Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Javier Báez Could Be First Shortstop to Sign Big Free Agent Contract


The free agent shortstop class is stacked this offseason, but former Cubs’ star Javier Báez could be the first to sign a big contract.

Ever since the season ended for the Mets there have been reports about them wanting to re-sign Báez and do it quickly in free agency. I still have no clue how the Mets plan to make any moves regarding their roster let alone making huge financial commitments as the team still has not hired a president or general manager.

However, it looks like owner Steve Cohen was impressed by Báez during his two-month stint in New York and reports, as recent as Wednesday, continue to indicate the Mets’ strong interest in keeping Báez.

Sandy Alderson, who is currently running things for the Mets, spoke about Báez during the GM Meetings this week.

Via SNY.

“His impression on me was very positive. I thought he played exceptionally well. He’s obviously a multi-talented player. I think he would fit in well in New York. Nothing seems to faze him in terms of the size of the stage, can help a team in a number of different ways, and he’s an entertaining player. He goes beyond just contributing to a winning team. So, lots of positives there.”

There is also the strong interest from Báez to return to the Mets to play along his best friend Francisco Lindor. Here’s what Báez said a few days before he was dealt by the Cubs at the trade deadline about his desire to play next to Lindor.

Then, after he was traded to the Mets and played with Lindor, Báez reiterated wanting to stay in New York in September.

Via NBC Sports Chicago.

“I think me and Lindor are closer than KB and Rizzo,” Báez said. “It’s a really special thing here. … I would love to stay here and play with him.”

“And we haven’t been playing really well as a middle infield; we can do much better,” Báez added. “But we’ve been here like two months. If it’s going to be a whole year, or 10 years. we obviously are going to get those adjustments to click and be [in sync].”

Báez, who will be 29-years-old for the 2022 season, ended 2021 on fire. He slashed .347/.426/.554 with a 169 wRC+ in September, bringing up his season slash line to .265/.319/.494, hitting 30+ home runs for the second time in his career and posted a 116 wRC+, the second highest figure of his career.

Here are the contract projections for Báez.

FanGraphs: 4 years, $80 million
MLBTR: 5 years, $100 million
ESPN: 1 year, $25 million
New York Post: 7 years, $150 million
Jon Heyman: 6 years, $150 million
Audacy Sports: 5 years, $110 million

So, while the years vary from the different sources, Báez is still expected to get $20 million+ per year. You’d think that if he decides to sign early in the offseason it means that he’d be getting a pretty good sized contract. There’s no reason to settle now, but if the Mets are aggressive, as they appear to be, then Báez could be the first major domino to fall in free agency.

Interestingly enough, the other team most linked to signing Báez this offseason is the Cubs. MLB insider Jon Heyman has predicted the reunion and there’s no doubt the Cubs do need a shortstop even with Nico Hoerner.

For whatever it’s worth, I think Báez will get a six-year contract worth $120 million this offseason.

Aldo Soto
“Sports are dumb and so much fun at the same time.” A lead writer at Sports Mockery for over five years.

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