The New York Mets are acquiring star shortstop Javier Báez in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Another member of the Cubs core sent packing as he approaches free agency, Báez has partially rebounded from a dreadful 2020. He’s batting .248 with his customary power — 22 homers and 65 RBIs — but his on-base percentage is lagging at a subpar .292, and he leads the NL in strikeouts.
He represents the Mets’ first big splash of the deadline as they try to hang on to the NL East lead. Right-handed pitcher Trevor Williams is also coming to the Mets as pitching depth. The 19-year-old outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong is reportedly headed to Chicago in return. Báez is a thrilling defender at either middle infield position and capable of transcendent moments at the plate.
Earlier this week, he openly said he wanted to play with friend and fellow Puerto Rico native Francisco Lindor. The Mets shortstop, who signed an extension over the winter to stay in New York, is currently on the IL. Báez figures to fill in for him and eventually slide to second base.
The exit falls in line after fellow Wrigley Field mainstay Anthony Rizzo was dealt to the Yankees on Thursday, and closer Craig Kimbrel was shipped to the White Sox earlier on Friday. Both Báez and Rizzo were rumored to have had extension talks with the Cubs that fizzled before the deals.