Javier Baez was one of the very few positives that came from the New York Mets during their second-half collapse that translated to a fifth-consecutive playoff-less autumn.
After being acquired from the Cubs, the 28-year-old showed that he could perform under the bright lights of New York, slashing .299/.371/.515 (.886 OPS) in 47 games with nine home runs and 22 RBI while playing next to one of his best friends in shortstop Francisco Lindor after shifting to second base.
“It was honestly really fun being around this group, around these guys,” Baez said. “Especially [Francisco]. We learned from him, everybody learns from him. Everybody wants to be like him. It was really fun.”
But with the Mets’ season coming to an end on Sunday, Baez’s future with the team is as uncertain as a majority of the organization’s standing following a 77-85 season that is sure to bring about drastic changes. Baez will be a free agent this winter as one of the most coveted and big names on the market.
“I’m thankful for the year that I have and that I could deal with the pressure of being a free agent and I had a good year,” Baez continued. “Now I’m going to get some rest with my family and see what happens.”
Baez will be looking for a hefty contract himself — especially after Lindor inked a $341 million deal with the Mets last winter. It remains to be seen if the team will be willing to shell out as much as $200 million to keep him with the amount of restructuring that is expected to happen this offseason, but Lindor will provide an internal voice championing for such a move.
“I would love to have him back,” Lindor said of Baez. “I’ve had a lot of fun with him playing up the middle. I learn from him, we feed off each other. We do whatever it takes to bring some wins and try to be in the playoffs.
“We fell short of the postseason this year but hopefully, he’ll be back next year and we can make it.”