Chicago Cubsâ€™ shortstop Javier Baez is a free agent at the end of the season, so there is a non-zero chance he gets traded before Fridayâ€™s deadline if the Cubs want to get something in return rather than losing him for nothing. But it appears he is eager to test the market, and he would definitely consider playing for the New York Mets according to his recent comments.
“If I go to the free agency, I would like to play with Francisco Lindor,” Baez said during an interview with Mega 106.9 FM (link to SNY article here). “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 is a fantastic defensive shortstop who has already won a Gold Glove last year. He was also worth 31 DRS (defensive runs saved) at the position in 2019. He could have a strong market at short, so the fact that he would sacrifice his preferred spot on the diamond to play with his friend is noteworthy. The Mets have some infield depth, but are surely taking notice of his comments.
What will the Mets do at the deadline?
The Mets remain focused on bringing an additional arm to their roster before Fridayâ€™s deadline, but they are also reportedly interested in Kris Bryant. Could they take the discount and pay a little more to get Baez too? It seems unlikely, as they havenâ€™t been connected to Baez, but anything can happen.
Whether he is acquired by the Mets via trade or signed as a free agent after the season (a much more likely scenario), having a double play combo of Lindor and Baez would be really something, as both men are elite with the glove.
The Mets would have to find new positions for Jeff McNeil and/or JD Davis, plus they have several infield prospects, most notably Ronny Mauricio, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos, knocking on the door.
Baez is batting .245/.289/.483 with 22 homers in 90 games for the Cubs this campaign.