It goes without saying that you need to be very judicious when it comes to evaluating the veracity of what you hear and read from the rumor mill, but I’m going to say it anyway when it comes to the latest regarding Javier Báez. In speaking with 670 The Score’s Mully & Haugh Monday morning about what it might take to retain the shortstop, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tossed out a very large number.
“We can start it with a two, we shall see,” Heyman said. “I’ve heard speculation that all the free-agent shortstops will get 200-something. We’ll see. I’m hearing (Trevor) Story and (Corey) Seager are shooting for 300-something. But I would think Báez would be $200 million-plus.
“I don’t think they’re there yet. But if they get there, maybe they could have a deal.”
First, we need to highlight the idea that Heyman is speaking based on speculation about what these shortstops will eventually be seeking when free agency rolls around at the end of the season. Then he’s projecting his perception of Javy’s value before saying the Cubs probably haven’t gotten to that number yet. To which I would say, “No shit.”
I mean, if the Cubs had thrown out something like $200 million over eight years, Javy would almost certainly have jumped at it already. Yes, even in light of Fernando Tatis getting $340 million and Francisco Lindor getting $341 million. Then again, maybe $200M+ is a target Báez has had all along.
According to Buster Olney, he turned down “a Cubs’ offer somewhere in the range of $180 million” prior to the 2020 season. That isn’t hard to believe given he was coming off of the best two seasons in his career, one of which included a second-place MVP finish. But the shortened season was an abject disaster and Javy hasn’t been quite as dynamic at the plate or in the field this season.
When it comes to what he is actually seeking and what he’ll get from the Cubs or otherwise, I guess I’ll just quote Heyman and say, “We’ll see.”