The Chicago Cubs have to decide just how much they value the contributions of Javier Baez both at the dish and in the field as it comes time to reward his near MVP-level play with a big contract.
The former NLCS MVP has quickly become indispensable for the Cubbies, and giving Baez anything less than a record-breaking contract in some form or fashion would be a crime given how he has dominated on the field in recent years. Here are three seasons the front office needs to make it happen ASAP.
3. He's a Fan Favorite
Baez's electric style of play, flair for the dramatic, and general gregariousness has made him one of the most beloved Cubs in recent memory. Every time he tags someone out without looking at his glove or pimps a home run, the fans at the game are sent into a complete frenzy. A select few guys have this trait, and you can't teach it.
2. Kris Bryant is Basically Gone
As trade rumors circling the former MVP continue to permeate through offseason proceedings, the two parties finally letting bygones be bygones is seeming less likely by the day. The Cubs will have to make some serious financial decisions if they part with Bryant and let several other core players hit the open market (Jose Quintana and possibly Jon Lester and Anthony Rizzo), but one non-negotiable move is bringing back Baez, who is the clear star progressing without controversy.
1. He's Chicago's Best Overall Player
His skill with the bat his one thing, but you can count on one hand the amount of shortstops that bring Baez's defensive versatility to the table. Baez is an elite runner, defender, and hitter all combined into one, and he still has room to improve at age 27. Baez is the Cubs' long-term building block, and he should be compensated as such.