Javier Baez Nearing Return, But Into What Role? And Other Bullets

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Javier Baez Nearing Return, But Into What Role? And Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

javy baez swingLast night’s late-night win wasn’t quite as late as the home opener (due to post-game celebrations, naturally), and it wasn’t nearly as late-night as the West Coast Games last week. But it was still pretty late. And tonight will be pretty late, too, and I’m probably average 5ish hours of sleep per night for the past two weeks, which is way under my normal 7ish.

But I gotta tell you: when the Cubs are winning like they are, my mood – despite the lack of sleep – is buoyed considerably. So, fine, Cubs – you go ahead and have your late night games. If it’s because the team is working counts, scoring a ton of runs, slowing the game down that way, and then ultimately winning? I’ll be fine the next day.

Speaking of last night’s win, I’ll have more on that one, specifically, in a little bit – there’s simply too much fun to try and cram it all into the Bullets …

  • Javier Baez, who is expected to play left field again today for Iowa after making appearances at all of second base, shortstop, third base, and left field in his rehab stint so far, could be back with the big league team soon (Cubs.com). That could mean this weekend, or perhaps shortly thereafter. When Baez returns, it’s fair to estimate that he’ll replace Munenori Kawasaki on the roster, but estimating his precise role is much more difficult. It’s easy to say that he’s the super utility guy and can play all over, but, as a practical matter, what will that look like on a daily basis? Consider that if Joe Maddon were looking to give guys like Ben Zobrist or Kris Bryant or Jorge Soler or Dexter Fowler or Jason Heyward a break, that could be handled already with a start for Tommy La Stella or Matt Szczur (and, as we’ve seen, those guys can be pretty good in a fill-in start). Baez is a different level player, to be sure, but my point is only that it’s not like the Cubs are totally unable to give guys a rest until Baez returns. I’m not even sure exactly where Baez fits into the late-inning defensive situation, because you’re not taking out Bryant or Fowler or Heyward or Addison Russell, Zobrist is very sound (if not necessarily having a huge range), and Matt Szczur is probably the better defensive left fielder to sub in.
  • As I’m reading what I’ve written, it sounds like I’m saying there’s no place on the roster for Baez. Which is crazy, and I’m very much not saying that. I’m saying only that I’d like to see Baez, for his own development purposes, getting regular starts and at bats, and it’s not entirely clear to me just yet how that will play out. I think we probably will see him get a start at second, shortstop, third base, and left field within the next few weeks. Without an injury somewhere, though, I’m not sure there will be consistent, everyday – or even every other day – starts available. Still, the Cubs are better with him on the bench, even if it means he’s purely doing complementary things for now.
  • And just think: this consternation is coming after the Cubs lost Kyle Schwarber for the season.
  • The Cubs get good use out of their fancy training facilities, including the sensory-deprivation tank.
  • So, it’s super expensive, but holy crap this thing is incredible. It’s a fully-automated home brewing device that brews craft beer in under four hours, and you can track and modify the progress of the batch throughout that time using the internet. This is what home brewing looks like in 2016, apparently. I’m not sure I’ll ever get into home brewing myself, and, like I said, it’s super expensive … but dang if that’s not one of the coolest gadgets I’ve seen/read about in a long time.
  • The Minor League Daily from this morning, and also news that Eric Jokisch has been lost on waivers to the Marlins.
  • Can’t say I’m a big fan of these:


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.