Chicago Cubs: A Javier Baez reunion isn’t as far-fetched as you think

Javier Baez / Chicago Cubs

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

The Subway Series took center stage this weekend in New York, with former Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez back together on the field – although playing for separate teams. As many will never forget, Rizzo and Baez were traded away at the deadline this season and the two former Cubs linked up for a sentimental hug at first base during Friday’s game.

Since leaving Chicago, Rizzo has batted .255/.328/.455 in the Bronx with six home runs and 17 runs driven in. The Yankees have soared in the standings and enter action Monday just one game back of a wild card spot in the American League. As for the Mets, who were looking to make a postseason push of their own, they’ve faded – and sit three games out of the wild card and five out in the NL East.

As for Baez, he has really heated up in the Mets uniform ever since the booing the fans fiasco. For his line in a Mets uniform, after a slow start, he is now up to batting .299/.359/.589 with eight home runs and 16 RBI. For the season, he has 30 homers and 81 RBI. Regardless of the strikeouts, you wish the Cubs had another player producing at that level.

Obviously, both players are free agents at the end of the season – and neither will be tied to draft pick compensation. If I had to bet, I would say if any of the core three has a chance of returning to the north side next year, it would be Baez. The banter back and forth between Rizzo and the Cubs front office after the trade deadline more than likely spoiled whatever hope there was at a reunion in the offseason.

Kris Bryant is likely to test the market and go with whatever team that will pay him the most as is the deal with the majority of Scott Boras’ clients. He also has openly stated the front office never actually tried to negotiate a contract extension since the beginning of 2017. News like that leads fans to believe that this was the plan to save money all along and if that was the plan, it ultimately came to fruition.

That leaves just Baez, who has stated he would love a return to Chicago and really hasn’t had any type of problem with the front office other than not coming to terms on a contract extension before being traded away to New York. For a while, the growing belief was that Baez may not even be offered an extension by the Mets after everything that took place between his poor play and negative interactions with the fans.

Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez has been scorching hot over the last week-plus

Since all that happened though, Baez has been red hot for the Mets. Going 14-for-27 in his last seven games, El Mago has played to his potential. Right now, New York is enjoying  2018-2019 Baez, the form of him that earned him two All-Star nods and a runner-up finish in MVP voting. Simply put, he is now playing to the level that would probably earn him that $200 million contract that he was seeking with the Cubs before being denied and sent away.

Should Baez finish strong and prove that he can perform at the level that front office expected him to, what would a return to Wrigley Field look like? For one, with Nick Madrigal and Nico Hoerner in the fold, both shortstop and second base are set to be manned.

However, should the NL implement the universal DH once a new CBA is reached between the MLB and the Players Association, it could make sense for Chicago to bring back a fan favorite while also bringing in a solid depth piece that could be utilized to rotate who plays defense  and who has a day off in the field and DHs to keep guys fresh and hopefully cut down on injuries as both Hoerner and Madrigal have been bit by the injury bug recently.

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If Baez plays to his potential, he can be essential to the Cubs. His type of play and clutch moments over the years has electrified the crowd as much and as one else is recent memory. All Baez has to do is somewhat limit the strikeouts. When he is focused and at the top of his game, he is one of the best players in baseball. If the front office is looking to make a splash and Baez can keep it going, he may wind up being a good fit again next season.