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

mets, tijuana walker

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

Mets add shortstop Javier Baez and pitcher Trevor Williams near the deadline

javier baez, mets

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.

Mets: Javier Baez ‘would like to play with Francisco Lindor’

Chicago Cubs’ shortstop Javier Baez is a free agent at the end of the season, so there is a non-zero chance he gets traded before Friday’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 Friday’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 haven’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.

Could the New York Yankees and Cubs make a big deal this offseason?

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

Many in baseball have been anxious about this unique offseason. There are so many things up in the air and the New York Yankees have been quiet so far which has fans guessing on what the bombers are doing at the moment.

From all indications, the Yankees are focused on resigning DJ LeMahieu. I was tipped off recently that the two sides were progressing towards a reunion, however, it’s still fluid with plenty of other bidders in the race.

The Yankees view DJ LeMahieu as the key to their offseason. If they resign LeMahieu, they have a general idea on where they want to go. You also have to imagine that they have a backup plan if they can’t bring him back.

There have been a lot of rumors out there regarding the Yankees and their interest on the trade market. One of the names that has been thrown around is the Indians’ All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor. 

There has been talked that the team has kicked the tires on a few other fronts. However, there’s one team that I’m thinking of that hasn’t been mentioned a ton with the Yankees as of yet. That team is the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs looking to sell?

The Cubs are going through a transition at the moment. Theo Epstein just stepped down and Jed Hoyer has taken over the team. There has also been talk that the Cubs are going to look to potentially be sellers this offseason.

They have a number of pieces to potentially trade including: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Wilson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber. At this point, Bryant and Schwarber seem to be the most likely to move, although all could be on the table.

The Yankees and the Cubs have history when it comes to big deals. The Yankees traded away Aroldis Chapman a few years ago to the Cubs which netted them Gleyber Torres. One of the better moves Cashman has made during his time as GM in my opinion.

Who could the Yankees target?

If the Yankees are interested, who should they call about? To me, the two most obvious choices would be Kyle Hendricks and Wilson Contreras. Hendricks is one of the more reliable starters in the NL while Contreras is one of the best catchers in baseball.

Both of those spots are obvious areas of weakness for the Yankees currently. We’ve seen and heard about the Yankees current dilemma with Gary Sanchez. They are still trying to decide what to do with him at the moment.

Another option could be Javier Baez. The former NL MVP runner-up is scheduled to become a free agent after next season just like Lindor. If the Yankees don’t land LeMahieu, perhaps they could work out a deal for Baez as their SS for the future.

There are a lot of possibilities and again, a lot will be driven by what happens with DJ LeMahieu. There’s no real smoke between the clubs right now, but don’t be shocked if you hear about the Yankees and Cubs chatting at some point this offseason.

Argument against the New York Yankees acquiring Francisco Lindor

New York yankees, Francisco Lindor

The New York Yankees have one of the best players in baseball at the top of their offseason wishlist. All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor, is on the trading block with the Cleveland Indians wanting to trim payroll before next season.

Lindor is one of the superstars of baseball. He’s incredible defensively, he’s a switch hitter who hits for average and power from both sides. On top of that, he’s got one of the most glowing personalities in all of baseball.

If you were going to build your team around anyone, Lindor would be a great option. Thus you can see the reason why the Yankees are so interested in Lindor. The Yankees are facing an interesting decision with their MVP contending second baseman, DJ LeMahieu.

The bombers would love to have LeMahieu back, but the fact that he’s in his early 30s give the Yankees pause on extending him long-term. Talk is that his agent is seeking a five year deal while the Yankees are wanting to stay in the three to four year range.

To complicate matters more, the bombers have a decision to make on Gleyber Torres. Torres is one of the young stars for the Yankees, however, last year proved that he might not be cut out to play shortstop at the major league level.

Torres looks much more comfortable at second base which is why the Yankees are kicking the tires on shortstops. I really would love for them to acquire Francisco Lindor, however, they should not overextend themselves to do it.

Argument against the Yankees making the deal

Everything I said above about Francisco Lindor is absolutely true. He’s a stud and if the Yankees acquired him and extended him long-term, I would be through the roof. However, they should tread very carefully here.

For one, Lindor is not a need at the moment. The bombers could easily bring back DJ LeMahieu and continue to work on Torres’ defense at shortstop. Maybe he can turn things around with time and more reps at the position.

This option would cost the Yankees nothing in terms of prospect capital. However, there is another big reason why the bombers should avoid going all out for Lindor in a trade this offseason.

That reason is that the market is flooded next year with All-Star shortstops. The list of shortstops available include: Lindor, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager.

Anyone of those would be welcomed additions to the Bronx. I know the Yankees are in a win-now mode, however, that market next year is also reason for them to pause on giving LeMahieu his long-term deal.

The Yankees are looking to trim payroll this year. Cashman and the front office could take the position of looking to sign someone at shortstop like Andrelton Simmons or Didi Gregorious for one year to gap to the free agent class of next year where they have their pick of All-Stars.

Going this way would also not cost the Yankees anything but money. MLB Network was suggesting the Yankees trade Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, and two top pitching prospects to acquire Lindor.

I love Franky Smiles, but with the market of 2022 and LeMahieu out there, I wouldn’t do that deal. Cashman definitely should be in on the talks for Lindor, but if the tag is too steep, it’s perfectly fine to walk away from the table.