Chicago Cubs: Is Javier Baez a threat to Addison Russell’s long-term security?
What happens from here?
If it ain’t broke, should the Cubs really try to fix it?
In the past few years, the Chicago Cubs have had an influx of tremendous young talent. When that happens, it’s natural to wonder who stays and who eventually finds the door. Javier Baez’s name has been thrown around in trade rumors every year since his big league arrival, but more and more it’s starting to look like he could be a centerpiece of this team for years to come.
So, if Baez stays at shortstop, who is the second baseman of the future? At 36 years old, it’s not Ben Zobrist. Addison Russell played 86 games at second base in 2015, so he can play the position, but it’s not likely he would make that shift moving forward.
That leaves us with Ian Happ.
The 23-year-old rookie made his major league debut with the team in mid-May this year, and though he’s ridden some ups and downs, it’s been a solid first showing overall. To this point, he’s hitting .256/.330/.529 with 21 home runs and 53 RBI. There’s a lot of power in that stick. And many consider him to be the fastest player on a team that doesn’t steal a ton of bases. His slash line also means that in his rookie season, he’s a better hitter than Addison Russell has been at any point in his career at the major league level. Is it a sure bet things continue to play out that way? Absolutely not. But we also can’t ignore what we’re currently witnessing.
Time will tell
Perhaps Russell is the one who is dealt for pitching, rather than Baez, who has found himself at the center of those discussions for years now. The Cubs will have to address concerns in their rotation soon. Trading for Jose Quintana helped, but Jon Lester will be entering his age-34 season and Jake Arrieta is likely to leave after this year.
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The likelihood of all three of Javier Baez, Addison Russell and Ian Happ being part of the Chicago Cubs’ long-term plans is not particularly high. So selling someone in the near future to strengthen the pitching rotation makes a lot of sense. There’s a good chance that sooner rather than later, we’ll find out who the odd-man-out is. Don’t be surprised if it’s Addison Russell.