Javier Baez Rumors: Red Sox Among 'Many' Teams Interested in Mets Free Agent

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 16, 2021

New York Mets' Javier Baez during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The Boston Red Sox are among the "many" suitors for free-agent infielder Javier Baez, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.

Between his time with the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets, Baez had 31 home runs, 87 RBI and a .265/.319/.494 slash line in 2021.

Shortstop (486 games) has been the 28-year-old's most frequent position in MLB, per Baseball Reference. But he has logged 320 games at second base and spent the majority of his time with New York there because of Francisco Lindor's presence.

Xander Bogaerts isn't going anywhere for now—he has an opt-out after this season—so he'll be Boston's everyday shortstop in 2022. The Red Sox are presumably looking at Baez to replace Christian Arroyo at second base, and he could serve as cover if Bogaerts bolts next winter.

Beyond what he'd bring on the field, his arrival would signal a slight shift in ownership's recent attitude toward the payroll.

Per Cot's Baseball Contracts, Boston had the highest Opening Day payroll in 2019 ($236.2 million). Then came the belt-tightening best symbolized by Mookie Betts' trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers. When the 2021 campaign opened, the Sox had the eighth-highest payroll ($180.1 million).

Watching Eduardo Rodriguez sign with the Detroit Tigers wasn't a great way for the Red Sox to kick off the offseason. According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the southpaw will get $77 million over five years, which wasn't a significantly higher sum than one would've expected.

That arguably raises questions over Boston's continued interest in Baez if a bidding war begins and his price tag begins climbing toward or north of $100 million.