Javy Báez is on the move, with the Cubs trading him to the New York Mets Friday in a stunning move of the fan favorite and former core piece in Chicago.
Báez met the media in Washington, where the Cubs open a three-game series with the Nationals Friday, shortly after the trade, and was asked the question countless Cubs fans have.
Is there a chance the free-agent-to-be returns to the North Side this offseason?
"To be honest, I would love to," Báez said, "but I don’t know what will happen this offseason with all these moves and the plan that this organization has."
Before Friday's trade, Báez expressed a desire to remain with the Cubs long term on several occasions. He and the Cubs were close to getting an extension done in 2020 spring training, before COVID-19 shut down the Major League Baseball season.
Báez leaves the Cubs a World Series champion, two-time All-Star, MVP runner-up and Gold Glove Award winner. The ninth overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft developed into a key cog in the Cubs lineup after making his big-league debut in August 2014.
Team president Jed Hoyer on Friday left the door open to negotiating with Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo when they enter free agency this winter. Bryant was traded to the Giants on Friday and Rizzo to the Yankees on Thursday.
"The door has not been closed on any of those guys," Hoyer said. "I've told every one of those guys that.
"We didn't close any doors on those players, but certainly Kris Bryant deserves to be playing in San Francisco in a pennant race, and Anthony [Rizzo] in New York and Javy in New York and Craig Kimbrel in Chicago.
"Those players deserve to be playing in pennant races elsewhere. They're great players, and the door is not shut in any way."
Whether Thursday's loss to Cincinnati was Báez' last game in a Cubs uniform, he's thankful for his time spent with the Cubs.
"Obviously, I'm grateful for everything they’ve done for me," Báez said. "I’ve never been in another organization, but I’m pretty sure this is one of the best ones, if not the best one.
"I’m grateful for everything they’ve done for me and my family."
Contributing from Washington, D.C.: Gordon Wittenmyer