LOS ANGELES — The Hollywood script would have Javier Baez crushing a home run in his big-league debut at Dodger Stadium, flipping his bat and maybe pointing to some celebrity in a front-row seat.
Vin Scully didn’t have that call on Friday night at Chavez Ravine. Cubs executives made it clear Baez wouldn’t be promoted from Triple-A Iowa after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. But it hasn’t stopped Cubs fans from asking on Twitter, or slowed down the Chicago media pushing that angle.
“There’s no hurry,” manager Rick Renteria said. “There’s no pressure to do anything right now. I think when the move is made with him — whenever that is — it will be because everybody’s drawn a clear consensus that the action we’ll take as an organization is right for him, and for us.”
Really, it’s been building since spring training, when Anthony Rizzo laughed at reporters and all the hype surrounding the prospects: “You guys are going to crown them the next Babe Ruth.”
That’s around the time Jeff Samardzija sent this message: “You got to come with all your bullets in the major leagues.”
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Some of that urgency is still coming from inside the clubhouse, wondering when Baez will get here and asking: What if Kris Bryant hits 60 homers? How can you start him in Iowa next year?
The Cubs have 54 games left in another rebuilding season. Baez has already started playing second base in Des Moines and Darwin Barney and Emilio Bonifacio are gone now. Theo Epstein’s front office doesn’t plan on being “obvious sellers” next summer.
Why not get a head start on 2015? Especially when Baez has needed time to adjust to a new level before really heating up.
“There are a lot of different variables,” Epstein said. “That’s one of them. But there are so many factors that come into play in that type of a decision. I don’t want to focus on just any one variable. It’s a big-picture issue.”
After a brutal start, Baez has adjusted to the experienced pitchers in the Pacific Coast League, putting up 10 homers, 32 RBI and a .999 OPS in July. That raised his overall average to .259 with 21 homers, 78 RBI and an .815 OPS through 102 games with Iowa. It’s still only his age-21 season for Baseball America’s No. 7 overall prospect.
“We’ll sort of focus on it more towards the end of August and also look to the offseason,” Epstein said. “You have to factor in what the player might get out of a call-up versus what it means for the organization, as a whole, not being able to add a player in the winter, because of 40-man (roster) issues.
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“Kyle Hendricks had to be added to the 40-man this winter, so it made it a lot easier for us to call him up now, because it was a 40-man spot we were going to use on Kyle anyway this winter.
“You have to balance it out by what the player would get out of it developmentally. Those are things we’ll just weigh towards the end of August and make our decisions.”
So “Javy Being Javy” in still in development, with the Cubs waiting to green-light him for The Show.
“Everybody will debate when it is appropriate for him to be here,” Renteria said, “and how you can gain or use this time right now to garner experience. But I think that, quite frankly, we still have to allow him to develop some things down there, to continue to play, to continue to build his confidence.”