The Minnesota Twins Need to Explore a Javier Báez Trade
Image courtesy of © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY SportsAfter trading away Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres, the Chicago Cubs signaled to the baseball world that they were open for business and ready to begin a rebuild, especially after team president Theo Epstein stepped down earlier this year. Players such as Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are now likely on the table, as well as all-star shortstop, Javier Báez.
Much has been made this offseason about the Minnesota Twins pursuing a shortstop and reports have confirmed that this is a direction that the Twins are, indeed, exploring. Names such as Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons and Trevor Story have been discussed, but Javier Báez now instantly becomes the most intriguing name of the bunch.
Over the past half-decade, Javy Báez has been one of the best shortstops in baseball. From 2016-2019, Báez posted a .822 OPS, earned two all-star bids, and finished second in MVP voting in 2018 after posting a .290/.326/.554 slashline from the shortstop position. Báez has flashed serious power at the plate and absolutely mashes left handed pitchers. 2020 was admittedly a tough season at the plate for Báez (.203 AVG in 59 games), however his overall body of work points to this 60-game sample size being an outlier rather than a trend for the Chicago Cub.
When Báez isn’t mashing at the plate, he has shown himself to be a whizz in the field, leading the league in outs above average in 2019 before taking home the Gold Glove trophy in 2020. Baez has the range, arm, and flashy tagging ability to turn the hole between second and third base from a liability to a strength for the Minnesota Twins in 2021.
Javier Báez will be playing in his final season of arbitration in 2021 before becoming a free agent in 2022. The “expiring” contract would allow the Twins to acquire a bridge shortstop while Royce Lewis prepares to take the shortstop baton for the future. The singular year of team control would also bring with it a suppressed cost, likely allowing the Twins to hang onto their top-tier prospect capital in a hypothetical trade for the Puerto Rican.
Of course, one cannot discuss a connection with Javier Báez and the Minnesota Twins without bringing up the kindred relationship between Báez and his brother-in-law, José Berríos. While Berríos’ wife and Báez’s wife being sisters doesn’t necessarily give the Twins a leg up in any trade discussion, bringing family together on the diamond would certainly bring a smile to the faces of the brothers-in-law and give Dick Bremer plenty of talking points during Twins broadcasts in 2021.
What would you think about the Minnesota Twins pursuing a trade for Javier Báez this offseason? How much would you give up to acquire him? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
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