Javier Baez is on the team, then he isn’t. Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon sets the record straight.
Yesterday’s reports thatJavier Baez
had already been assured
roster was a surprise to many. And the news that he
been informed he has a spot makes more sense, but nonetheless confuses the situation.
"“It was not told by me. It wasn’t told by Theo. It wasn’t told by Jed,” Maddon said Wednesday. “I have no idea how that began, where Javy got that information from originally or initially. I honestly don’t know. Because that has not been decided yet.” h/t Patrick Mooney, CSNChicago.com"
So what’s the story here? Is it a miscommunication between the two sides? Maddon has spoke highly of Baez and his defensive acumen, but his struggles at the plate have continued this spring, batting .128 (5-for-39) and 14 strikeouts.
Did someone on the “inside” tell Baez that so the possible ego boost of making the team would help him relax at the plate? Highly unlikely since it was shot down before he took one at-bat with the perceived confidence he may or may not have gained.
But Maddon sees a high baseball IQ in Baez, and has made it clear that hitting alone doesn’t win baseball games, and that may be where Baez has the upper-hand. He’s the best middle-infielder the Cubs have, and can play three spots on the diamond. And let’s face it, this club hasn’t been real strong in the field in recent years.
Judging by Maddon’s comments, he hasn’t wavered on Baez and his ability, so there shouldn’t be any lost confidence on that front for Baez.
"“This guy, for me, is a major-league second baseman,” Maddon said. “When that clock’s going to begin ticking, I can’t give you a 100-percent timetable on that.”"
Roster cuts are nearing, and Maddon doesn’t always do things by the book. Conventional wisdom tells you Baez might need to head to Triple-A. But carrying three catchers, batting the pitcher eighth? These are not conventional.
Neither is Maddon, and that’s perfectly fine.