Former Chicago Cubs’ shortstop Javier Baez got his wish. This week, the stellar infielder said he would like to play with fellow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor, and he would be the only player for whom he would move off his preferred position to play second base. Now, the New York Mets are granting his wish and made him a member of the team before the deadline struck.
The Mets are sending center field prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong, taken in the 2020 MLB Draft, to the Cubs in exchange for Baez’s expiring deal and pitcher Trevor Williams, someone that they had pursued before.
The cost for bringing Baez was steep, given that Crow-Armstrong projects as a speedy, high-contact center with a plus glove, but the Mets wanted to make a splash at the deadline, and they brought a flawed but talented infielder that can certainly help.
“If I go to the free agency, I would like to play with Francisco Lindor. I loved playing with him in the World (Baseball) Classic. It is the only option I would take to play second base if it is to play with him, otherwise I stay playing at shortstop,” Baez had stated earlier in the week.
The Mets get some infield and pitching depth
The Mets needed some pitching depth, and Williams will provide it. But Baez is the biggest get in the deal.
While the Mets’ biggest star, Lindor, recovers from an oblique strain suffered recently, Baez will slot as the everyday shortstop. When he is ready to return, Baez will slide over to second base, which will likely result in Jeff McNeil moving to third base.
Baez is a career .262/.302/.474 hitter, capable of hitting lots of home runs for the Mets in the stretch run and also steal some bases. However, he leads the majors with 131 strikeouts and has slashed .248/.292/.484 so far in 2021. He does have 22 dingers, though, and plays excellent defense at shortstop.
Williams, meanwhile, is insurance. He has a career 4.49 ERA.