Around the MLB Trade Deadline, the Los Angeles Angels were one of many teams linked to Nationals third baseman Jeimer Candelario. Their interest made sense as Anthony Rendon was out with no timetable to return, and the team had gotten lackluster production at first base for much of the season. Candelario was in the midst of an excellent year and had experience playing both positions.
As we know, the Angels went in another direction and Candelario wound up getting traded to the Cubs. After a raging hot start with Chicago, the infielder struggled and wound up missing some time due to injury as well.
The 29-year-old is now a free agent, and the Angels are showing interest according to Jon Heyman of the NY Post.
Jeimer Candelario would provide excellent Anthony Rendon insurance
The chances of Anthony Rendon suddenly turning back into the player he once was are slim to put it lightly. His tenure in Anaheim has been an absolute disaster in the rare times he's actually taken the field, and even worse when he's been off of it. Relying on Rendon to be healthy at all would be a mistake. The Angels knew that in 2023 by making trades for Gio Urshela, Mike Moustakas, and Eduardo Escobar. By targeting Jeimer Candelario they're showing they don't trust him in 2024 either.
Bringing in a legitimate starter that would agree to come off the bench is a challenge in free agency as there will be opportunity for them elsewhere. Candelario is a legitimate starter after hitting 22 home runs and posting an .807 OPS for Washington and Chicago last season. Will he be willing to agree to a part-time role? Probably not, but it's good to see the Angels trying.
This free agency class being as weak as it is for third basemen is what makes it unlikely the Angels wind up with the switch-hitter. Matt Chapman is the top option but Candelario would have a great case for ranking second, especially with Justin Turner being more of a DH at this stage in his career.
Adding a backup third baseman who can step in and play everyday is paramount with Anthony Rendon's history. Candelario would be nice, but he's one of many options out there for Perry Minasian to consider.