Jeimer Candelario has agreed to a $45 million, three-year contract with Cincinnati, giving the Reds a surplus of infielders that could lead to another move.
A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press on Thursday morning on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical. The contract includes a club option that could take the value to $60 million over four years.
Candelario played for Washington and the Chicago Cubs this year, batting .251 with 22 homers and 70 RBIs in 140 games. The switch hitter also had 39 doubles.
Candelario, a New York City native who turned 30 on Nov. 24, can play first and third base. He also could be part of Cincinnati’s lineup as the designated hitter.
The Reds have been active after they were one of baseball’s biggest surprises in 2023, contending for a playoff spot before fading to an 82-80 record. They signed right-handers Nick Martinez and Emilio Pagan before the start of baseball’s winter meetings.
Candelario joins a crowded infield in Cincinnati that also includes Jonathan India, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte and Christian Encarnacion-Strand. The Reds also have Spencer Steer, who hit 23 homers this year, but he can play left field.
Cincinnati could deal one of its young infielders to get some help for its starting rotation. White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease and Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow are among the top possibilities that could be available via trade.
Candelario made his big league debut with the Cubs in 2016. He is a .243 hitter with 88 homers and 318 RBIs in 746 career games.
He was traded to Detroit with fellow infielder Isaac Paredes for catcher Alex Avila and reliever Justin Wilson at the 2017 deadline. He was non-tendered by the Tigers a year ago and then signed a $5 million, one-year contract with Washington.
After struggling in 2022, Candelario bounced back with the Nationals. He hit .258 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs in 99 games before he was traded to the Cubs on July 31.