Chicago Cubs Rumors: Could Javier Baez be headed to the Padres?


Padres contacted Cubs in regards to Baez

With the deadline bearing down on teams, the Chicago Cubs continue to examine their options–although it’s becoming more difficult to tell if they’re eager to make any moves at all. One of the more recent reports beginning to surface is the San Diego Padres interest in Javier Baez. This comes on the heels of Cubs skipper Joe Maddon telling Starlin Castro that he wouldn’t be traded. At least for today that’s true.

But the likelihood of Castro being traded would indeed decrease if the Cubs moved former the top prospect Baez–possibly signaling a move of Castro to second base–to make room at shortstop for the more defensively capable Addison Russell. So will Baez be packing his bags for San Diego in the coming days?

The truth is, even with the difficult year that Baez has had losing his sister early this year and battling injuries, he currently holds more value in trade than Castro. While he’s having a down year he has proven he can be successful at the Major League level. Baez on the other hand, has yet to prove that. The Triple-A number have been impressive–including a line of .325/.399/.567 in 42 games with Iowa this season. Not to mention that on Tuesday night in his return he slugged two home runs.

The Padres have three potential trade targets on their staff in James Shields, Andrew Cashner, and Tyson Ross. Shields is highly unlikely, but Ross’ name has been tossed about frequently with the Cubs. rumor is the Cubs feel the asking price is too high for Ross, but there’s a chance that could be changing. As the deadline approaches, other teams are seceding–and in turn flooding the market with potential arms. The Detroit Tigers fall in that group now as they’ve indicated a full “reboot” of their roster.

The difference with the Padres’ pitchers is that they are controllable beyond this season–not the typical rentals that teams often look for this time of year. Cashner is one that could be a potential target as well. He was part of the “trade triangle” of the Padres, Red Sox; and Cubs. GM Jed Hoyer had him in San Diego but traded him for Anthony Rizzo upon arriving in Chicago. Baez isn’t part of this regime, so it’s hard to tell if they would have any “difficulty” parting with him.

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Ross continues to look like the most obvious candidate for the Cubs, and would still come at a better price than say Cole Hamels of the Phillies. The key in this matter to remember is that the Padres reached out to the Cubs on Baez–not the Cubs on Ross. So this could be an indicator a deal is more likely as the two teams look to have mutual interest.

Since this collection of infield talent began to accumulate for the Cubs, we’ve known a day would come that one of them could possibly be traded. Two years ago, there was no chance Baez or Castro would have been headed anywhere–as they were a few of the “untouchables”. Now the Cubs are at a crossroads of deciding which middle infielder holds more value while balancing the potential of the one they keep.

A lot can happen before 3 p.m. CT on Friday. And I wouldn’t put anything past Hoyer and Theo Epstein. I didn’t think we were going to come away with Jon Lester after the winter meetings. I’d be more prepared for other GM’s to panic before I’d worry about our brain trust.

Next: More on the Padres Ross