The Mets swung a deal to acquire two-time All-Star Javier Báez from the Cubs on Friday afternoon, giving them a proven fill-in for injured shortstop Francisco Lindor and a playoff-tested option at second base once Lindor returns from the IL. The Mets, who also acquired starter Trevor Williams from Chicago, paid a steep price in the deal, giving up left-handed hitting outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong, their first-rounder in last year’s draft:
Final Mets-Cubs deal will be Javier Baez and Trevor Williams for OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, the Mets' No. 5 prospect per @MLBPipeline.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 30, 2021
Báez, 28, doesn’t do a great job of making contact or taking walks, his defense seems to have taken a step back from the elite level it was at in 2019, and he leads the NL with 131 strikeouts. But he’s a great power hitter and is one of the most exciting players in the sport. He has a .248/.292/.484 slash line with 22 homers and 65 RBI, and if he ultimately gets to form a double-play combo with Lindor in New York, he’ll be doing so with a close friend and fellow Puerto Rican native who attended high school in Florida. Lindor and Báez went back-to-back in the 2011 draft at No. 8 and 9 overall, and they played together on the Puerto Rican World Baseball Classic team.
Williams, 29, hasn’t been great this year, but he provides some more depth to a Mets rotation that has run through starters at an unbelievable rate this year. The former Pirate, who was in his first year with the Cubs, had a 5.06 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in 13 appearances for Chicago.
This trade continues a massive teardown of the Cubs that has also included the trades of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel, Joc Pederson, Ryan Tepera, and Andrew Chafin.
Crow-Armstrong, 19, has major upside but has played in just six professional games, as he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in May.