My head didn’t go here when the Francisco Lindor injury happened last night, primarily because we still don’t know if it’s actually a serious injury, and then secondarily because of the versatility in their infield and the long-term, ongoing discussions with the Cubs about Kris Bryant.
But I suspect Buster Olney isn’t just pulling this out of thin air:
If Lindor’s injury is relatively serious — those oblique injuries can take 4-to-6 weeks — then Javier Baez could be a perfect match for the Mets. He could hold down shortstop initially, and then move to second or third later, in keeping with his career-long versatility.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 17, 2021
The Cubs may not want to trade Báez unless it’s a huge return, given their presumptive desire to re-up with him after the season. And Báez has long expressed a desire to remain in Chicago. That said, if a trade uncoupled him from draft pick compensation before his first go in free agency (in his case, in particular, a qualifying offer is going to be a bit of an anchor), I’m sure he wouldn’t hate that. And a chance to play on the same team as his good friend, Lindor? That, too, would probably be welcomed.
The Cubs and Mets have already had talks about prospects, so maybe there’s some understandings already in place on prospect valuations. That can help get these deals to the finish line.
But would the Cubs actually trade Báez? And would the Mets actually give up enough to get a temporary sub and then move Báez around when Lindor returns? I still have my doubts on that. And hey, the Cubs are reportedly still trying to take one more run at extending Báez before the Trade Deadline.
Like I said, it’s not something I considered initially, but apparently someone (the Cubs? an agent? someone in the Mets front office who wants to push?) has raised it to Olney. I’ll just put this in the “keep tabs” section for now, particularly as we await word on Lindor’s injury.