Javier Baez Hoping To Play Next To Mets' Francisco Lindor

Chicago Cubs pending free-agent Javier Baez is hoping to play next to Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. But find out why Baez could potentially be an ideal pickup for the Mets at the trade deadline, before he hits the free-agent market.
Publish date:

With the MLB trade deadline just two days away, the Mets haven't done much besides acquire 41-year-old left-hander Rich Hill up until this point.

While the Amazins' have been linked to Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, they could also potentially go after Bryant's teammate to fill a short-term need instead. 

The Mets would instantly have one of the best and flashiest defensive infields in all of baseball if they traded for Javier Baez. And Baez, who is set to become a free-agent following the season, could be in play before the deadline.

Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor is still about 3-5 weeks away from returning from a Grade 2 right oblique strain. And Mets general manager Zack Scott has spoke about potentially acquiring an offensive player with versatility, which Baez fits the bill for.

With Lindor out, Baez would fill in as the Mets' everyday shortstop over Jonathan Villar and Luis Guillorme. And upon Lindor's return, Baez could slide over to play second or third base. 

Ironically, Baez, a natural shortstop, addressed his upcoming free agency, and said he would only be willing to play a different position in order to play with one star shortstop and former World Baseball Classic teammate.

"If I go to free agency, I would like to play with Francisco Lindor," said Baez in a recent interview. "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.”

Although Baez would fill a short-term need at shortstop, and could potentially uplift the Mets' offense, which has improved recently, the 28-year-old strikes out a ton with 130 on the season.

He also does not walk very much, with only 15 in 331 at-bats. This has led to an underwhelming .289 on-base percentage. For the latter reasons listed, the Mets would be foolish to sign Baez in free agency, despite his desires to play with Lindor. 

However, depending on the price tag, they should at least consider trading for him as a rental, if they can't land Bryant. The Cubs have also reportedly shown interest in extending Baez, but they can still re-sign him in the offseason and get something in return if they trade him this week.

Baez is slashing .245/.289/.483 with a .773 OPS, to go along with 22 homers with 65 RBIs. He is a free and aggressive swinger, but is a dangerous and often times impact bat, regardless of his weaknesses in the strikeout and on-base department.

GM Zack Scott said he was going to weigh whether acquiring a specific bat would be an upgrade over what the Mets currently have. And once Lindor returns, J.D. Davis would likely be the odd man out at third base if they were to get Baez.

Davis can also stroke it, and is slashing .342/.435/.575 with a 1.011 OPS. But he struggles defensively, and has only recorded 73 at-bats this year due to several hand injuries. 

He is already splitting time with Villar and Guillorme, and will continue to do so when Lindor returns anyway. By acquiring Baez, it will be taking away at-bats from this trio, but will also make their bench that much deeper, and in turn, plug a proven and impact hitter into their lineup. 

While Baez isn't the best option out there, he is truly an intriguing one and has the potential to help make the Mets stronger on both offense and defense.

The Mets' infield would consist of Pete Alonso at first base, Jeff McNeil at second, Lindor at short once he returns and Baez at third, which is hard not to like.