Chicago Cubs: Addison Russell’s return shouldn’t affect Javier Baez

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 15: J(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 15: J(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

There’s no question who belongs at shortstop for the Chicago Cubs. Will plans change if or when a former top prospect makes his return to the Major League roster?

The Chicago Cubs‘ Javier Baez deserves a long-term contract. That’s no secret. The man has improved his mechanics over the years, emerging as the leagues’ highlight reel. One of many, I might add.

A year after Baez debut, top prospect Addison Russell made his arrival in Pittsburgh. It was a move that made Chicago’s infield much more exciting despite knowing Starlin Castro was now on borrowed time.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst along the way. For infielder Russell, that is. We’re fully aware of the story involving Russell and his ex-wife. Something that led to a suspension and left the Cubs to make a decision regarding the future of the young infielder.

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Right now, Addison is currently spending time with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs where he reportedly received a standing ovation in his return to baseball action via Tommy Birch on Twitter.

So, with Russell attempting to make his way back to the big league roster, where does that leave Baez? An individual who has quickly turned himself into a household name and an MVP candidate along with the likes of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.

Key Piece

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Theo Epstein said that Russell will be getting playing time at both shortstop and second base during his time with the Triple-A affiliate. He then mentions that Baez is a “central member” of the team.

Well, no kidding. Last year, Baez destroyed nearly ever career-high he had set prior by recording 176 hits, 34 homers, 111 RBI, 40 doubles, and nine triples while slashing .290/.326/.554/.881 in 606 at-bats.

"“I think everyone recognizes how important he is as a central member of this team – the energy he provides, the things he can do on the field and the spirit with which he does them, and how important that is to all of us.” – Epstein via Chicago Sun-Times."

Granted, he struck out 167 times which was 23 higher than his previous mark of 144; a tally set in 2017. Let us not forget his glove in all of this. Flashy tags and a jaw-dropping fielding ability has helped anchor an early career .966 percentage between 224 appearances at shortstop.

Next. New pitching coach proving his worth. dark

Undoubtedly, the front office will decide to stick with Baez and look for other opportunities when it comes to Russell whether it’s splitting time with Ben Zobrist and Daniel Descalso or even shipping him to another team needing depth at his primary position.

Either way, I’m sure most of us agree that we’re House Baez.