Cubs: Javier Baez needs to step up big if he wants to get paid big

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Javier Baez can be forgiven if every time he checks his base coach, he sees dollar signs. He is in for a big payday soon. But I hope he’s giving some thought as to how to help the Cubs win games this season, as well.

Cubs need Javier Baez to be on-point if they hope to win

For the Cubs to be successful this year (and who doesn’t want that?) they need Baez to step up, both at the plate, and more importantly, as a consistent force in all aspects of his game.

I’ll admit to getting a charge out of watching Baez swing so hard he comes “out of his cleats.” He routinely over-compensates for his fairly average MLB size with swings that can cause sonic booms. But those swings need to connect this year at a higher rate.

I’m not resurrecting last year, that was an anomaly in so many ways. No, I’m looking at the whole body of production in his career so far. It’s impressive, but situationally, I think he can improve.

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I was encouraged by the second and third games of the series with Pittsburgh over the weekend. After a total offensive collapse shared almost equally amongst the Cubs on Opening Day, (Baez was 0-for-4 with three Ks), Javy came back in Games 2 and 3 to go 2-for-8 with four RBI, a run and two Ks.

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I know I’m into heretical territory here. I can hear the chants of “Let Javy be Javy!” from where I sit. But the fact remains, we need Javy to focus on what each situation demands. Rather than attempting to put every pitch he sees, strike or no, bounced in the dirt, or above his head, onto Waveland, he needs to play a smart game.

Don’t get me wrong, I want him at Wrigley. Re-signing Javier Baez to a long term contract is integral to the long-term success of the Cubs franchise. Baez and Rizzo in the Cubs infield ensures a thrilling Wrigley experience for fans in the seats and those at home.

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I’m not forgetting about you, Kris Bryant, but as a realist I recognize there is only so much money to go around. I’ll try and remain hopeful. Baez has already expressed his desire to stay a Cub – and that’ great. 

But to earn those big bucks, Javier Baez needs to step up, equally big.