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.