With the Cubs still making moves before players report to camp in mid-February, their starting lineup and batting order has received a couple of changes since the off-season began.
So far this winter, Chicago has replaced Welington Castillo with both David Ross and Miguel Montero behind the dish, while finding themselves a new lead-off hitter in Dexter Fowler. There’s no doubt that this team has gone through multiple changes over the last couple seasons, one of the more important ones having to do with trading a former gold glove second baseman to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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It was saddening to see the lovable Darwin Barney take his flashy leather and head to the West Coast, but we all knew who could potentially fill his shoes. After splitting playing time at second base and eventually filling in for Starlin Castro at shortstop, Javier Baez ended the year with nine home runs, 20 RBIs and a clip of .169/.227/.324 on top of 95 strikeouts.
Once the season ended, it was believed that Baez would automatically become the teams primary second baseman entering the 2015 campaign.
Now according ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers, new manager Joe Maddon said during the Cubs Convention this past weekend that players, including Baez, will have to earn their playing time from here on out – unless your name is Anthony Rizzo.
Maddon isn’t the only one who feels this way, in fact, general manager Jed Hoyer believes that Baez still has some adjustments to make.
"“Javy has to make some adjustments. That’s obvious. Certainly, he’s a guy (who) has to earn his playing time. I don’t think there’s any question about that.” Hoyer via CSN Chicago."
Despite displaying a bit of pop in his bat during his half-season, Baez is aware of the adjustments he needs to make in order to becoming everything this team is hoping for. He admitted that he was confused when people were talking about trying to fix his swing, but said that he was waiting for the season to be over in order to start working on things.
Baez, who recently dropped 15 pounds, has been watching video with new hitting coach John Mallee, which is a step in the right direction.