They left it late, but the New York Mets have made their big move just a little over an hour before Major League Baseball’s 2021 trade deadline on Friday.
A source confirmed multiple reports that the Mets have acquired All-Star infielder Javier Baez and starting pitcher Trevor Williams from the Chicago Cubs. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Mets are sending their No. 5 prospect in center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong to the Cubs.
Baez is one of the most explosive, mercurial players in the majors and one of the top power-hitting infielders in the game. He has 22 home runs and 65 RBI in 91 games but leads the league with 131 strikeouts along with an underwhelming .292 on-base percentage.
Regardless, the 28-year-old provides the Mets with another big bat, added base-running savvy, and insurance at shortstop while Francisco Lindor completes his recovery from an oblique injury that will hold him out for a few more weeks. Since the 2018 season, Baez is posting 162-game averages of 34 home runs and 104 RBI.
Upon Lindor’s return, Baez — who has stated that he wanted to play with Lindor and is good friends with the Mets star — would move to second base.
Lindor’s delight was clear upon hearing the news of Baez’s acquisition, as he let out a scream of delight while fielding ground balls in a light rehab workout at Citi Field ahead of the Mets’ Friday-night meeting against the Cincinnati Reds.
That friendship could be a negotiating chip used by the Mets once Baez’s contract expires at the end of the season should the team want to extend a player that could create one of the most star-studded double-play combinations in the game.
With a healthy lineup and Baez at second, the Mets could move Jeff McNeil to third base to platoon with J.D. Davis while the odd-man-out could see some time in right field to potentially relieve Michael Conforto should a left-hander toe the rubber against them.
Coming to the Mets along with Baez, Williams provides a healthy body to help keep the Mets’ injury-riddled rotation afloat. The 29-year-old righty is 4-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) this season.