I woke up this morning, as you likely did too (isn't anyone getting any sleep in Nashville?), to talk of the Tampa Bay Rays and Cubs possibly discussing a deal involving Javier Baez. The most detailed info on this comes from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
The Rays trade talks with the Cubs are said to be focused on getting INF Javier Baez in return for pitching, a major-league source told the Times. Baez, 23, would provide the kind of young impact bat the Rays seek. He has played parts of the last two seasons with the Cubs after starring in the minors. The Rays have pitching depth to deal from - either of their two late-inning relievers, Jake McGee or Brad Boxberger, and a starter from the group of Drew Smyly, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi and Erasmo Ramirez.
The fashionable thing to do lately, it seems, is to target closers even if you have one, as the Dodgers are doing with Aroldis Chapman. This is likely due to the Kansas City Royals' success in winning with a lockdown bullpen after the sixth inning. Caveat emptor, of course: just because one team wins using one method doesn't mean your team will win using the same method.
I can see the Cubs looking at one of those Rays starting pitchers. All of them have had some sort of injury issues over the last couple of years. Odorizzi, Moore and Smyly were all at one time considered one of their team's top prospects, though of the three, only Moore had a rough year last year when healthy.
Here are a couple of tweets from other writers hinting that these talks might be progressing:
Cubs and Tampa have some match ups they are talking about. ( Jake McGee 5-1 strikeout ratio is intriguing )— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 7, 2015
Source: Cubs were in on Boxberger/McGee at deadline, may re-visit at Winter Meetings. #Rays— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 7, 2015
Personally, I wouldn't deal Baez just for late-inning relievers -- most of them are pretty fungible, and Boxberger was pretty bad the last two months of the season. If they're going to trade Baez to the Rays, I'd rather see the Cubs target one of those starting pitchers. As far Baez, he could be helpful to the Cubs at several positions, including center field, where he's reportedly going to be having some time during winter ball.Here's what our SB Nation Rays site DRays Bay had to say about this potential deal. Meanwhile, Topkin's article concludes:
There is no confirmation of any deal, or a clear sense of how far along they are or likely to reach agreement.
So -- here's an opening for you to discuss this potential deal and I'll also leave this as an open Winter Meetings thread for today. Would you trade Baez straight-up for any of those Rays starting pitchers? (Assume for now that Chris Archer is probably not one of the Rays pitchers available.) Have at it.