Javier Báez came to the New York Mets by way of trade from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline. The Mets got him for #5 prospect (according to MLB.com) Pete Crow-Armstrong.
It’s hard to say how Báez’s start with the Mets has been. Within his first week with the team, he homered twice and was the reason for one of the team’s wins against Miami. Then he got injured with a hamstring issue he’s been dealing with.
Báez’s plate discipline stats this year have not been great. Fans may remember one at-bat from earlier where he took the first pitch straight down the middle and then struck out swinging at four straight balls outside the zone. His weak spot is definitely the inside pitch and opposing pitchers know that.
The fact that Báez hasn’t been able to adapt to this is frustrating, but Báez still has 24 home runs, a figure that is top-ten in the National League. He’s the epitome of a “home run or bust” hitter. The only player in the MLB with a more-extreme batting average to HR total is Joey Gallo, who has a batting average of .210 (Báez’s is .241) and 29 home runs.
For the Mets to retain Báez’s trade value, they need to re-sign him.
For Báez, the Mets gave up their 2020 first-round draft pick, outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong. It was a great trade.
Currently, PCA is out with injury for the rest of the season so his development is currently on pause over in Chicago. Truthfully, the Báez trade should’ve been supported by another splash at the trade deadline.
Even considering that the Mets didn’t do enough while their rivals did, the Javier Báez Experience is exciting. His swim move to score a run earlier this month was fascinating trickery.
Letting several first-round picks go in the last half-decade is the fault of the previous front office, but the current front office has already just let both first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 go, and seems to not care, which isn’t great. Kumar Rocker not signing on was not ideal.
It’s unclear if the Mets will start to re-tool their current lineup. We’ve discussed several possibilities ranging from keeping Báez at second, keeping Davis at third until Brett Baty comes up, and moving Jeff McNeil to the outfield, making Dom Smith or Pete Alonso DH. There are clearly a lot of options for the Mets.
Several pieces could be trade assets to upgrade at other positions.
Keeping Báez at second or moving him to third may be in the Mets’ best interest. His likelihood of re-signing to play with Francisco Lindor is high, which could’ve been the best part about the trade to begin with.
It’s important to recognize pieces the Mets need. Brandon Nimmo and McNeil are solid contact hitters who can go yard 10-20 times per year; the Mets have contact pieces, James McCann is a defensive catcher who has stepped up in a few situations this year; Francisco Lindor has one of the highest WARs on the team; Pete Alonso is a devastating power hitter.
Recognizing who the stars in your lineup are is an important task for the Mets this offseason, regardless if this team wins the division or not. They could use another power bat in the lineup, even one with a high strikeout rate.
It will be a task for the front office, regardless if they win and keep Luis Rojas, or replace him, or decide to upgrade Sandy Anderson to a president and GM role, and keep Zack Scott as Assistant GM. All of these have been discussed. One thing is sure: they should re-sign Javier Báez.
It’s the only way they can keep his trade value. Otherwise, they just parted with PCA for no reason at all.
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Oh, and they need to re-sign Marcus Stroman.