The Mets have been linked to Kris Bryant since this past offseason, but what about Bryant’s Cubs teammate Javier Baez?
The infielder will be a free agent next season, and with the Cubs looking like sellers, Baez could be on the move before Friday’s trade deadline. There haven’t been any reports linking Baez to New York, but Baez expressed his desire to play alongside Mets star shortstop Francisco Lindor.
“If I go to the free agency, I would like to play with Francisco Lindor,” Baez said during an interview with Mega 106.9 FM on Monday. “I loved playing with him in the World [Baseball] Classic. It is the only option I would take to play second base if it is to play with him, otherwise I stay playing at shortstop.”
Baez has played all 87 games this year at shortstop, where he played the vast majority of his games in 2020 as well, though he was tried in the outfield twice that season. He played 104 games at second base back in 2018, and seemed to make it clear that he would be willing to move there permanently if it meant being Lindor’s double play partner.
Baez is a strong defender at shortstop, winning the Gold Glove in 2020 and was even better statistically in 2019. But he has made 17 errors at the position this season, while also leading the league in strikeouts with 130 through 90 games. The 28-year-old holds a .773 OPS with 22 home runs, but isn’t far removed from his back-to-back All-Star selections in 2018 and 2019.
The Mets will be prioritizing starting pitching at the deadline but have said they will explore any potential upgrades. Knowing Baez would be open to a position change if it meant playing next to Lindor, perhaps that knowledge would motivate New York to try and swing a deal if it meant Baez would commit for the long term.