Cubs

MLB executive says there's 'no way' Cubs trade Javy Baez

MLB executive says there's 'no way' Cubs trade Javy Baez

The Cubs have been quiet so far this offseason and one of the major storyline remains if they will trade one of the team’s young stars to shed salary and gain prospects.

Kris Bryant has been the most mentioned trade candidate, but the team’s asking price “is a joke,” according to a former MLB general manager. Willson Contreras has been another name mentioned in trade rumors, but the asking price for him has been described as “absurd.”

What about Javy Baez? Would the Cubs trade him?

NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan talked to one baseball executive who said that’s not going to happen.

"He is a great talent but he is their most marketable player, and I would be stunned if they traded the number one guy they have that connects with the kids in their huge fan base,” the executive said. “Can you imagine, with all of the bad press they have been getting over the past 18 months if they traded their number one asset in Baez? No way they are doing that."

Baez is under contract for two more years, just like Bryant (pending the result of his grievance case). At age 27, Baez is a year younger and, unlike Bryant, appears to still be getting better. The last two seasons have been Baez’s best, plus he is a strong defender in the middle infield.

Throw in his growing popularity, the marketability that the executive talks about, and Baez should be a prized asset for the Cubs. The Cubs and Baez have reportedly already opened contract extension talks.

So, even if the Cubs are unable to move Bryant or Contreras (or payroll from somewhere else on the roster), it doesn’t seem likely that moving Baez would be an option.

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Jon Lester's soccer career and other things to know about Cubs left-hander

Jon Lester's soccer career and other things to know about Cubs left-hander

Jon Lester is the best free agent addition in Cubs history, the guy who joined a last place club and helped push them to perennial contender status. He played a big part in the Cubs snapping their World Series drought, and even at 36 remains a durable, competitive starter.

Here’s a few things you may not know about the Cubs’ left-hander.

1. While playing in a soccer tournament in Italy at the age of 13, an Italian club approached Lester about playing professionally. He turned it down and the Red Sox drafted him five years later.

2. In August 2006, two months after making his MLB debut, Lester was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He underwent chemotherapy in the 2006-07 offseason and returned to the Red Sox in July 2007.

3. Lester’s charity, NVRQT, works to raise awareness and funds to fight pediatric cancer. Lester was the Cubs’ 2019 Robert Clemente Award nominee for his charitable efforts.

4. In 2011, Lester was featured on a wine label produced by Longball Cellars. Proceeds from “CabernAce” benefited the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

5. Lester, an avid golfer, once shot an 81 at Augusta National, according to Golf Digest.

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Anthony Rizzo has no regrets over signing bargain extension in 2013

Anthony Rizzo has no regrets over signing bargain extension in 2013

Back in 2013, the Cubs locked up a 23-year-old Anthony Rizzo on a seven-year, $41 million extension — with two options that could make it nine years for $74 million.

Rizzo is a cancer survivor, and gaining financial stability was a big thing for him. Seven years later, the deal is one of the best in baseball from a team perspective, but incredibly below market value overall.

However, the big first baseman, who’s emerged as a cornerstone for the Cubs, has no regrets over his decision.

“I’ve had the freedom from 22, 23 years old to financially do whatever I want and play freely,” Rizzo told NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer. “And I’m going to be able to do financially whatever I want for the rest of my life as long as I don’t make poor choices.

“At the end of this contract, it’ll make a lot of money, and I’m playing the game I love.”

The Cubs shut down extension talks with Rizzo over the winter, and he said it never got to the point of discussing any numbers. He has “no idea” what the Cubs’ thinking was on shutting down those talks, too.

The two sides will likely talk extension again in the future, but until then, the Cubs have Rizzo on an absolute bargain of a deal.

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