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NY Mets: What can we expect from Javier Baez’s return from injury

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 06: Javier Baez #23 of the New York Mets in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on August 6, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Mets 4-2. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 06: Javier Baez #23 of the New York Mets in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on August 6, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Mets 4-2. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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It’s no secret that since the New York Mets acquisition of former Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, it has not gone exactly as planned. While Baez has provided some fresh energy as well as contributed heavily in two Mets wins, he is now on the injured list with back spasms and he has only played in ten games since being traded over to Queens. In that time span, he also is only hitting .171, which has been extremely underwhelming considering he was red-hot at the plate coming over to New York and he had been one of the Cubs’ best offensive threats all season.

Moving forward it’s fair to wonder what should Mets fans expect when Baez returns back to the diamond. With Francisco Lindor seemingly inching closer to a return from his strained oblique injury, Baez may be shifting over to second base once he is cleared for action. However, this is the exact scenario that all Mets fans have been dreaming of, based on the potential magnificent defensive plays we are expecting to see from these two up the middle.

Baez has also had great success against left-handed pitching this season (.271/.340./.565) which will certainly help the Mets down the stretch. The team as a whole is hitting .228 against left-handed starting pitching this season, and the Mets could use as much offensive firepower as they can get down the stretch in what has largely been an underwhelming offensive season for the organization.

Javier Baez has left Mets fans wanting more offensively after his slow start since coming over in a trade from the North Side of Chicago.

The 28-year old shortstop also seems to feel more comfortable in the cleanup spot, as in his 131 plate appearances out of the four-hole this season Baez carries a .294 batting average, which is an area Manager Luis Rojas should look to slide him into when he returns from injury to play to his strengths. For comparison’s sake, all batters hitting out of the cleanup spot for the Mets this season have hit .209, which is the lowest batting average out of all spots in the Mets lineup outside of the nine-hole.

Baez is an impending free agent this offseason, and he will be looking to put on a show over the final month of the season in hopes of landing a big contract this offseason, as well as win his way into Mets fans’ hearts. While the Mets will seemingly be interested in keeping Baez around long-term, after giving up last year’s first-round pick in Pete Crow-Armstrong, it will be imperative for Baez’s performance to match his statistics in Chicago from earlier this season.

Next. Paul Sewald is another former Mets player finding success elsewhere

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If the front office gets the version of Javy Baez that they thought they were receiving at the Trade Deadline this past July, then it’s fair to predict that Baez will play a large role in a playoff push over the final weeks of the regular season, and he could find himself with a permanent home in Queens this upcoming offseason.

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