The Chicago White Sox could really use some help at the second base position.
It’s no secret that Javier Báez’s short tenure with the Mets was a failure. The Mets went just 22-38 with Báez on the roster and missed the playoffs. Báez didn’t exactly look like he enjoyed his time in Queens either. He gave Mets fans a thumbs-down sign in response to being booed mercilessly for his poor play and high strikeout volume. Regardless, he is one of the best middle infielders on the market in the offseason. At the age of 29, he is still in his prime.
In 2018 Báez finished second in the MVP voting made his first All-Star game appearance and took home a silver slugger award. He hit a career-high 34 home runs and drove in a league-high 111 RBIs. He returned to the All-Star game in 2019 then won a Gold Glove in 2020. However, his production at the plate took a nosedive in 2020. He showed signs of regaining his All-Star form in 2021.
In his last 26 games in Chicago, he hit .302/.358/.542 with six home runs. He didn’t slow down with the Mets either batting .299/.371/.515 with nine home runs. Overall he hit .298/.362/.523 during the second half of the season which is actually better than the numbers he put up during the second half of his 2018 campaign (.290/.326/.554).
The White Sox needs a second baseman. Báez paired with Tim Anderson would make an electric double-play combination. It would easily be the most exciting middle infield in baseball. There are some red flags, however, as Bàez strikes out at a very high rate.
The White Sox already have plenty of power hitters so an ideal second baseman would be one that puts the ball in play. Báez also has a strong personality and can be a bit immature at times. Will his personality and style of play clash with Tony La Russa’s old-school thinking? The White Sox locker room didn’t have a problem with La Russa but it is still a valid concern.
Báez enjoyed playing in Chicago, so why not the Southside? If the Cubs don’t want to pony up the money for Báez, the White Sox could be a viable option. Jed Hoyer had an opportunity to extend Javy but the deal fell through due to COVID-19. That deal was worth roughly $160 million so Rick Hahn would have to be in the same ballpark for this deal to come to fruition.