At the trade deadline, the New York Mets traded top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Javier Baez and Trevor Williams. While the Mets faltered down the stretch this season, it is certainly not because of this trade. Williams pitched to a 3.06 ERA in ten appearances (three starts).
Baez was the real story. He slashed .299/.371/.515 with nine home runs and 22 RBI as a Met. Even with all of the controversy, Baez played with a lot of heart and showed Mets fans how good he can be.
Baez tearing it up reminded me a lot of what Yoenis Cespedes did when the Mets acquired him back in 2015. While they didn’t go on a fairytale run this time, Baez did his best to try and make that happen.
Baez was acquired knowing that he might only be a rental for the Mets in 2021
This makes it pretty frustrating that the Mets didn’t make the playoffs as the trade will be viewed as a waste if the Mets let Baez walk.
Baez played extremely well as a Met and I would welcome him back with open arms if he elects to remain a Met. I’m sure the Mets will make a competitive offer for him. However, Baez is not a perfect player.
His knock has been a lack of plate discipline. Baez drew just 15 walks in his 361 plate appearances as a Cub this season while striking out 131 times. As a Met, it appeared things changed. He drew 13 walks in 186 plate appearances as a Met while striking out 53 times.
His walk rate went up from 4.2% as a Cub to 7% as a Met, while his strikeout percentage went down from 36.3% as a Cub to 28.5% as a Met.
Were these adjustments a sign of things to come? Or were they made just because he was in a contract year and he realized he’d get more money if he took more pitches and drew walks. It’s hard to tell.
I believe signing Baez would be a good thing but there are many options if the Mets believe the price tag is too high or he does not want to play here.