If the Cubs intend on trading from the core, Javy Baez could be a magical trade chip.
In their reported willingness to unload any of the players who have helped make this one of the most successful runs of Chicago Cubs baseball any of us can remember, newly-promoted Jed Hoyer could probably get the most for catcher Willson Contreras or maybe even outfielder Ian Happ. With two years of team control on Contreras and three for Happ, the years remaining at a reasonable price and in each player’s prime represent prime value for those assets.
Amongst the guys with just one year remaining, however, you’ve got to think the most valuable asset and shiniest trade chip is none other than Javier Baez. A newly minted Gold Glove winner, Baez has something that even teammate Anthony Rizzo can’t hold a candle to despite his own Gold (and Platinum) Gloves: the ability to work his magic in the middle infield.
Baez has the ability to make a difference with his glove and arm regardless of what he is doing with a bat. And, granted, he didn’t do a lot with the bat in bizarro 2020. However, in 2018 and 2019, he was among the best all-around players in all of baseball and playing a premium defensive position.
If teams come a knocking for the core guys, there’s a good chance many will kick the tires on what kind of return the Cubs would want for Baez given his defensive wizardry and probable offensive bounceback in 2021. So, which teams would and could make a serious play for the 27-year-old star shorstop?