Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez returns in first wave of call-ups


Cubs call up first wave, Baez gets his second chance

The future is now. Well, again at least. Last season about this time the Chicago Cubs called up Javier Baez and Jorge Soler. Soler stuck around but is currently on the disabled list. Baez was cut from camp in the spring to work on his swing, and later had to deal with the loss of his sister Noely and then an injury. Now he’s healthy and will get another chance to prove the expectations on him weren’t wrong.

Upon his return, he was on a 16-game hitting streak at Iowa so the timing of the move is perfect. Baez seems dialed in and if he’s going to make an impression now is the time. Former shortstop Starlin Castro has shown life at the plate, but his defense is still a severe liability. That could open the door for Baez at second although Joe Maddon hasn’t assured anyone of anything to this point. Overall at Iowa Baez was hitting .324 with 15 home runs and 71 RBIs. He’s also stolen 17 bases in 70 games.

Joining Baez in Chicago will be pitchers Tsuyoshi Wada and Trevor Cahill along with outfielder Quintin Berry. It’s likely Berry will see action as a pinch-runner mostly, with an occasional at-bat or start to spell a regular. The addition of Cahill and Wada may be the most intriguing of the early call-ups.

Kyle Hendricks is still searching for the form that led him to 20 consecutive scoreless innings earlier this season while Dan Haren has struggled, allowing the long ball frequently since his arrival in Chicago. Are these guys going to be spot starters? Long relief? Or maybe even a replacement for one of the aforementioned guys?

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Wada has been an adequate starter for the Cubs in his time in Chicago. He started just seven games before injury this year, going 1-1 with a 3.73 ERA. Last season he posted a 4-4 record with a 3.25 ERA, earning him a spot this season. Stellar numbers? No. Better than we’ve gotten from the No. 5 spot? Absolutely.

Cahill is a former All-Star and an 18-game winner that has failed to repeat that success. After 2010, Cahill won 12 and 13 games the two years following that. In 2014, a 3-12 record was enough for the Diamondback, and Cahill landed in Atlanta. That stop lasted just 15 games in which he posted a 7.52 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. It appears his best days are behind him, but pitching coach Chris Bosio has worked wonders with others, and it’s a low-risk move.

The Cubs will likely add another wave soon, as Iowa’s season ends on August 7.

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