Mets' Updated Lineup After Blockbuster Javier Baez Trade at 2021 MLB DeadlineJuly 30, 2021
The New York Mets got a big boost to their offense Friday with the reported trade for Javier Baez from the Chicago Cubs, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.
The shortstop can be an immediate replacement in the lineup for Francisco Lindor, who is reportedly out until mid-to-late August with a strained oblique, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. When Lindor returns to shortstop, Baez can move to second base where he played earlier in his career to form an exciting double-play tandem with his friend and former World Baseball Classic teammate.
It creates an exciting lineup with a lot of flexibility heading into the stretch run. Here is how the Mets will line up following the latest trade.
1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
2. Pete Alonso, 1B
3. Dominic Smith, LF
4. Javier Baez, SS
5. Jeff McNeil, 2B
6. J.D. Davis, 3B
7. Michael Conforto, RF
8. James McCann, C
Consistency has been a problem for Baez, who is hitting just .248 while leading the league with 131 strikeouts. He still has 22 home runs on the season, which would rank second on the Mets behind only Pete Alonso (23).
New York needs to get power into the middle of the lineup, which also helps creates more depth toward the bottom of the order. With plenty of balance from each side of the plate, there aren't a lot of holes in this offense.
This deal also gives the Mets a lot of options when fully healthy.
Baez has exclusively played shortstop this season but has spent time at second base and third base as recently as 2018 when he was an MVP candidate for the Cubs. Jeff McNeil can play second base, third base or left field. J.D. Davis has spent time at third base and the outfield. Jonathan Villar has played all over the infield this season.
Not everyone will get a chance to start every day, but manager Luis Rojas will have plenty of options depending on who is playing well at the moment.
An infield of Alonso, Baez, Lindor and McNeil would especially be exciting considering each have at least one All-Star selection, while McNeil could also split time with Davis at third base.
It will still be a challenge for the Mets to match up with the other top teams in the National League, including the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, but the aggressiveness should put the team on track to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.