Chicago Cubs: Putting the kabosh on the Javier Baez rumors
Don’t you love the baseball offseason in the winter–rampant Chicago Cubs speculation, rumors, and sometimes, a whole lot of nothing, as well.
The free agency period has been rather quiet and fans are anticipating moves, waiting for action leading to something, anything for the Chicago Cubs. This is a fun time for baseball if you get into the offseason, moves, rumors and all the craziness that will only get crazier once the Winter Meetings begin the week of Dec. 10 in Orlando, Florida.
Love this time of year
There has been much speculation, from pretty much anyone with a pulse, over what the Cubs will do. Who will or won’t stay, and frankly, in this social media age, it can be hard to keep up. Well if you’re paying close attention it’s actually kind of easy to decipher rumors from every other piece of speculation.
The popular one has been whether Javier Baez stays or goes.
Definition of valuable
As valuable as Baez has proven to be for the Cubs, particularly over the last two seasons, I personally do not think you need to worry about him leaving. Baez is a magician with the glove at second base, a very serviceable shortstop when the need arises and he carried the team offensively for stretches.
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Where would the Cubs have been last season without Baez, with Addison Russell working through off-field struggles, but also missing extended gaps due to injury?
Mike Freeman was the backup shortstop, further lending context on the value of defensive depth, and how hard it is to find a trusted component to come off the bench and start as needed.
I also seem to recall a FOX montage segment of defensive-heroic flips featuring Baez during the 2016 postseason.
If the Cubs trade him he’s going to be dealt in a blockbuster, like for a top-of-the-rotation arm. I’m sure every team in baseball would love to have a guy like Baez. I don’t see him being sent to Baltimore for a rental in Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman. Sean Sears mentions the same thing in the original article.
Who knows where any talk, real rumors or else, originate from. As Joe Maddon said in May,
"“(There’s) no intent on our part. I just think the nature of our team, the young guys, you’re gonna hear that. If you’re gonna attempt to get pitching, you’re gonna hear the typical names mentioned. And just from our players’ perspective, I just would hope they won’t take it to heart too often.” — Joe Maddon, NBC Chicago"
Of course that was in May, and things can change. But since May, the Cubs got a close-up and personal look at Baez’s value.
Besides, we’ve talked about Britton and that has its risks. Whether or not he is closer to his 2015 season, and not the injury-riddled 2016, you still run the risk of losing him in free agency after the 2018 season. On paper, it makes sense why the Orioles would consider a player like Baez to replace the potentially departing Manny Machado. That much is not a secret. From the Cubs’ perspective, not so much.
Chicago is not all in as they like to say in the industry. They are not trading for a rental, the type that requires a large haul, such as the Aroldis Chapman trade in 2016 during their all in championship quest.
Besides, think of the energy alone they would be losing if they moved the talented Puerto Rican.
Next: Team doesn’t need Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish to win
Try not to fret
This is not to say the Cubs won’t trade Baez.
Simply put, who knows what can come up during the offseason. Culminating in the unpredictability and fun of it all is the aforementioned Winter Meetings. A place where rumors run wild and flood your social media timelines. More than they already do.
Just don’t worry about getting into a tizzy. Theo Epstein, down unto Maddon, understand Baez’s worth, potential, and know your concerns with what would need to come back in the unfathomable trade scenario.
It would most certainly take a haul in return to let him go.