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Chicago Cubs acquire third baseman Jeimer Candelario from Washington Nationals for two prospects, trade Nelson Velázquez

The Cubs have made their first trade deadline moves.

The organization acquired infielder Jeimer Candelario and a cash consideration from the Washington Nationals two prospects, left-hander DJ Herz and infielder Kevin Made, before Monday’s game.

The switch-hitting Candelario gives the Cubs much-needed power as the best rental bat available on the trade market. In 99 games with the Nationals this year, Candelario, who is a free agent after the season, has hit 30 doubles and 16 home runs with a 128 OPS+.

Although Candelario has predominately played third base during his eight big-league seasons, he’s also started 60 games at first base, most recently for the Tigers in 2020. His defensive flexibility at the corner infield spots can help the Cubs’ two weakest offensive positions.

The Cubs have especially struggled with quality production at first base. Five players have been used there this year, combining for minus-2.7 Wins Above Replacement with Trey Mancini owning a team-worst minus-1.3 WAR. Candelario’s addition to the lineup makes it deeper and gives the Cubs an extra-base threat.

With a logjam of outfielders at Triple-A Iowa, the Cubs reallocated their depth in a separate move Monday night by trading outfielder Nelson Velázquez to the Kansas City Royals for right-hander José Cuas.

Velázquez, 24, was one of three Triple-A outfielders on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, and the Iowa outfield is adding the Cubs’ top prospect following the promotion of outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong on Monday. Velázquez didn’t have a clear path to regular playing time for the Cubs with the three starting spots locked in and the consistency they’ve been getting from Mike Tauchman.

Velázquez appeared in 90 games for the Cubs over the last two seasons, hitting .210 with a .290 on-base percentage and 92 OPS+. Five of his seven hits this year went for extra bases, most memorably a grand slam that helped erase a seven-run deficit in the Cubs’ comeback win April 11 versus the Seattle Mariners.

Cuas owns a 4.54 ERA, 27.1 K%, 10.9 BB% and 98 ERA+ over 41 2/3 innings in 45 appearances for the Royals this season. The 29-year-old right-hander relies heavily on a sinker-slider combination.

Candelario, 29, was originally signed by the Cubs as an amateur free agent in 2010 and appeared in 16 games between 2016-17 before getting traded to Detroit in July 2017 for Alex Avila and Justin Wilson.

The depth the Cubs have built in their minor-league system set them up with an asset at the trade deadline and preemptively address looming offseason decisions. Herz and Made are both eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December if they are not added to a 40-man roster. had rated Herz (No. 16) and Made (No. 14) within the Cubs’ top 20 prospects while Baseball America put Herz at No. 19 in their top-30 list. Made was unranked.

The Cubs (53-51) get a boost as they begin an important four-game series at Wrigley Field against the division-leading Cincinnati Reds. During the remaining hours before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. trade deadline, the organization could still bolster the back end of the bullpen.

“I think everybody’s aware, right?” Dansby Swanson said Monday of the trade deadline. “I mean, you can sit here and we can say all we want about how we don’t pay any attention to it. It’s our livelihoods and it surrounds us every step of the way. But we know that no matter what that the guys upstairs are going to do their job, do what’s best for our team and we’re going to continue to go out there and prepare and play the way we can.”

Standing at his locker Monday afternoon before the Candelario trade was announced, Swanson described the “positive reinforcement” that comes from a front office adding players at the deadline.

“We feel like we can always improve in certain areas and whether that’s just continuing to get better or add a piece here or there, we just boost the morale … and it injects a little bit of confidence and positivity.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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