07/17/2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez (9) hits an RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Cubs will be sellers At the MLB trading deadline and star shortstop, Javier Baez is among the most desirable candidates for contenders looking for upgrades before July 30th.
Chicago’s 28-year-old shortstop is only a few years away from winning the 2016 NLCS MVP award, lifting the World Series trophy and playing consecutive MLB All-Star games. But with the Cubs tearing things down, his days in Chicago are numbered.
Let’s examine three possible landing spots for the beloved shortstop.
Javier Baez moved to Cincinnati Reds
If Baez doesn’t sign a long-term extension with Chicago, a sensible decision, he should be on a new team by July 31st. Otherwise, it will go on the open market and there is very little chance that one of the best MLB free agents will return to the Windy City. The Cubs must trade Baez for the best possible return, even if that means he’s playing for the Cincinnati Reds.
- Trade with Cincinnati Reds: BY Michael Siani (CINs lookout point no.5), RHP Riley O’Brien (CINs No. 13 Candidate) and OF Ariel Almonte (CINs No. 23 Candidate)
- Chicago Cubs Trade: Javier Baez
Baez is a perfect match for the Reds. On July 19, Cincinnati’s shortstops were ranked 29th in fWAR (-0.3), 28th in SPD (2.4) and 26th in OPS (.623). Meanwhile Baez is worth 2 fWAR this season, wears a .780 OPS, 6.6 Spd and is excellent defensively.
The price of buying Baez will be lowered as it is still a half-time rental and teams will only be without a faulty player (37% strikeout rate, 0.288 OBP) for a few months. But the Reds’ farming system is deep and this trade gives them a chance against the Milwaukee Brewers.
New York Mets get creative with injuries
June 24, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez (9) warms up during punch practice before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
There is no schedule for Francisco Lindor to return. Even in the best case scenario, the Grade 2 quad strain will put him out of action by mid-August. Given all the injuries the Mets have faced this season and their troubles with the plate, a Javier Baez deal makes sense.
- Send New York Mets: BY Khalil Lee (NYM’s # 7 prospects), RHP Robert Dominguez (NYM’s # 13 contender), and RHP Yennsy Diaz (NYM’s # 26 contender)
- Chicago Cubs send: Javier Baez
By the time Lindor returns, Baez could start at shortstop and be successful. Even if he doesn’t hit base consistently, Citi Field will be delighted with his strength gauge, and his defensive wizardry creates its own excitement. When Lindor is healthy, it’s fun.
While Baez hasn’t appeared in a game at second base since 2018, the young infielder has logged more than 1,800 career innings at the position. If the Mets want him to play the hot corner, Baez has 629.1 innings at third base. The craftsmanship at Shortstop is undeniable, but this is one player the Mets can get creative with.
Oakland A’s Land Javier Baez
July 6, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez (9) reacts after a home run in the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
The Athletics could try to justify Elvis Andrus remaining their daily shortstop by citing his improvements over the past few months. While it’s true that he has improved on an ugly April, things are not much better. In the last 30 days, Andrus owns only one .260 / .279 / .370 slash with average defense and very little series production.
- The Oakland A trade: BY Luis Barrera (OAK’s lookout point no.7) and RHP Jeff Criswell (OAKs Lookout # 8)
- Chicago Cubs Trade: Javier Baez
Oakland isn’t known for taking on huge deals, but Baez comes for a reasonable price. He owed the remaining portion of his $ 11.65 million salary this season, so the A would be hooked for less than $ 6 million.
The combination of Baez and Matt Chapman would create an unmatched defensive combo. It would be a nice boost for a pitching team that really supports this team. Equally appreciated, A’s line-up would add a player who can run in runs.