Chicago Cubs: Which Cubs are most likely to be traded?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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#2. Javier Baez

Javier Baez was one of the Cubs’ most consistent hitters in the regular season. He was essential to their 2016 World Series Championship. He hit the game-winning home run of the 2016 NLDS  game 1 and was NLCS co-MVP. His defensive excellence provides fans with exciting highlights and regularly prevents runs from scoring. But Baez lands his spot on this list because a middle-infielder has to go, and the holes in his game seem unfixable.

Why the Cubs will trade Baez

Baez’s ceiling has been realized. A two-strike count is a de facto strikeout for Javier Baez. Any pitcher that can throw a decent slider away can provoke a swing-and-miss from Baez at any time.

Despite the glaring holes in his offense, Baez’s trade value should still be reasonably high. Teams are always anxious to add more sluggers. Baez’s defensive highlight reel could attract offers on its own.

We’ve seen the best that Baez can be. His flashy defensive plays aren’t worth the many unproductive outs he makes on offense. The Cubs would be wise to deal Baez while his value is what it is.

Why the Cubs won’t trade Baez

The Cubs suffer when Baez isn’t on the field. The Cubs’ pitching staff is reliant on getting outs on the ground, and having Baez’s glove in the middle infield makes getting those outs that much easier.

Baez’s bat can still improve. If he dedicates his offseason to learning how to wait on the off-speed stuff, he’ll be an even better player in 2018. Moving Baez before that potential is realized could be something that haunts the Cubs for years.

The 2017 postseason was one to forget for Baez, and it may have hurt his trade value. On the big stage of the MLB postseason, Baez looked lost at the plate. The Cubs know that that isn’t the player Baez is, but other teams may not be able to look past that.