The Cubs keep saying too many shortstops is a good problem to have, projecting Starlin Castro, Javier Baez and Addison Russell could someday become teammates at Wrigley Field.
Whether or not that becomes reality, Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline won’t solve the “problem,” with the Cubs expected to reexamine their options this winter, knowing that could be one way to acquire the frontline pitching they need.
Baez isn’t playing second base exclusively at Triple-A Iowa, but it’s been a smooth transition this month, a potential preview of his big-league future.
“All the reports are good,” GM Jed Hoyer said. “Before we moved him to play a lot of second, our reports were really good on his shortstop play. Like a lot of young shortstops, he makes some errors, but his hands are really good. His range is surprisingly good. We definitely feel like he can play shortstop.”
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Baez committed 44 errors last season, splitting time between advanced Class-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee while cementing his status as an elite prospect.
Baez has impressed team officials with his attention to defensive details this year, not letting it carryover into the field while struggling to adjust to Pacific Coast League pitching at the age of 21.
After a slow start, Baez has still put up 19 homers and 73 RBI, forcing his way into the September call-up conversation. His OPS is hovering around 1.000 in July. With 124 strikeouts in 98 games, he will never be the textbook player for “The Cubs Way,” but his at-bats on the North Side will be can’t-miss.
Baez has also changed agents again, this time switching to Wasserman Sports, according to ESPN. Wherever he plays, he should make a lot of money in this game.
“We’ve got at least three guys in the organization that can really play shortstop, including Starlin,” Hoyer said. “All those guys won’t be playing that position, (but) the idea that those guys can’t play that position is wrong. Javy Baez might play second, but he can certainly play shortstop.”