Top 3 Destinations for Free Agent Jeimer Candelario

Jeimer Candelario picked a nice time to have his career year, heading into free agency. The 29-year-old launched his personal best 22 home runs and 70 RBIs to go with 39 doubles and an .807 OPS, again a career-high (save for the two-month 2020 season). 

Now, after settling for a one-year, $5M contract last offseason with the Washington Nationals, he's expected to be able to pull in the first big-money deal of his career. Some experts peg him at hauling in a 3-to-4 year contract at anywhere from $15M to $20M per season. 

3 teams that should be top potential destinations:

Chicago Cubs

In parts of two seasons in Wrigley, Nick Madrigal, the Cubs' incumbent third baseman going into the offseason if Candelario leaves, has only been able to manage an OPS+ of 73 (more than 25% worse than the league average hitter). Patrick Wisdom, the other third-sacker on the North Side roster, has batted .206 over the last couple of years, with alarming strikeout numbers to go with his home run power. 

Candelario had a relatively productive 41 games with the Cubs, splitting his time between 3B and 1B, and trying to retain him would certainly represent a better option than what they've currently got lined up at the corners. 

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners dealt away third baseman Eugenio Suarez and his $11M salary earlier this week, leaving them with a hole at the hot corner. MLB Insider Jon Morosi has linked them to Candelario as a possible fill for the void.

Seattle would probably have to shell out a higher AAV in order to sign the free agent, though he's three years younger than Suarez. But overall, his hitting profile is actually a little weaker, despite having a somewhat lesser penchant for strikeouts (but not that much lesser). 

Toronto Blue Jays

There have been rumors out there that the Jays are interested in Candelario. The caveat here is that this would only be the case if they decide to move on from Matt Chapman, their incumbent 3B, who is also a free agent. Chapman, though, is expected to command a much higher price due to his four Gold Gloves and the potential to hit more HR if he can recapture his old mojo at the plate. 

But if Chapman takes the bag elsewhere, Candelario would be a good fallback. 

Photo: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports