Another star infield option?
If the Blue Jays are serious about potentially trading for Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor, I’m willing to bet they’ve also discussed the idea of offering on Javier Baez.
I’m really not sure if the Cubs would make him available or not, especially because they’ve talked about extending him before. However, I don’t know that trading someone like Darvish was in the plans until recently either, so things could have changed with Baez as well.
Like Bryant, Baez had a down year in 2020, but would also represent a prime bounce-back candidate at the age of 28. He’s still smack dab in the middle of his prime, and I expect that he’ll return to an All-Star level in 2021. He’s a 2x All-Star and finished 2nd in NL MVP voting in 2018, and you could argue that he’s a legitimate five-tool threat, especially with his cannon for an arm at shortstop.
The downside is the same as the Lindor situation, as Baez is only under contract for one more year before he’ll hit free agency. Spotrac.com has him down for a bargain of 11 million next season, and I fully expect that he’ll more than earn his keep. I also don’t love that he has a career on-base percentage of .304, but he’s still proven to be an offensive threat.
Would that work in Toronto? Baez does have plenty of experience playing at both second and third base, but it’s hard to imagine the Blue Jays trading for him and not installing him at his preferred position. I have mixed feelings about the idea of displacing Bichette from shortstop, and previously felt that it was only a good idea if the Blue Jays were acquiring Lindor, or maybe Trevor Story. However, if Baez hits the trade market, he might be a third name to add to that list.