For all the urgency he displays on the field, Javy Báez has maintained a decidedly relaxed posture when it comes to extension talks that have effectively been taking place for over a year now. Just like his teammates whose deals are coming to a close at the end of this season, he’s expressed interest in staying in Chicago well into the future. What’s more, Jed Hoyer has said more than once that there’s mutual interest from the Cubs when it comes to getting deals done.
Progress on that front, however, has been anything but significant according to what is being shared publicly. It’s important to note that the Cubs typically do a very good job of keeping things hush-hush, but the lack of momentum is starting to cause at least mild concern in some corners.
Kris Bryant said recently that there has been no communication between his camp and the front office, though that has been the case for the last few years and he’s at peace with it. Anthony Rizzo said he’s “very optimistic” about a new deal, but added that he didn’t want to carry anything over to the regular season.
Javy, on the other hand, appears more than willing to let things play out as long as it takes.
“Yeah, yeah. For sure,” he told the media when asked about his agent continuing talks beyond spring training. “It’s always been like that. That’s his job. They [handle] the numbers. We’ll see. They’ve had really good conversation. They’ve got really good communication. We’ll see what happens when the season starts.”
While noting that nothing has really been discussed so far this spring, the matter is just waiting to be revisited. Of course, there might be a few complications or points of contention following a very strange season all the way around.
“It’s just the way it was last year,” Javy said, referencing talks that had been progressing. “Obviously, this year has been a lot different. But we’re not in a hurry. We’ve been talking, but we’ll probably see what’s the deal this last two weeks and see what happens.”
The shortstop didn’t have what anyone would call a good season at the plate and he lingered right at replacement level of 0.0 fWAR only because of his stellar defense. That performance was due to a number of factors, including but not limited to the lack of fans and in-game video, so there’s plenty of reason to believe he can bounce right back to his previous form.
Then again, his boom-bust plate approach could present some issues when it comes to determining his value on a long-term deal. The Cubs could also try to leverage a stacked free-agent class at shortstop in an attempt to negotiate a more team-friendly number. Javy’s agent will no doubt lean heavily on his client’s MVP potential and the more intrinsic nature of his marketability to counter those points.
If forced to wager, I’d say a deal with Javy is more likely than any of the others at this point because the confluence of value, timing, and desire from both parties makes the most sense. People don’t want to think about Rizzo potentially heading home to Miami, but there’s a pull there and it’s a non-zero possibility if an extension doesn’t happen in March. Bryant wants to stay, it’s just a matter of whether the Cubs want to offer the security of a no-trade clause.
You’d think there would be some serious action over the next two weeks as the spring season wraps up, so we’ll find out soon enough just how serious Hoyer is about locking these guys in.