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The Chicago Cubs really need infielder Javier Baez to start playing better.
The Cubs have the worst record in the NL Central through 16 games at 7-9. Baez is in a contract year and slashing .200/.250/.433 at the plate. He has the most strikeouts in baseball with 31 in 64 plate appearances.
Though he has four home runs and five stolen bases on the year, his struggles could be attributed to him failing to sign a contract extension prior to the 2020 season. Now, his contract talks are weighing on him and the Cubs are in a difficult place with his trade value plummeting.
Should the Cubs still try to re-sign Javy Baez or trade him with his value so low?
The Cubs have all three All-Star infielders from their 2016 World Series championship team hitting free agency in Baez, third baseman Kris Bryant and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Since the Cubs are heading toward an inevitable rebuild, it is hard to see them bringing back more than one of their former franchise cornerstones on a new deal. Rizzo is the likeliest to stay even though the two sides are far apart on contract talks that have been tabled.
Bryant feels as good as gone and he is largely expected to be dealt by the trade deadline. Assuming the Cubs don’t turn it around soon, Baez could be traded as well. The problem is he is a middle infielder in what will be a deep free-agency class at shortstop. Baez feels like a depreciating asset, one the Cubs are running out of time to capitalize on.
The Cubs are hoping Baez’s bat wakes up or it could be a long, painful summer on the North Side.