Nats Tradewinds Feel Like Light Breeze
The Washington Nationals traded third baseman Jeimer Candelario to the Chicago Cubs for two prospects: SS Kevin Made (20) and LHP DJ Herz (22).
Candelario debuted with the Cubs in 2016 and played a few more games for them in 2017. In 99 games with the Nats, the “Candy Man” led the team in doubles (30), OBP (.342), and SLG (.481). At the time of the trade, Candelario was tied for the team lead in HRs with 16 and third in RBI with 53.
Jeimer was a solid leader on the field and in the clubhouse for his appreciative rebuilding team. According to Baseball Reference, Candelario sported a .974 fielding percentage and a +1 BIS Defensive Runs Saved Above Avg (Baseball Info Solutions).
Finances aside, I think it was a good deal for the Nats. Getting two players, including a lefty pitcher, for a one year rental seems like a good return.
Who are the New Players?
David John Herz (6’2” 175 lbs.) will likely report to AA Harrisburg. According to FanGraphs, Herz went 1-1 with an ERA of 3.97 in 14 starts at the AA level this year. He has averaged 12 strikeouts per game but has also issued at least five walks per nine innings.
SS Kevin Made (5’9” 160 lbs.) will slot in at High-A Wilmington. According to FanGraphs, Made batted .240 with three homers and 25 RBI in 300 plate appearances in A ball.
What Mike Rizzo said about the new guys:
Herz: “We see him as a starting pitcher who has three pitches. He’s got an out pitch right now with that change-up. He’s struck out a lot of guys [12.2 per nine innings] in a level that’s a tough level for a 22-year-old. The way our scouts portrayed him on the mound is aggressive, strike-throwing, attacks the hitters. And those are all words I like to hear.”
Made: “Great tools defensively. He’s very slick at shortstop. He’s got a great arm, he’s got good tools, and the bat’s coming. We see this guy making improvements; he made improvements in the final part of this year before he was traded. And our scouts really like the upside there. You can never have enough good, talented, toolsy players that play the middle of the field, and we felt that we got two more to add to our system.”
Just as noteworthy in my opinion are the guys who are staying. RF Lane Thomas and RP Kyle Finnegan can be good pieces when the Nats start to compete again. So might as well keep them in the rebuild since Washington has control of each player until 2026.