Javier Baez has become a household name in baseball and has become one of the most polarizing players in the game. He has a diehard fanbase in Chicago with Cubs fans loving his power bat and dazzling glove. On the other hand, Baez has rubbed other fans the wrong way with his flashy style of play.
Looking ahead at the upcoming offseason, the Cubs are expected to undergo quite a few big changes.
Theo Epstein has made it clear that he is open to moving some of his big-league talent. He knows that in order to acquire big-time players, he will have to trade some of his young sluggers. That could mean that players like Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, and Jason Heyward come into play in trade discussions.
While Baez is certainly an intriguing trade chip, the Cubs should not consider trading him.
Why should Javier Baez be “untouchable” this offseason?
Quite simply, he is too important to both sides of the diamond for the Cubs. He has one of the best gloves in baseball and has made key plays defensively over the past two seasons in particular. Baez has one of the quickest tags in the game, which has paired nicely on stolen base attempts with Willson Contreras having one of the strongest arms behind the plate in the league.
There are some concerns about Baez’s free-swinging mentality. He struck out 144 times last season and did so in embarrassing fashion quite often by swinging at pitches in the dirt. Baez has a scouting report out on him that seems to work more often than not, although mistakes by opposing pitchers are deadly.
While he may strike out too much, Baez is still a huge part of the Cubs’ offensive success. He hit 23 home runs last season for the Cubs while driving in 75 RBI’s. Baez also finished the season with a .273 batting average.
Chicago has embraced Baez and he has become a fan-favorite quickly. He brings the type of energy and enthusiasm to a game that every team needs to have from one of their key players.
What will the Cubs lose if they do trade Baez?
If the Cubs do decide to trade Baez, they will be losing a budding star on both sides of the diamond and the heart of their excitement. Bryant and Rizzo are the two franchise cornerstones, but Baez is the “hype man.”
Epstein has quite a few tough decisions to make this offseason. Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis are both hitting free agency, and it has become obvious that the Cubs need more pitching help even with those two guys on the roster. Trading Baez may seem like an easy way to bring in the help that they need, but they should avoid making that move.
Baez may be able to net the Cubs a top rotation arm, but losing his production at the plate and defensively would be a massive blow. At just 24 years of age, it is too early for the Cubs to trade Baez. There are very few players in baseball that have more potential and talent than Baez possesses.
All of that being said, it will be interesting to see what the Cubs do this offseason. Baez is likely to be rumored in trade talks early and often this offseason. Hopefully, the Cubs do not make a big mistake by moving him.
Do you think the Chicago Cubs should make Javier Baez untouchable? Who do you think is the player most likely to be traded by the Cubs? Let us know your thoughts!
[Featured Image by Jim Young/AP Images]