Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez has left plenty to be desired in the Big Apple
This week, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen voiced his displeasure over his team’s seeming lack of plate discipline. Now, for any Cubs fans who spent the last five-plus years watching Javier Baez, you know that this is obviously not an area of the game where he excels.
Currently on the IL, Baez has batted just .171/.216/.343 in 10 games with the Mets. Combined between New York and Chicago, he’s struck out in more than 36 percent of his plate appearances this year, leading all of baseball with 145 punchouts, and his walk rate ranks in the bottom two percent of the league.
Defensively, he’s taken a big step in the wrong direction, as well. Baez is tied for the big league lead with 20 errors this year. Of course, he’s still capable of transforming a game in a lot of ways, but this season has done little to solidify his standing in a loaded free agent class of shortstops.
Since the trade, David Ross has largely alternated between Andrew Romine and Sergio Alcantara at shortstop. Of course, we know the team-level results, but let’s look at each guy’s performance in Baez’s stead.
Romine, who made history pitching to his brother, Austin, behind the dish in a recent lopsided loss, had a huge clutch moment against the White Sox – taking former Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel deep late – but, by and large, he’s been a major weak spot on a team loaded with weakness.
In Chicago, Romine has been good for just a 52 OPS+, batting .214/.250/.310. He’s a stopgap measure to get the team through the season and nothing more. Alcantara, meanwhile, has struggled – although not quite as badly – hitting .194/.287/.347. So while Baez is hurt and has struggled, it’s not like the Cubs are doing a whole lot without him at the shortstop position, either.