The Tampa Bay Rays are usually sellers during the offseason with prospects everyone wants. This year isn’t that different, but they would still like to get something back, and have shown a lot of interest in Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs.
Whether this has something to do with the Cubs and others around the league being very interested in Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger is unknown. But the Cubs and Rays have been in discussions regarding the 23 year old infielder, who can play second base, third base and shortstop.
Baez made his debut for the Cubs in 2013 and has played 80 games in the two seasons. He did well in his short time on the field last year (only 28 games with 80 plate appearances), hitting .289 including one home run and four RBIs. He got to play a few times in the postseason as well, not doing anything in the NLCS against the Mets but hitting 4-for-5 against the Cardinals, including showing off his power again (one home run) and his speed (one stolen base).
The Cubs would like to improve their pitching and especially the bullpen, maybe their Achilles heel in the series against the Mets, so it’s worth thinking Baez isn’t going to Tampa for nothing. His fielding isn’t an issue, and he’s been especially good when playing the shortstop, although in such a short number of games, it’s hard to say.
After hoarding in prospects and especially hitters, the Cubs are now making moves towards solidifying their position as contenders. They’re in possibly the toughest division in baseball, with the Cardinals and Pirates to contend with. Making the playoffs after such a long time shouldn’t be their goal, just a step towards something greater. Maybe Baez has a nice future ahead of him, but hitting isn’t what the Cubs need, and if they can get a good pitcher or two through him, it’s worth taking a shot.