CHICAGO (AP) — Looking for some help for their lineup, the Chicago Cubs turned to a familiar face.
Chicago reacquired Jeimer Candelario in a trade with the Washington Nationals on Monday, signaling a change in philosophy for the Cubs after it looked as if they had stumbled out of the playoff race.
Candelario, one of the top hitters on the market ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, is batting .258 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs in 99 games in a resurgent performance. He was non-tendered by Detroit in November and then signed a $5 million, one-year contract with Washington.
“To be able to put up the numbers he’s been putting up this year and be able to come over here and help us out, that’s huge,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
The Cubs also acquired right-hander José Cuas in a trade with Kansas City for minor league outfielder Nelson Velázquez.
Candelario, 29, signed with Chicago in 2010 and made his big league debut with the Cubs in 2016. He was traded to Detroit with fellow infielder Isaac Paredes for catcher Alex Avila and reliever Justin Wilson at the 2017 deadline.
The Cubs got Candelario and cash from Washington for minor league left-hander DJ Herz and infielder Kevin Made.
“I’m excited to have him back and a part of this group and hit right in the middle of our lineup,” Cubs outfielder Ian Happ said. “It’ll be great.”
Herz, 22, an eighth-round pick in the 2019 amateur draft, is 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA in 14 starts for Double-A Tennessee this season. Made, 20, hit .241 with three homers and 25 RBIs in 70 games for High-A South Bend.
Last-place Washington (45-62) is likely heading for its fourth consecutive losing season. It also could move outfielder Lane Thomas and closer Kyle Finnegan ahead of the deadline.
“Jeimer was awesome. He was everything I expected and more,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He did well for us and we’ll miss him but he’s going to go help the Cubs try to get to the playoffs and win a championship, so good for him. We’ll miss him. He gets to move on. That opens up an opportunity for somebody else.”
It looked as if Chicago was going to be a seller as late as July 17, when it lost 7-5 to Washington to drop to 43-50. But it used an eight-game win streak to get back into the playoff race.
The Cubs (53-53) dropped back to .500 with Monday night’s 6-5 loss to Cincinnati. They trail the NL Central-leading Reds by five games, and they also are in the mix for a wild card.
Candelario, a New York City native who moved to the Dominican Republic when he was 5, is a .243 hitter with 82 homers and 301 RBIs in 705 career games. He likely will see time at third base and designated hitter with Chicago.
Candelario had his best season with Detroit in 2021, batting .271 with 16 homers and a career-best 67 RBIs. He also tied for the major league lead with 42 doubles.
The 29-year-old Cuas went 3-0 with a 4.54 ERA in 45 appearances with Kansas City this year. He made his big league debut with the Royals last season.
The 24-year-old Velázquez, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 amateur draft, played in 13 games with Chicago this year, batting .241 with three homers and six RBIs.
AP freelance reporter Patrick Stevens in Washington contributed to this report.