Cubs

Cubs GM Hoyer: Time to be patient with Javier Baez

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Cubs GM Hoyer: Time to be patient with Javier Baez

As the Cubs lose patience with Starlin Castro, they don’t seem to be in a hurry to promote Javier Baez from Triple-A Iowa.    

Joe Maddon still hasn’t unveiled his big plans for the roster once catcher Miguel Montero (thumb) comes off the disabled list. But the manager has shared his ideas with Theo Epstein’s front office, thinking about ways to create platoon advantages, exploit matchups and give players extra rest (while keeping everyone relatively happy).

That could mean downsizing Castro’s role – at least from the All-Star shortstop’s idealistic goal of playing all 162 games every season. But it doesn’t sound like the Cubs are on the verge of a major shakeup that would involve adding Baez to run point on their middle-infield defense and give this lineup another potentially explosive bat.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

“It’s (almost) a constant assessment,” general manager Jed Hoyer said before Thursday’s showdown against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field. “The biggest thing is his season’s been so truncated. He missed April, basically, and then he had the hand injury. I just feel like with those two things he hasn’t had a natural season. 

“We’d love to get him going – and not just a week-to-10-day hot stretch. But really let him establish (himself), get in a rhythm down there and get playing. That’s what we’re focused on now.” 

Maddon pushed for Baez to make the team out of spring training and didn’t win that debate over the former first-round pick who struggled to adjust to big-league pitching last year (95 strikeouts in 52 games). Baez took an extended leave of absence after his sister died in April and fractured his finger on a headfirst slide in June. 

[MORE: Are Cubs trying to phase out Castro at shortstop?]

Since rejoining Iowa, Baez is hitting .279 with three homers, 14 RBI and a .982 OPS through nine games. He’s also struck out 15 times in 43 at-bats. At the age of 22, he has the potential to become an elite defender at shortstop or second base.

Baez would have been a natural target in any trade talks with the Cleveland Indians (Carlos Carrasco) and San Diego Padres (Tyson Ross), but the Cubs didn’t land a building-block pitcher at the July 31 deadline.

“I have no idea what the future brings,” Hoyer said. “We can have an urgent need. But right now, I think we’re really comfortable letting him play. Just keep getting better in Triple-A and sort of provide some normalcy to a season that’s been kind of weird.”  

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Baseball players don't forget grudges. Javy Baez and Reds pitcher Amir Garrett gave an example of that on Saturday.

Garrett struck out Baez in the seventh inning of the first game of the Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Garrett showed some excitement with the strikeout and then said something to Baez. They both started jawing at each other and suddenly the benches cleared.

At first glance, it looked like Garrett was a bit too excited to get a strikeout with no one on base. Turns out Baez had his own bit of swag for Garrett last year (Friday was the one-year anniversary) in the form of a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

This time Garrett got Baez and wanted to even things up a bit.

Things didn't get too feisty despite the benches clearing, but Anthony Rizzo did rush to Baez's side at some speed. This could be a matchup to keep an eye out for in the future.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

Siera Santos, Kelly Crull, and David DeJesus go into the audio archives to break down the biggest games for the Cubs in Cincinnati.

David DeJesus gives us his top 3 ballgames with such gems as The Schwarber Game, The Kris Bryant Game, Starlin Castro’s debut, and Jake Arrieta’s second no hitter.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: