Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez told he’ll make Opening Day roster


Baez told he’ll make 25-man roster, even with continued struggles at the plate

It seems a bit peculiar that the Chicago Cubs’

Javier Baez

has been told he’ll be on the Opening Day roster, while phenom

Kris Bryant

awaits his fate. Maybe the Cubs really do cherish the defense as much as they’ve said.

Baez was told–with two weeks left in camp–that he would be on the Opening Day roster. A Cubs official confirmed it. Publicly, the team is staying hush on most of the roster moves, especially Bryant. Defense has been the point made by the Cubs front office as to why Bryant may have to wait. With Baez making the team, maybe they aren’t putting up a smokescreen about his defense.

It’s very clear to anyone that has watched this team over the past few years that defensively, they aren’t very good. Yes, there will be the occasional highlight catch–but the fundamentals at times leave much to be desired. Baez, however, is a machine in the middle-infield.

Strong arm, makes the plays he should–while also making a few that he shouldn’t. And the team as a whole has shown how problematic a bad defense can be on several occasions this spring. So maybe it isn’t a “terrible” choice, but his hitting… Or, lack thereof.

He continues to be a strikeout wonder, seemingly showing little progress at the plate from last year. I know his swing is as violent and powerful as they come, and that he’s going to strikeout a lot. Sammy Sosa was that way. But, aside from the sideshow he became, we talked about his home runs, not his strikeouts.

But clearly Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon is looking at this as a whole, and being a metrics guy as he is–defense is a critical factor in a players overall worth.

"“The swing has nothing to do with it for me,” Maddon said. “That’s the obvious, surface-layer kind of stuff. That’s the part that’s going to change. But if you break down the other components of his game, he’s one of the best young players I’ve seen, period.”"

When asked about the amount of strikeouts, and lack of contact he doesn’t shy away from the truth, but sees more than that.

"“I get it. I totally get where you’re coming from,” Maddon said. “But ask the pitchers what they think when he’s playing defense. How about the runs that you save?More from Cubbies CribCubs have to stay healthy if they want to contend in 2023Cubs: Nico Hoerner is flexing more power in 2022Cubs on course for their fifth-worst record in the last two decadesCubs have hands full with upcoming 40-man roster decisionsCubs: What’s behind Nico Hoerner’s second-half cooldown?"

For Baez, he benefits from the Cubs not having anyone else that has stood out at camp at the position. Maddon will likely want to keep Arismendy Alcantara as a utility man, ala Ben Zobrist. Tommy La Stella hasn’t overwhelmed anyone. So Baez looks like he’s the default.

Yes, one of our top prospects that we heard about the last few years is going to make the team for his….defensive ability.

As a Cubs’ fan, I stopped asking questions a long time ago. I just roll with it now.

Next: Lester likely to be on pitch count Opening Night