Cubs' Javier Baez Says He's Interested In Playing With Mets' Francisco Lindor

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2021

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 26: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after his walk off single in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field on July 26, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Javier Baez is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season, and if he doesn't sign a lucrative long-term extension with the Chicago Cubs, he apparently has his eyes on the New York Mets. 

"If I go to the free agency, I would like to play with Francisco Lindor," he told Spanish radio station Mega 106.9. "I loved playing with him in the World 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."

Because of Baez's pending free agency—and the Cubs' disappointing 50-52 season that has left them in fourth place in the NL Central—he's been the subject of trade rumors ahead of the MLB trade deadline on July 30. 

Whether he moves remains to be seen. Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports reported Monday that "industry sources expect the Cubs to keep Kyle Hendricks and shortstop Javy Baez through Friday’s lone trade deadline of the season."

They've already moved Joc Pederson and Andrew Chafin. Players like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Craig Kimbrel, among others, could follow. The firesale may be coming, even if it doesn't include Baez. 

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Continue to hear it’s a real buyers market for position players. Lots of stars on market: Bryant, Story, Baez, Rizzo, Turner, Buxton, Marte, Escobar, Gallo, Peralta etc. Hearing of many offers of “B” level prospects for established “A” names. Contenders are focused on pitching.

The 28-year-old would make sense in a pairing up the middle with Lindor in New York. The Mets could then move Jeff McNeil to third base. That infield, along with Pete Alonso at first base, would be excellent, namely the Lindor-Baez pairing. 

And while Lindor is out injured, Baez would be a ready-made replacement until he returns. 

Lindor is a two-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop. Baez won the award in 2020. With them, the Mets would have arguably the best middle infield defense in baseball.

Baez has had a slightly disappointing season at the dish by his own lofty standards, hitting .245 with 22 homers, 61 RBI, 48 runs and a .773 OPS. But for a Mets team in contention, he'd be a very nice upgrade. 

Granted, they could simply wait until free agency to sign him, so giving away prospects in a trade may not be prudent. But pairing Lindor and Baez would make the NL East-leading Mets all the more dangerous and exciting.