Candelario & Paredes: Who Are They, And How Soon Until They Are Tigers?
The Detroit Tigers made their second deal ahead of the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, sending closer Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila to the Chicago Cubs for a couple of higher end prospects from the Cubs organization.
Those prospects are corner infielder Jeimer Candelario, shortstop Isaac Paredes and a player to be named later (or cash).
So who are these new Tigers?
Candelario, 23, is the key piece in this deal. He was ranked as the #1 Cubs prospect at the time of the trade and MLB Pipeline puts him in their top 100 (ranked 92). He can also be found on the top 10 third baseman prospects list by the same service. According to MLB Pipeline, he now ranks as the Tigers #3 prospect.
Candelario has split time between AAA Iowa and the majors this season. With the Chicago Cubs, Candelario is hitting only .152 with three RBIs and one home run in 11 games. With the AAA Iowa Cubs (where he has spent most of his 2017 season) Candelario sports a .266 average with 12 home runs and 52 RBIs. His OPS in the minors this season is almost .900. Candelario is a switch hitter at the plate.
If it wasn't for Kris Bryant it's very likely that Candelario would already have a much more decorated MLB resume. However, it is hard to compete with the reigning NL MVP for playing time. Candelario can also play first base, though with the Cubs he butts head with Anthony Rizzo in that position. In Detroit, he now competes with an aging Miguel Cabrera and a middling Nicholas Castellanos for those corner infield spots.
Candelario will join the Toledo Mud Hens but could see time in the majors with Detroit as soon as this year barring any more trades during the deadline (non-waiver ends today) or potential injuries.
Then there is Isaac Paredes.
Paredes, 18, is a younger player with the potential to bloom into an everyday shortstop at the major league level. Don't take our word for it, take the word of Cubs Insider, who called Paredes the best Cubs prospect in the absence of Eloy Jimenez (who was sent to the White Sox this season).
Paredes has spent his entire 2017 season with single-A South Bend playing shortstop. In 92 games, he has hit .264 driving in 49 RBIs and though he is not known for his power has hit seven home runs in the Midwest League so far this year. His defense is a selling point for him, with South Bend his fielding percentage is .977 in over 600 innings of work.
Paredes will likely stay in the Midwest League after this deal, changing teams from the South Bend Cubs to Detroit's single-A affiliate the West Michigan Whitecaps. He jumps from the 10th best prospect in the Cubs system to spot #8 in Detroit's system with this trade. He is still a ways out from the majors with MLB Pipeline projecting his ETA to the Major Leagues at 2020.
There is also a third bit to this trade. The player to be named later is likely to be a member of the Chicago Cubs draft class this season. MLB rules state that when a player is drafted their club can not trade their rights until after the World Series of that particular season. MLB rules also state that "players to be named later" must be resolved within six months of the transaction being finalized. Both timelines seem to indicate that this is a likely scenario. If the two teams can not come to an agreement on a player to be sent to Detroit, the cash option is also on the table.
For the price of their backup catcher and a closer who has only recently been getting regular 9th inning work, the Tigers received two top 10 prospects from a middle of the road minor league system per Baseball America. Additionally, one of those prospects is ranked top 100 by the MLB, plus a possible third player to be named later.