Javier Baez not trade chip Chicago Cubs think he is

Jul 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez (9) his a home run in the eight inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez (9) his a home run in the eight inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs Big Three of impending free agents likely have just a few more days together. The expectation is that at least one, if not all, of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez will be traded by the deadline. Likewise, it is felt that the Cubs should be able to reload their farm system quickly from such moves, allowing the team to rebuild much faster.

There are potential problems with this plan. Bryant has not exactly performed up to expectations this year and is currently battling hamstring woes. Baez, meanwhile, has put together a season that defies explanation.

Chicago Cubs may not get expected return for Javier Baez

On the surface, his numbers seem fine. Baez has posted a 111 OPS+, hitting 21 homers, numbers that most teams would take from a middle infielder. However, he also has just 14 walks and a major league leading 112 strikeouts in his 306 plate appearances, leading to a .234/.282/.496 batting line. His value with the bat has come entirely from his ability to hit home runs.

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Baez also has not exactly lived up to his stellar reputation defensively. He has saved five runs, fourth most in the National League at short, but has also made 15 errors thus far. His highlight reel plays, amazing tags, and El Mago persona have elevated his profile to the point where it is almost impossible to match those expectations.

However, his performance all around just does not match what Cubs’ fans may expect. His versatility and ability to play either middle infield position will make him an intriguing target at the deadline, but those swing and miss issues and disappointing production outside of his power game could limit the return.

There is also the question of whether or not the Cubs would want to trade Baez. He has been vocal about his desire to remain in Chicago, and his struggles could be due to his impending free agency. It is possible that he could receive an extension at some point, although that would need to happen quickly.

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The Chicago Cubs will likely place Javier Baez on the trade block. The question is whether or not they will receive the type of return anyone expects.