Over the former eight years, Javier Paez has dazzled with diamonds.
Baez earned his nickname “El Mago” with soft hands, a powerful arm, rapid gauntlet, distinctive ball scene and lively playing style.
Those days are over in Chicago.
The Cubs tackled short bowler and starter Trevor Williams to the New York Mets just over an hour prior the 3pm trading deadline on Friday. Before leaving the Nationals Park to join the Mets, Báez wanted to tell Cubs fans that they are loved and appreciated for their dedication to the team with what the team means to the city.
“I never thought it would be this big and when we won the world championship in 2016, the city was daft and the happiness around it was amazing,” Baez said on Friday afternoon. “I didn’t set up in a big city to preserve track of the teams, so when I saw it here, it was incredible – the fans’ love for all the players, from the Hall of Famers to all the rookies and other players coming and going.”
In return, the Cubs greeted overseas investigator Pete Crowe-Armstrong. A first-round pick (19) in the 2020 draft, Crow-Armstrong, 19, has played six games this season with Class A St. Lucy, hit .417 (10 for 24) with two doubles and four RBIs prior suffering a right shoulder injury in May.
The left-handed hitter from Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles is ranked as the MLB Pipeline’s No. 20 prospects heading into the 2020 Draft.
Anthony Rizzo’s departure to the New York Yankees the day prior, marking the first big departure, was the toughest farewell for Baez: “I have so much love for Tony and everything he’s done.” Bayes’ coming is rooted in New York for at fewest the next two months. He’s already heard from Mets Shortstop and fellow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor and is excited to play alongside him, although that won’t happen right away. Lindor is currently on the injured list, and Baez said his left heel is still in the afternoon.
Inevitably, Baez was questioned about whether there was a chance of returning to the Cubs when he becomes a free agent in the off-season.
“Honestly, I’d like to do it, but I don’t know,” Bayes said. “I don’t know what will happen in the off-season with all these moves and the plan that this organization has. I am sure this is one of the best (if not the best organisations). I am grateful for everything they have done for me and my family.”
Ever since the Cubs drafted the Bays with the ninth pick in the 2011 draft, his raw strength has been a staple of his offensive production. While whole hits may be an issue—he leads the National League in this category—Bayes remains one of baseball’s most entertaining players. He’s hit at times this season, including not starting three games this week due to his left heel in the afternoon. But Báez was one of their most valuable players.
In 91 games this season, Báez has netted .248 with a .292 on base, .775 OPS, .108 OPS+ and captain 22 times and 65 RBI. He has been a two-time NL All-Star and runner-up to the NL MVP vote in 2018. He also won the Golden Glove final season.
There are no firm feelings, Bayes said.
“The communication was really pleasing between the players and the fore office, so they spoke to us directly and told us what the chances are,” said Baez. “Obviously we understand the business side and this is happening and we hope that it will happen for the benefit of the organization.”
Williams, 29, is leaving following signing a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Cubs in February. After a six-week absence following an appendectomy, Williams has made three appearances, including two starts, and has posted a 4.20 ERA since returning in beforetime July. His final start on Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks was one of his best games of the season. Williams threw 6 stopping innings and hit six without walking.
Williams’ departure opens up a potential turning point for left-handed Justin Steele, who has been leading the Triple-A Iowa to move from Bullpen to a starting role.
For at fewest Friday, Jake Arietta was removed from the injured list and started in Williams’ scheduled place. IL’s Arrieta activation was part of a slew of moves the Cubs made ahead of Friday’s series opener against the Washington Nationals. They called up right-back Manny Rodriguez, defending player Junchoi Vargas and player-backward Frank Schwindle of Iowa State and handpicked the contracts of right-back Michael Rucker and defending player/backs Andrew Romijn.