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Candelario is the Tigers best third baseman since....?


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I know that I'm probably putting too much emphasis on the here and now, but it feels like Candy might be a solid 3rd baseman.  Both his defense and offense seem to be at least above average, which is more than we can say for the hot corner in Detroit in a long time.  I can't remember the last time I didn't feel like whoever was manning 3rd wasn't either a defensive liability or under performing at the plate for that position.

Now, to be fair I'm not trying to say that Candelario is Gold Glove caliber on defense or Silver Slugger on offense.  But I'm don't feel like he's a liability either.

So yeah... "recentcy" bias firmly in place, but how far back would you go to find a starting 3rd baseman that you would have been more comfortable with than Candy?

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I'd like Candy to get back to what he was last year (obviously I have no control over that, it's all up to him) because then I think the fanbase would like/ support him even more. If he's getting above a 3 WAR for the next couple of years at least, he's enough of a positive that you don't automatically look to replace him. It may even get the Tigers their best configuration with Candy at 3rd and Tork at 1st...

But I think Candy has to notch it back up a level like last year to keep that possibility alive... otherwise, this team might push all buttons to improve their chances at contending. He's taken a step back both on offense and defense this year so... Maybe that bereavement leave he needed is affecting him some?

I like Candy, I hope he heats up this summer and shows Hinch what his best performance is capable of...

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Yeah Candy has been pretty bad defensively this year and has been a black hole in the lineup for a good chunk of the season. Having a couple good games doesn't really cement him as the future 3Bman. 

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4 hours ago, JackPine said:

Cabrera was below average defensively, -4 drs, but not horrendous in 2012. 2013 was a different story, -17 drs. Paired with MVP caliber offense was plenty palatable 

I wonder if he had come to Det at 25 initially as a pure 3b if he would have kept his weight down and if that would have changed his injury history. Might have beens......

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So, based on the comments here maybe I'm valuing Candy too highly.  However, I'm still interested in people's thoughts re: Best since?  @JackPine answered with Cabrera, which is the obvious answer that I should have thought of... I just didn't consider him a "real" third baseman I guess, but he was there for a few seasons so qualifies.

So, let's disqualify Cabrera for the sake of argument here as that answer is too easy in my opinion... doesn't make for a good conversation.  So other than Cabrera, how far back do we need to go?  For discussion purposes, here's the player who played the most 3B stars for Detroit in the past years based on data from baseball-reference:

  • 2020: Paredes
  • 2019: Lugo 
  • 2018: Candelario 
  • 2014-2017: Castellanos
  • 2012-2013: Cabrera
  • 2009-2011: Inge
  • 2008: Guillen
  • 2005-2007: Inge
  • 2003-2004: Munson
  • 2002: Truby
  • 2001: Macias
  • 1999-2000: Palmer
  • 1998: Randa
  • -1997: Fryman

I don't know why I thought Palmer was here longer than he was... I guess that's when I started getting back interested in the Tigers after a while of not really following them.

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Setting aside Miggy 2012-13, which was basically the 800-pound gorilla doing what he felt like, the last above average 3B we had was Brandon Inge. If Jeimer Candelario can deliver at third what Inge delivered for us 2004-2010, that alone would probably qualify as Avila’s best trade.

If Jeimer can deliver around a 100 wRC+ against a positive DRS, that should make him a two-win-plus player. You can take a guy like that into October, as long as you have three or more other guys who are legit All-Stars.

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16 minutes ago, Motown Bombers said:

I would take Inge over Candelario *Ducks* particularly 2006 or even 2009 Inge. 

Not to bring up the Inge debate yet again... but I get the feeling that Inge would be a great fit for Hinch's philosophy... assuming he could at least be acceptable offensively.  I think 2004 Inge would have made Hinch drool:

.287/.340/.453 while starting 34 games at C, 58 games at 3B, 6 games at LF, 14 games at CF and playing some RF as well.

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9 minutes ago, chasfh said:

Setting aside Miggy 2012-13, which was basically the 800-pound gorilla doing what he felt like, the last above average 3B we had was Brandon Inge. If Jeimer Candelario can deliver at third what Inge delivered for us 2004-2010, that alone would probably qualify as Avila’s best trade.

If Jeimer can deliver around a 100 wRC+ against a positive DRS, that should make him a two-win-plus player. You can take a guy like that into October, as long as you have three or more other guys who are legit All-Stars.

Candelario is probably delivering slightly below what was hoped for.  Going from memory, but I think when he was acquired, he was never seen as a power guy or a defender with range.  A decent complimentary part to a winning team, but not a cornerstone.

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20 minutes ago, RedRamage said:

Not to bring up the Inge debate yet again... but I get the feeling that Inge would be a great fit for Hinch's philosophy... assuming he could at least be acceptable offensively.  I think 2004 Inge would have made Hinch drool:

.287/.340/.453 while starting 34 games at C, 58 games at 3B, 6 games at LF, 14 games at CF and playing some RF as well.

Inge was ahead of his time in 2004. That kind of positional flexibility would be great now and was such a complete outlier back then.

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I think Jeimer's HR drought is probably just an anomaly. He will come back to more of a 15-20/yr pace and that will help him settle into a little better OPS than he is carrying now. I do wish his glove were a little better but 3rd need not be the priority that short and 2nd need to be for now. But they also need to up the power in the OF and I don't see where that comes from with Hill or Cameron so part of the pressure for more ISO at 3rd comes from the desire to play a high DRS outfield. Jeimer's not the greatest fit given that situation. OTOH, a switch hitter is probably worth 30-50 OPS point premium.

Baddoo looks like he could hit for power - it's certainly in there, but it seems clear they are coaching him to let the power slide for now and just work on catching up with MLB pitching.

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