‘El Mago’ could be magical in Flushing
The relationship between Francisco Lindor and Javy Baez has been long documented since they both came into the league; could they both take the field together in 2021?
Baez has been known for his wizardry in the field and on the base paths, and if the Mets were bold enough, he could he bring that magic to Citi Field this season. New York has already expressed an apprehension in trading for rentals, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Before Lindor hit the IL, Baez wasn’t even a consideration for the Mets, but now, as Buster Olney reports, the slick infielder could make sense at the deadline.
For the Mets, positional versatility has been a sought after commodity and Baez possesses just that. While he’s spent a majority of his time in the majors at shortstop, he’s also seen time at third base as well as second base and provided above average defense at both. Whenever Lindor returns, Baez could slot over to one of those positions, while also strengthening the Mets’ defense. A perennial gold glover alongside Lindor, who has provided a massive defensive upgrade at shortstop in his own right, would be a welcomed addition to the current starting rotation.
Offensively, Baez has both plenty of upside but lots of downside as well. From 2017-2019, Baez averaged 22 homers while also averaging an .841 OPS. While demonstrating above average power, the strikeouts have been a major issue for Javy. So far this season, Baez is whiffing at a 37% clip, which doesn’t translate to much production at the plate and with a front office a new dedication to analytics, there’s much to be desired at the plate at his current pace.
That being said, if Lindor does expect to be out for an extended period of time, the Mets would greatly benefit from another plus defender filling the role of shortstop until he returns. While Luis Guillorme is a certainly a viable option defensively, Baez provides more pop and could be slotted into the lineup in a position where he’s able to drive in more runs.