIs, a 21% strikeout rate, an 8.6% walk rate, and a 121 wRC+. According to Andy Martino of SNY, eight teams have shown interest in Candelario. If he joins the Yankees, Washington would need to shoulder the remainder of his $2.25 million salary.

However, Cashman is determined to stay below the final luxury tax threshold. This decision could hinder the team’s ability to make significant moves.

As Candelario is set to become a free agent, the Yankees could seize the opportunity to extend his contract. Currently, in the prime of his career, Jeimer has seen three out of his last four seasons with a wRC+ of 120 or better. Despite a subpar 2022 season with Detroit, he has managed a turnaround this year, complemented by strong defense.

An Excellent Defensive Player

In over 834.1 innings, Candelario boasts a .974 fielding percentage with two defensive runs saved and six outs above average. This record suggests he’s an above-average defender this season, a promising development considering his past inconsistencies.

Furthermore, Candelario excels against right-handed pitchers, hitting .271 with a .352 OBP and .875 OPS this season, including 13 homers and 41 RBIs across 258 at-bats. His dominant performance against righties and his switch-hitting capabilities, which could be advantageous at the Yankee Stadium, are enticing attributes for the Yankees’ line-up.

No Bidding Wars for Cashman

Despite the promising prospects, Cashman isn’t likely to engage in a bidding war for a player about to become a free agent. Unless the Nationals aren’t demanding a significant return, that strategy can essentially be ruled out.