Javier Baez Would 'Love' to Sign Contract with Cubs as Free Agent After Trade to Mets

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 30, 2021

Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez celebrates after hitting a walk-off single in the ninth inning to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 in a baseball game Monday, July 26, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

The Chicago Cubs traded star shortstop Javier Baez and pitcher Trevor Williams to the New York Mets on Friday for vaunted outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong, part of an enormous fire sale in which Chicago also dealt Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Craig Kimbrel.

But Baez, at least, hasn't ruled out returning to Chicago this offseason as a free agent.

"To be honest, I would love to, but I don't know what will happen this offseason with all these moves and the plan that this organization has," Baez told reporters. "Obviously, I'm grateful for everything they've done for me."

Baez, 28, is hitting .248 this season with 22 home runs, 65 RBI, 48 runs, 13 stolen bases and a .775 OPS. He'll fill in at shortstop for the Mets while Francisco Lindor is on the injured list with a strained right oblique, though he'll bump over to second or third base once Lindor is healthy.

Baez said earlier this week he would be more than happy to switch positions if it meant reuniting with Lindor, whom he played with for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in 2017.

"If I go to the free agency, I would like to play with Francisco Lindor," he told 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."

ESPN @espn

Lindor and Baez's friendship ❤️<br><br>Reunited in New York. <a href="https://t.co/N6nwaLJJan">pic.twitter.com/N6nwaLJJan</a>

As for a reunion, the Cubs had the option to sign Baez to a long-term extension while he was still with Chicago and didn't get a deal done. That makes it hard to imagine the two sides coming to an agreement in free agency, though anything is possible.

"I want to personally thank Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez and Kris Bryant," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement Friday. "Together they played critical roles for one of the most successful runs in Chicago Cubs history. They each secured a place in the hearts of Cubs fans everywhere. While their days taking the field together as Cubs have come to an end, they gave us memories we will hold forever."

Russell Dorsey @Russ_Dorsey1

I asked Javy Báez what message he wanted to give <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cubs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cubs</a> fans. Here’s what he said. Grab your tissue, folks. <a href="https://t.co/nEApfYv2vl">pic.twitter.com/nEApfYv2vl</a>

Baez left open the possibility that his days as a Cubbie aren't over. But a return to Chicago this winter feels like a long shot.