Apropos of today’s Javier Baez/Tampa Bay Rays rumors, which heated up aggressively, Ken Rosenthal made sure to let folks know that it wasn’t Rays or bust for the Cubs and Baez:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2015
Which, of course, right? Even if the Cubs weren’t shopping Baez, it’s hard to believe they would move him to the Rays – absent a whopper of a deal – without seeing what other teams with young starters are willing to do.
And Bruce Levine now adds, perhaps in relation to these Baez rumors, perhaps not:
Cubs and Braves still talking
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 7, 2015
You are reminded that the Braves have been listening on Shelby Miller for some time now, and boy is he very interesting. The trick there is finding the right trade fit, as the Braves reportedly are big on Jorge Soler, whose upside and longer control would seem to make him tough to part with in a deal for a single pitcher who is entering his arbitration years. On the other hand, the Braves don’t have to deal Miller, who is desired by a number of teams. Tough fit. Maybe we find out soon that Baez has entered those discussions.
Peter Gammons mentioned this weekend on Levine’s radio show that the Cubs and Braves were down the road a bit on a deal involving Miller last week when the Braves changed course.
Meanwhile, there’s also Julio Teheran with the Braves, whom I’d argue should come at a lower acquisition cost, but who also has interesting upside and is cost-controlled through 2019 (or 2020 with a $12 million team option).
UPDATE: It sounds like the Braves aren’t resigned to the idea that they’re not going to move Miller:
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) December 7, 2015
A feeling, eh? That’s not coming from nowhere.
The rub, of course, is whether a straight-up swap of Baez (or Soler) for Miller is the right return for the Cubs. I truly try not to let any homerism impact me in these situations, but I feel like Baez is more valuable than Miller. Consider that Baez, just 23, is already a big league capable shortstop (probably above average defensively, even), and has shown the ability to be plus at third base or second base. He made significant adjustments last year at the plate, and, even if he just stayed where he is, you combine his bat with his baserunning and defense, and he’s a 2.0 to 3.0 win player. And he’s under control, cheaply, for six more seasons. That’s an extremely valuable asset. (Which is why the Rays, among other teams, want him.)