Should Yankees jump in on unexpected shortstop free agent target?

javier baez, mets, yankees

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is waiting patiently for the shortstop market to settle, especially with astronomical prices on every player. None of the top options have currently landed with a new team, as the expectation is that they will be a bit cheaper in the coming weeks, especially if deals commence after the December 1 lockout.

The Yankees have had success being patient in the past, and with Corey Seager and Carlos Correa still on the market, they don’t have to rush to find a solution at shortstop anytime soon. However, they could target an unexpected prospect, Javier Baez, who spent the 2021 season with the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.

Baez hit a total of .265 with 31 homers and 87 RBIs this past season, including 18 stolen bases. Having struck out 184 times, good for a 33.6% strikeout rate, he undoubtedly fits the Yankees’ mold and what they prefer in their hitters.

Cashman loves sluggers with potential, and considering Baez has hit double-digit homers in five of his last six seasons, his services may be going under the radar for the Bombers.

With an adequate average and decent contact hitting, Baez shouldn’t be ruled out of a potential deal with a Yankees. The 28-year-old infielder is currently in talks with the Detroit Tigers, but the Mets are also involved, waiting for him to receive a price and an opportunity to match. However, the Yankees’ crosstown rivals just spent over $120 million on Friday, adding several new players.

The Yankees haven’t spent a dollar yet on a high-profile free agent, but Baez offers luxurious offense and solid defending. He featured primarily at second base for the Mets this past season but at shortstop for Chicago, recording a .954 fielding percentage with 18 errors (at SS). His defense is lackluster at short, which could be a deterrent for the Yankees who are moving on from Gleyber Torres for that reason exactly.

Baez seems to be a better fit at second base, but if they still view him as a player with an upward trajectory on defense, he could be a potential suitor in the Bronx. Nonetheless, if Cashman is willing to spend big on an acquisition, he’s better off finding a better defensive player like Correa or Seager, who pair with even better offensive capabilities. Both are looking for different types of deals and reassurances, so the Yankees have to be careful with the player they ultimately select.

The Yankees could turn their attention to this free agent shortstop

javier baez, mets

The New York Yankees desperately want to add a shortstop to their roster for the 2022 season. They will keep Gleyber Torres at second base, where he thrived in the stretch run, and will search the free agent and trade markets for an upgrade in the infield’s most critical position.

Free agency represents the best avenue to bring a top shortstop for the Yankees. Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, and Javier Baez are all free to sign with any team after the World Series ends.

The Yankees have two very good prospects knocking on the door, but Anthony Volpe seems to be at least a year and half away, and Oswald Peraza isn’t a sure bet to be ready for the start of the 2022 season. The team, as a result, has to bring someone.

Seager is said to be the primary target for the Yankees, as he is a lefty-hitting producer with known postseason success and the ability to provide both average and power. He is also the worst defender of the bunch and could move to third in a couple of years should the Yankees deem Peraza or Volpe ready to take over at shortstop.

Could Baez be an option for the Yankees?

But what about Baez? According to Andy Martino of SNY.tv, they were in on the mercurial infielder during the trade deadline.

The Yankees were “one of the most aggressive teams in pursuit of Baez at this year’s trade deadline,” per sources.

The shortstop was traded to the Mets in July and took over as their shortstop while Francisco Lindor recovered from an oblique strain. He moved to second base when he returned, and put an impressive .299/.371/.515 slash line with nine homers in Flushing, making strides with his plate discipline.

Martino reported that Baez “would be inclined to stay” with the Mets if the team makes him a “serious offer early,” but the Yankees “are expected to be a suitor” if Baez and the Mets don’t reach a deal.

Francisco Lindor believes Mets can re-sign Javier Baez this offseason

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The 73-79 New York Mets are essentially out of the playoffs race at this point, which is a shame considering they led the NL East division for much of the first half and actually a sizable portion of the second. That’s not, however, Javier Baez’s fault.

While he wasn’t perhaps the best fit for the Mets, they acquired Baez in a deadline deal with the Chicago Cubs. His tenure in New York didn’t start particularly well, and there was a spat with fans over the constant booing towards players at one point, but there is no denying that the dynamic shortstop has made a positive impact in Queens.

In 39 games and 147 plate appearances, Baez is hitting .307/.383/.555 with a .938 OPS with the Mets. He also has nine homers and five stolen bases over that span, with 19 RBI and 29 runs scored.

The Mets could be able to afford Baez, according to Lindor

Seeing how he can produce in the Big Apple, Mets’ superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, who is friends with Baez, believes that the team can re-sign his fellow countryman in the offseason to a long-term deal.

“I know Javy does fit in, in what we’re trying to accomplish here. He’s a winner, he’s plays the game as hard as he can day in and day out. He gives it his best, and he’s my boy too. That helps. At the end of the day, I know what he’s capable of doing, we’ve all seen it. His approach has been outstanding, and he’s definitely helped us win a couple more games in September for sure,” Lindor told SNY on Wednesday.

Baez has been on a tear since returning from the injured list on August 22, hitting .343 (34-for-99) with 23 runs, seven doubles, seven dingers, 15 RBI, nine walks, a .420 OBP, a .626 SLG and a 1.046 OPS.

Media members asked Lindor if he thought Mets’ owner Steve Cohen could afford pairing the two infielders together for the long term.

“Yeah, yeah, of course, of course,” Lindor said, smiling.

It’s believed that Baez could command between $125 million and $200 million in free agency.

Mets Game Preview (9/21/21) vs. Miami Marlins (86-65)

After receiving a day off, the New York Mets head up to Fenway Park to begin a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox. The Mets playoffs hopes are hanging on by a thread, and their trip to Boston could be what finally puts them and their fans out of their misery.

One-run games have been the theme of the Mets season as 61 of their 150 games have concluded in that fashion. While they dominated them early in the season, they have consistently fallen short has the offense produced less and less. After a slow, injury-plagued start to his Mets career, Javier Baez has been a different hitter since returning from the IL. Baez is slashing .305/.381/.565 with nine home runs and 19 runs batted in. He also has 11 walks in 37 games compared to just 15 in 91 games with the Cubs.

After a slow stretch that knocked them out of first place, the Red Sox have won five straight games. With the division out of reach, the Red Sox has a 1.5 game lead in the first wild card spot and looked primed for a playoff run. Five players with at least 20 home runs have helped lead their offense which has been one of the best in baseball. Nathan Eovaldi has stabilized the starting rotation enough for Chris Sale to return and take the reigns. In six starts, Sale has a 2.40 ERA along with a clean 4-0 record.

Pitching Matchup

Marcus Stroman makes his MLB leading 32nd start of the season and has been a true ironman for a team that has dealt with injuries all season. While he is unlikely to win the Cy Young Award, he certainly deserves some votes thrown his way. Stroman has a 2.88 ERA over 169 innings and is ninth in groundball outs this season. He was as great as ever during his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, where he struck out eight while allowing two runs in six innings pitched.

Eduardo Rodriguez has struggled to find consistency all season, and it shows in his 5.00 ERA. Despite putting up his best strikeout and walk rates of his career, he is allowing just under ten hits per nine innings pitched. Rodriguez has also put together back-to-back six-inning outings just twice all season. He looked much better in his last start against the Seattle Mariners, where he held them to one run in six innings with six strikeouts.

Matchups To Lookout For

Marcus Stroman vs. Xander Bogaerts: 11-for-36 (.306), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 8 Strikeouts

Marcus Stroman vs. Christian Vazquez: 7-for-19 (.368), Double, Walk, 3 Strikeouts

Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Francisco Lindor: 2-for-11 (.182)

The Mets are making a playoffs push, and Javier Baez is a big reason why

javier baez, mets

He may or may not have a future with the New York Mets: after all, he is a low-OBP guy who recently criticized fans for booing the team, resulting in a team statement and a tense atmosphere for a couple of days. But there is no denying that Javier Baez is one of the most exciting players in MLB when he is at his best, and right now, the Mets are benefiting from his torrid streak at the plate.

The past few weeks have been rough for Baez and the Mets, but things appear to be trending in the right direction. The team is playing much better, and earned its seventh victory in its last eight games by defeating the Washington Nationals 13-6 on the road on Sunday.

Baez, of course, went 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs. The Mets are now over .500, 69-68, and will face the Nationals one last time on Monday.

“Sometimes, I struggle a lot,” said Báez, who entered Sunday’s game slashing .215/.262/.468 with five home runs and eight RBI in 22 games (20 starts) as a member of the Mets, to SNY. “And it feels great — it feels great to be hot at the plate right now and, hopefully, I keep it going.”

After a tough stretch that included a stint on the 10-day injured list with back spasms recently, Baez found himself at the center of the storm. He was hitting .171/.216/.343 with two home runs and three RBI through 10 games with New York. However, he came back from his ailment and has performed much better: he has three blasts and five RBI in 12 starts since returning.

The Mets’ infielder is red-hot at the plate

Over his last seven contests, Baez is hitting .360/.407/.800 with eight runs and five RBI.

Mets’ manager Luis Rojas is impressed by his “energy and the quality of the player” he is. “I think, from Day 1, when he showed up into the clubhouse, he can transmit a lot of good things — his good vibes and all the things that he can do out on the field to help a team win. But one of the things that a lot of people have been talking about — and, of course, we’re aware — is his approach at the plate and the chases, right, how much of a free-swinger he is and what we have here for a philosophy, just being aggressive in zone and not expanding too much. And I think that’s what he did today. If he can control the zone like he did today, he’s going to be a better offensive player. He laid off some pitches. He did chase a few times, but he laid off some pitches and he found a pitch in the zone and was able to drive it.

Plate discipline will always be the thing to watch with Baez: he has a 0/8 BB/K ratio over his last seven games despite his success.

The Mets are only 3.5 games behind the division-leading Braves. They need Baez to keep performing.

“We’re trying,” Báez said. “We’re obviously trying. Like I said, I’m trying to bring my mentality here. And we’ll see, we’ll see when the last game comes and if we’re out or we’re in. Together, we’ve just got to go pitch by pitch and game by game and not just worry about first place or second place. It will come if we focus on that.”

Mets Make It Four Consecutive Wins With 3-1 Victory Over Marlins

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The New York Mets have quickly turned those thumbs upside down with a doubleheader sweep of the Miami Marlins. For the first time in a while, they played with a lead and never relinquished it for a 3-1 win and their fourth consecutive victory.

Trevor Williams earned the spot start in the seven-inning game and gave the Mets more than they could have asked. Williams pitched 4.1 innings allowing just one unearned run with four strikeouts. Things got dicey for the Mets in the fifth when Jesus Aguilar‘s RBI double made it a 3-1 game with runners on second and third.

Working Around Danger

Aaron Loup relieved Williams and gave up a walk to load the bases with one out. Like Loup has done all season, he pulled a rabbit out of his hat to get out of the jam unscathed. In the sixth, Seth Lugo danced around danger, striking out two to get out of a first and second, no-out situation. Edwin Diaz continued his dominance with a light, 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal the deal.

The Mets offense saved all their scoring for the third inning against MLB The Show legend Edward Cabrera. Michael Conforto followed up his walk-off hit with a two-run homer which flew into the Coca-Cola Corner. Jeff McNeil drove in the third run with a double, scoring Javier Baez all the way from first base just like he did to win game one.

Throughout all of the drama and the fans B.S. from the last 48 hours, the Mets have a four-game winning streak. If the Atlanta Braves lose, they will be 5.5 games out of first place as the calendar flips to September. It may not be an easy deficit to overcome, but it looks way more doable than where they were last week. Wednesday’s game has already been postponed, and both teams will play a single-admission doubleheader on Thursday.

The Mets are a mess: Players and fans go to silent war over constant booing and poor results

The New York Mets keep making headlines for the wrong reasons. During Sunday’s victory against the Philadelphia Phillies, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, and Kevin Pillar used a thumbs down celebration every time they made a good play.

Most people thought, at first, that it was a joke, like the 2017 Yankees. But after the game, Baez talked to the media and made a baffling revelation: “[It’s] to let [fans] know when we don’t have success we are going to get booed, so they are going to get booed when we have success.”

Even if it’s understandable that players are frustrated by the lack of results and by hearing constant boos from their own fans, it’s certainly surprising that they decided to start a silent war with Mets’ fans. It’s not an ideal situation, especially for Lindor, who will be in New York for at least 10 more years unless he is traded.

The Mets are 8-19 in August and relinquished the first place of the NL East division, one that they held for months, a few weeks ago. They are currently in a very delicate situation, and making the playoffs is a pipe dream at this point.

The Mets released a controversial statement

Mets’ president Sandy Alderson released a statement on Sunday night condemning the thumbs down sign.

Here is his message:

“In a post-game press conference today, Javy Baez stated that his “thumbs down” gesture during the game was a message to fans who recently have booed him and other players for poor performance. These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“Mets fans are understandably frustrated over the team’s recent performance. The players and the organization are equally frustrated, but fans at Citi Field have every right to express their own disappointment. Booing is every fan’s right.

“The Mets will not tolerate any player gesture that is unprofessional in its meaning or is directed in a negative way toward our fans. I will be meeting with our players and staff to convey this message directly.

“Mets fans are loyal, passionate, knowledgeable and more than willing to express themselves. We love them for every one of these qualities.”

Tensions are boiling in New York.

Mets’ Baez injures hip, creating a severe depth problem at shortstop

javier baez, mets

The New York Mets lost Sunday’s game 3-0 against the Philadelphia Phillies, their fourth straight defeat. Not only they dropped the game (and got swept by a direct rival, losing the NL East lead in the process), but they also lost yet another important contributor to injury.

Shortstop Javier Báez, recently acquired at the trade deadline, has to depart the game in the fifth inning with left hip tightness. The injury creates a problem that the Mets didn’t expect to have.

While hitting in the fifth inning, Baez hit a ground ball and instead of running to first, he grimaced and was spinning around, clearly in pain. He went to the dugout to get checked by the team training staff.

The Mets consider Baez day to day because, according to manager Luis Rojas, he responded well to treatment over the course of the game.

“The concern at this point is not as high as what it was when it happened in-game,” Rojas said to MLB.com. “When I saw him not moving out of the box, for me it was concerning. I thought it was an oblique. … He just told me that he felt tightness. It locked up immediately as he was approaching the dugout. … We’re more optimistic now about what it was.”

An important addition for the Mets

Báez is batting .176 with two home runs in nine games since joining the Mets. Several of those hits, however, have come in big spots.

He has been filling in for injured shortstop for Francisco Lindor. Backups Luis Guillorme and Jose Peraza, usually reliable defensive infielders, are currently out with a left hamstring strain and a fractured right middle finger, respectively.

The Mets will probably use Jonathan Villar at shortstop for the time being, and pulled Wilfredo Tovar from his game at Triple-A Syracuse.

If something were to happen to Villar, the Mets would be in trouble. For now, they hope Baez can return soon.

Mets: Javier Baez is already making a huge impact on the bases and at the plate

javier baez, mets

New York Mets’ deadline addition Javier Baez has the ability to be a game-changer in the three aspects a position player can help his team. He has an enticing power-speed combo that has already been on display in his brief time in flushing (even if he is a low-OBP type), he is a gifted fielder, and a very, very good baserunner.

The baserunning and hitting prowess were evident in the Mets’ 5-3 win against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, a much-needed victory to take the team to a 56-51 record, just 1.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.

In the top of the second frame, he raced home from third on a Tomas Nido ground ball, and just when the catcher appeared ready to tag him out, he switched hands and touched the base with the other one, securing an important run for the Mets.

Then, in the eighth inning, he led things off with a tie-breaking homer off right-hander Anthony Bass. It was his second home run with a Mets uniform.

The Mets’ newest addition can win games in many ways

“The slide was early and it was really exciting, but to hit a homer late in the game is the biggest thing for us,” said Báez.

The dynamic infielder said, according to MLB.com, that his glare after the play was intended for the fans above the Marlins’ dugout, and not the team itself. “It was nothing to [the Marlins]. It was to the fans. They were talking trash to me and I was just going back and forth with them.”

That’s just who Baez is: a fierce competitor that feeds from adversity and uses that energy to his own advantage.

“He’s just a special player,” said Mets manager Luis Rojas. “Of course the home run to take the lead was the biggest highlight for me, but the slide at home plate was special. He can beat you in so many ways.”

 

Mets Game Preview (7/31/21) vs. Cincinnati Reds (55-49)

mets, pete alonso

After a disappointing Friday night loss, the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds rematch for a Saturday night matinee from Citi Field. The Mets also have a new member as Javier Baez will be in the lineup and play shortstop for his new team. If the Mets Hall of Fame ceremony does not push the game back, the first pitch will be thrown at 7:10 p.m. ET.

The Mets hope to avoid their first under .500 month this season if they can pick up a victory. No player needs a better ending to their July than Michael Conforto. He batted just .173 with 23 strikeouts and heard the boo-birds after taking the hat-trick in Friday’s loss. If the Mets’ offense ever consistently gets going, they will need his bat to get going. Hopefully, the addition of Baez will inject some life into a team that needs a spark with Francisco Lindor on the IL.

The Reds still feel that they can make a playoff run during the final two months of the season. Joey Votto is looking to make history by homering in his eighth consecutive game, which would make him the eighth person in MLB history to accomplish the feat. He will likely have to do it off a left-handed pitcher, which he has only hit two home runs off of all season.

Pitching Matchup

Rich Hill takes the mound in his second start for the Mets. In his first outing with the Mets, he danced around trouble to pitch five innings and hold the Blue Jays to three runs. Due to the Tampa Bay Rays philosophy, he has only thrown 100 pitches once this season. With the beleaguered Mets pitching staff, they will need Hill to pitch like a conventional starter.

Wade Miley takes the mound for the Reds and has put together a strong 2021 campaign. When he faced the Mets earlier this season, he twirled 6.1 innings, with eight strikeouts, and allowed just two runs. Overall, he has a 2.86 ERA over 18 starts and allowed just eight home runs on the season.

Matchups To Lookout For

Wade Miley vs. Kevin Pillar: 9-for-27 (.333), Double, Home Run, Walk, 6 Strikeouts

Wade Miley vs. James McCann: 5-for-13 (.385), Double, 2 Strikeouts

Rich Hill vs. Joey Votto: 1-for-10 (.100), 3 Walks, 2 Strikeouts