Death. Taxes. The Washington Nationals selling at this year’s trade deadline. Those are three guarantees in life. It’s the third the Philadelphia Phillies care about most right now.
To avoid their 2023 death, the Phillies should send a call to the Nationals for some trade deadline help. They owe Philadelphia for introducing them to Howie Kendrick back in the summer of 2017.
Exactly who is it that the Phillies should target on the Nationals roster? It’s these three who appear to be the most available and have something to offer.
1) Phillies trade target on the Nationals: Jeimer Candelario
Unless the St. Louis Cardinals budge and actually do unload Nolan Arenado in a trade, it’s Nationals third baseman Jeimer Candelario who could be the best at his position moved this summer. If you’ve been following baseball outside of Philadelphia for a couple of years, the name may ring a bell.
Candelario spent time with the Chicago Cubs before landing with the Detroit Tigers. He’s a career .243/.324/.411 hitter yet he feels like much more than that.
Back in 2021, Candelario knocked a league-leading 42 doubles for the Tigers. He batted .271/.351/.443 for the season while hitting 16 home runs and driving in 67. Did the Tigers have their third baseman of the future?
It went downhill in 2022 when Candelario batted only .217/.272/.361. Even the lowly Tigers were ready to move on.
This year has been different. While not having his greatest year, Candelario appears much more like his best self. He went into the break slashing .261/.337/.478 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI. Oh, and about those doubles, he has 27 already.
Candelario is a plus defender who won’t win a Gold Glove but he’d improve what Alec Bohm gives the team defensively. On the Phillies roster, he’d probably fit in well as a part-time player. Think of him as an upgrade over Josh Harrison while mostly playing the two corner infield positions instead. He’s a switch-hitter with superior numbers this season versus right-handed pitchers. His .871 OPS against righties makes it clear he’d be a must in the lineup on the days where the Phillies go against a right-handed pitcher. When they don’t, his bat can be ready to come off the bench.