Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a reason why San Diego “balked at the asking price“ for Baez was because Chicago “would have wanted more besides“ Luis Perdomo or Dinelson Lamet, who are young, controllable starting pitchers. One possible player that the Cubs could have wanted in addition to Perdomo or Lamet was Brad Hand, the Padres’ best reliever and one of the top relievers in the game who Lin says “likely was discussed.”
This asking price by the Cubs seems reasonable because Baez is one of the best young second baseman in the game, both offensively and defensively.
In 2017, Baez produced a .273/.317/.480 slash line and a 2.9 WAR with 23 home runs and 75 RBI in 508 plate appearances. Drafted ninth overall by the Cubs in the 2011 MLB Draft, he has been hitting .255 with 47 homers and 158 RBI in his four seasons in the big leagues. He also helped the Cubs during their journey to a World Series crown in 2016, as he was named the MVP of the NLCS after slashing .318/.333/.500 with four doubles and five RBI.
Baez is also versatile, as he can play anywhere in the infield. He has a .968 fielding percentage for his career.
The Cubs need starting pitching, but if they are going to trade for any starters, they want to get the most they can for Baez, who along with infielder Addison Russell are their biggest trade chips. As for the Padres, they need infield help, but they may not want to sacrifice these young talents, especially when they are in rebuilding mode.