With the Reds announcing Monday a three-year deal with a club option for 2027 with switch-hitting infielder Jeimer Candelario reportedly worth $45 million, Cincinnati has landed one of Major League Baseball's top positional free agents in a move that, for now, appears to push utilityman Spencer Steer into more of an outfield role on the heels of Steer's outstanding rookie season.
The Enquirer's Gordon Wittenmyer reported earlier that the Reds met twice with Candelario's agents at last month's GM meetings.
Candelario, who turned 30 in November, has played first base and third base in parts of nine MLB seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals. He's hit .243 with 88 homers and 165 doubles in 3,036 career plate appearances. He led the American League in doubles with 42 in 2021, and hit a career-high 22 homers last season, including 16 with the Nats before a deadline deal sent him to the Cubs.
More about Candelario:
Candelario has hit .329 with an OPS of 1.086 in 100 plate appearances against the Reds.
In the Tigers' two wins during a three-game series at Great American Ball Park in September 2021, Candelario was 4-for-5 with two doubles, a homer, two RBIs and four runs scored in the opener and 2-for-3 with a triple, a run, two RBIs and a walk in the series finale.
In 47 plate appearances against the Reds last season, Candelario had an OPS of 1.160, with four doubles and three homers. Two of those HRs came against Andrew Abbott and Brett Kennedy in back-to-back Cubs-Reds games in September.
Candelario hit lefties slightly better than righties last season.
Candelario hit .254 in 161 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, and hit .251 in 415 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers.
He also hit slightly better on the road (.253) vs. at home (.250) in 2023.
The 2023 season was a nice bounceback for Candelario, who was non-tendered after hitting just .217 during an injury-plagued 2022 season.
In 2021, Candelario hit .270 against righties and .273 against lefties.
Candelario was born in New York, but grew up in the Dominican Republic.
Candelario's father, Roger, moved the family to the Dominican Republic to start a baseball academy when Jeimer was 5.
Roger and Jose Cano, former eight-time MLB All-Star Robinson's father, played together in the Houston Astros' organization. Robinson has been a mentor to Jeimer throughout his career.
Candelario's nickname is "Candy," or "Candy Man."
Candelario often uses the hashtag #candyman on Twitter/X.
And in the Dominican Republic, many called him "Baby Ruth."
LOVE SPORTS? [ Subscribe now for unlimited access to Cincinnati.com ]
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Jeimer Candelario: Cincinnati adds corner infielder, Reds Killer