Javier Baez extension would come with significant risk

The Cubs signing Javier Baez to an extension isn’t an easy decision

Baez is signed through 2021, but signing him to an extension after a lackluster 2020 season doesn’t make a ton of sense on the surface. Javy’s camp has the expectation that a contract would be a lucrative one. In fact, they turned down a number of deals just last offseason. Will they come to the table with similar expectations this Winter?

Javy hit .203/.238/.360 over 235 plate appearances, and is younger than Kris Bryant, who is another extension target. Baez is among the best defensive shortstops in baseball, and when he’s on offensively one of the best overall players in the majors. Those numbers, however, reflect a player still figuring out the necessary consistency at the plate. Baez is just one season removed from an All-Star season in which he hit .281 with 29 home runs and 85 RBIs. The year before that, he was second in MVP voting. So, is 2020 just an aberration given the COVID-19 shortened campaign? Or is it something more serious. That’s a judgement that Cubs front office will have to make.

Baez wants to stay in Chicago, but his contract expectations make that far from a certainty

“I hope I never leave this city in my whole career, but anything can happen,” Báez said after Friday’s game, per NBC Sports Chicago. “Hopefully I stay here my whole career.”

That’s a great sentiment from Baez, but it all comes down to how much money he wants and the Ricketts’ willingness to spend. Thus far, Cubs ownership hasn’t been willing to spend and after a challenging season from a revenue perspective, it’ll be tough to convince the Ricketts to splurge now.

The circumstances go beyond just Baez’s stats, but should they decide not to spend on Baez just yet, those numbers may be the excuse the Cubs give when they ultimately fail to re-sign a franchise cornerstone.

Next: 3 offseason trades the Cubs need to make after playoff exit

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