Forward of the MLB commerce deadline, an intriguing improvement with Cubs infielder Javier Baez developed.
Here is what Baez said during an interview on Tuesday:
“If I’m going to the free company, I want to play with Francisco Lindor. I beloved enjoying with him within the World (Baseball) Traditional. It’s the solely choice I’d take to play second base whether it is to play with him, in any other case I keep enjoying at shortstop.”
And now, Baez will get his want — only a bit early.
There’s a lot to dissect right here.
First, it is honest to imagine that if Baez was prepared to play second base subsequent to Lindor in 2022 and past that he’ll be pleased enjoying second base subsequent to Lindor (when he returns) in 2021.
Second, will the Mets have curiosity in extending Baez?
Let us take a look at the short-term state of affairs first…
Earlier than Baez’s feedback, any potential commerce to the Mets may not have labored — not with Lindor expected back in mid-to-late August and with Baez not having performed second base since 2018.
All of Baez’s begins this season have come at shortstop, and he shall be an ideal match there filling in till Lindor’s return, at which level he can shift to second base because the Mets kind probably the most dynamic double play duo within the sport.
For New York, the associated fee for Baez — OF prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong — damage. However it wasn’t out of line with what rental gamers have been bringing again through commerce over the previous couple of days.
Now, ought to the Mets be involved about Baez’s offense?
A profession .262/.302/.474 hitter whose bat packs a punch, Baez has struggled this season with regards to making contact — he leads the majors with 131 strikeouts and has slashed .248/.292/.484.
Nonetheless, he has hit 22 homers and can give the Mets one other harmful bat in a lineup that has remained cold and warm regardless of breaking out a bit for the reason that All-Star break.
With the Mets buying and selling for Baez, their infield upon the return of Lindor will probably be Jeff McNeil, Lindor, Baez, and Pete Alonso from left to proper. It is laborious to not just like the look of that.
What about Baez for 2022 and past?
Cohen is open to exceeding the luxurious tax threshold, however shelling out an enormous deal to Baez — whether or not it is an extension after a commerce or signing him in free company — may not be one of the best concept.
The Mets’ greatest wants are within the outfield (the place Michael Conforto is ready to turn out to be a free agent) and within the beginning rotation (with Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard maybe gone through free company after the season).
Inking Baez to an enormous deal would probably affect what the Mets do elsewhere on the roster, and his positional match and up-and-down offensive manufacturing makes him a lower than ultimate long-term piece for the Mets as they’re presently constructed.
There’s additionally the truth that lots of the Mets’ most heralded prospects are infielders.
Brett Baty, who appears prone to stick at third base, lately reached Double-A Binghamton.
Mark Vientos, who’s an choice at third base, first base, and maybe nook outfield, can also be in Binghamton.
Shortstop Ronny Mauricio, at present with Excessive-A Brooklyn, might probably slide to 3rd base or second base as soon as he reaches the majors.
And any of Baty, Vientos, or Mauricio might be the fourth piece of a Mets infield that options Lindor, McNeil, and Alonso.
The decision right here is that whereas Baez may not be an excellent long-term match for the Mets, he certain will look good on the infield down the stretch in 2021 as New York appears to be like to carry off the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves to win its first NL East title since 2015.
But when Baez is electrical in Queens and begins to remove among the swing-and-miss from his sport, pairing him with Lindor long-term shall be a tantalizing choice.