Opinion: Cubs Should Trade Javier Baez

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The Cubs have had a busy offseason, adding Joe Maddon and Jon Lester to mix with their young talent.  If you are familiar with the Cubs team, you know they have more hitting prospects than positions to fill on the diamond.  I’m here to tell you who they should trade next to get the pitching they desperately need.

A popular guy name is the rumor mill is shortstop Starlin Castro. Despite the fact Baez and Russell can play short, Castro can, and should be a leader for the team as it’s prospects grow into everyday players. That being said, a scenario where the Cubs deal Castro is not out of the picture.

The guy I’d trade is Javier Baez, the monster power middle infielder.  He’s going to have 6 years of team control left going into this season but prospects are always a risk. His value may never be higher, and it could help the Cubs snag exactly what they need.

The fact of the matter is that Baez has monster power.  He homered every 23.67 at-bats this past year despite his .169/.227/.324 slash line. While I don’t doubt that Baez will become better and more mature next year, I’m still a bit skeptical about his overall hitting ability.  With guys like Bryant, Castro, Russell, and Rizzo around, it makes the most sense to deal the weakest link, and at this point, it’s Baez.

Now, to refer to Baez as a weak link sounds kind of silly because we are talking about a guy who was rated the number 5 prospect in all of baseball just before the season last year by Baseball America. The thing is, Kris Bryant is a once-in a lifetime type of talent that the Cubs need to keep, and Russell can slide over to second and take Baez’s spot later on this year. Until then, Alcantara can play second base.  Now, the Cubs could just trade Alcantara, who also wasn’t very impressive in his 70 games last year, but he has nowhere near the value of Baez.

Baez has some major red flags. Despite his amazing value, his strikeout rate has always been rough and his swing looks like an all or nothing swing.  Baez has his pros too, which makes him an attractive trade target.  He has a high wOBA and walks a good amount.

In the end, projecting Baez is difficult because he has numbers that go for him and those that go against him, and if you watched him in the majors last year, he looked overmatched, but if you just go watch a few minutes of him hitting in the minors you can see the immense potential. The bottom line for Baez is that he has a solid chance to be a top five second baseman in the league. Those don’t come around often, and the craziest thing is that the Cubs have another guy who could become a top 5 middle infielder.

Baez could get the Cubs that last good starter they wanted.  You package him up with Dan Voglebach and Gleybar Torres and possibly make a run for Cole Hamels.  Another name I like is Ian Kennedy, but the Padres would even have to give up more to get Baez.  There’s quite a few decent starters available and I’ll let Theo Epstein make his decision on that, but if I were Theo I’d be shopping Baez for that number 2 starter to follow Lester.

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16 Responses

  1. Well Researched

    Castro was signed to a long term deal 2 years ago. He’s under club control through at least 2019 and they have an option for 2020. Try a little harder Niklas.

    Reply
    • Niklas

      Hey, you’re correct and I fixed it. I’m sorry I’m not perfect. I’ll be sure to triple check my facts now! Lesson learned.

      Reply
  2. jneely77

    Someone needs to teach this guy how to use a comma. So many unnecessary commas.

    Reply
    • Patrick Green

      I read the article twice and did not see anything wrong with his comma usage. Sure, there were an abundance of them but none to my knowledge were used incorrectly. It is his writing style. You may not like it but there is nothing evidently wrong with it. Next time you make a claim like that, make sure to back it up with actual evidence.

      Reply
  3. fuzzyspappy

    Baez has his faults but he is a pure sniper. If someone teaches a bit of patience to this kid then look out.

    Reply
    • Niklas

      I agree, it’s just his faults are higher than any middle infielder they have.

      Reply
  4. SteveO730

    Why give up prospects when the Cubs can sign one of Smardzija, Zimmerman, Latos, Cueto, or Price next offseason?

    Reply
    • Niklas

      So they could contend this season, and maybe add some other pieces too. There’s no reason to keep all the middle infielders they have, at some point you can trade one and be alright.

      Reply
      • Niklas

        That’s how I see it anyways, but you’re correct, they could go after one of those guys. Thing is, Hamels is definitely better than Latos and Samardzija and one could argue is better than the other 3 listed too. Plus how many of those guys sign extensions, and what’s the bidding price on them? The main point is the Cubs have a chance this year though and Hamels solidifies that, or some other piece. I never said it has to be a Hamels either. Maybe they get a really good outfielder that they can extend, or who knows, maybe they can trade Baez for Kimbrel or something crazy.

      • SteveO730

        What’s the bidding price is exactly right and the reason why these guys won’t sign extensions. I would love to see Hamels in a Cubs uniform but these young prospects are not ready yet. Alcantara and Baez both struggled last year and Bryant and Russell have yet to see major league pitching. The Cubs have had three awful seasons so why get impatient now?

      • Niklas

        I’m not saying they should. You miss the point of the article. They have an overabundance of middle infield prospects. They don’t need all of them, so why not go out and add a big piece. I suggested Hamels as an example. They could trade for a great left fielder or closer or whatever. They are on their way up, so they need to make the final moves to make their team good. They aren’t going to be awful anymore…

  5. Chris Hale

    Bryant should move to LF, Then you keep all the bats in the mix
    C Montero
    1B Rizzo
    2B Baez
    3B Castro
    SS Russell
    LF Bryant
    CF Alcantara (until Almora arrives)
    RF Soler.
    That is a heck of lot of offensive potential. They have Lester as their #1 Starter and Arrieta as their #2 and they can fill in their last 3 spots with the likes of Kendricks,Wada,Doubront,Wood,Turner,and Jackson. No this rotation isn’t good enough to make the post season but they aren’t ready to do that anyway, This season will be getting back up to the 500 mark. Next off season they land 1 or 2 more top end starting pitchers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arrieta as one of the best pitchers in the NL

    Reply
  6. Nick Kopke

    I seriouslydoubt Epstein trades Baez. In his interviews he raves about when the light goes on it will be worth it. He really could struggle again the entire season but you gotta give that kid at least 500 to 800 more at bats and NOT in the 7 or 8 hole. They will havesomuch offense it will be ok to have one guy struggle. It is worth the risk. He just needs to get used to the pitch sequences and the advanced bite on the off spead pitches over time.

    Reply

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