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NY Mets Free Agent Face-Off: Javier Baez versus Kris Bryant

May 27, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Kris Bryant (17) is greeted crossing home late on a solo home run by shortstop Javier Baez (9) against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 27, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Kris Bryant (17) is greeted crossing home late on a solo home run by shortstop Javier Baez (9) against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Sep 26, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; New York Mets shortstop Javier Baez (23) reacts after hitting a double to drive in 2 runs in the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Mets sign Javier Baez over Kris Bryant?

It’s easy to imagine what a Mets squad with Baez on it would look like. He’d play second base for the team and substitute at shortstop if/when needed. The Mets could potentially have the best duo up the middle with him paired alongside Francisco Lindor.

Baez gives the Mets a boost on offense few middle infielders can. Add his age into the equation and the relationship is one we could see for many more years.

There’s no super argument against signing Baez. He might strike out a lot, but who doesn’t these days? If 30 home runs from your Gold Glove second baseman comes with 200 strikeouts, it’s not such a bad thing. Baez can provide the team with some extra excitement, smart base running, and other intangibles.

Truly, the greatest knock against him, might be how the rest of the team feels about his presence on the roster. Baez isn’t shy about showboating. Whether it’s to the opponent or directed at the fans, Baez is an arrogant athlete. For this reason, some fans aren’t willing to accept his return to Flushing.

And I understand that completely. It’s hard to root for a guy who doesn’t like you. Ignoring the nonsense explanation the Mets ultimately came out with to explain away his thumbs-downing of the fans, it’s clear he is a guy who might have a tough time developing a good relationship with fans in New York. This doesn’t make him a bad person. It might just mean he is best-suited in a city with lesser expectations.

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