Jeimer Candelario a repeat winner of Tiger of the Year honors

Detroit News

Detroit — For the first time in eight years, there is a repeat winner of the annual Tiger of the Year award, voted on and presented by the Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Jeimer Candelario, a runaway winner in 2020, edged out both Jonathan Schoop and Robbie Grossman to become the first player since Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and 2013 to win the award in consecutive years.

In his age 27 season, Candelario led baseball with 42 doubles while leading the Tigers in WAR (3.7), OPS-plus (122) and wRC-plus (119). He also played in a career-most 149 games, including a stretch of 83 consecutive starts at third base.

“There’s nothing that he doesn’t do well,” manager AJ Hinch said last month. “He’s pretty good at just about every part of the offensive approach and the bat-to-ball skills. That, in itself, and staying within yourself has really set him up nicely to be an offensive performer.

“The question about his power, he shrugs it off. The question about durability, he shrugs it off. You look up and you’re like, ‘Oh, pretty good year. And he’s posted every day.’ There’s not a lot of guys that can say that.”

Candelario, who made $2.85 million last season and is eligible for arbitration this winter, is expected to speak to the media Tuesday afternoon.

For subscribers: Tony Paul’s top 50 MLB free agents, predictions

End of the line

Outfielder and two-time Tigers minor league offensive player of the year Christin Stewart was among 19 players in the Tigers’ system who became minor-league free agents on Monday.

Stewart, the club’s starting left fielder in 2019 and 2020, didn’t make the club out of spring training last year and spent the entire season at Triple-A Toledo. Although the Tigers can still re-sign him, Stewart is free to sign with another organization.

The list of minor-league free agents also includes former pitching prospects Gerson Moreno, who bounced back from elbow surgery to post 68 strikeouts in 46 innings at Double-A Erie last season, and Wladimir Pinto, a hard-throwing right-hander who has yet to master the strike zone.

First baseman Aderlin Rodriguez, Eastern League MVP, is also a free agent. Rodriguez, who turns 30 on Nov. 18 hit 29 home runs and knocked in 94 at Triple-A Toledo.

The others: Pitchers Jose Appleton, Cale Coshow, Isarrael De La Cruz, Xavier Javier, Mark Leiter Jr., Henry Martinez, Pedro Payano, Ricardo Pinto and Zachary Shepherd, Robert Ross and Locke St. John; infielders Yariel Gonzalez, Josh Lester and Drew Ward; and catcher Juan Centeno.

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Twitter: @cmccosky

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