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Javier Báez was reportedly offered $160-$170 million in a longterm deal in 2020

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At least, according to one tweet. Let’s discuss.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

These aren’t the sorts of reports or rumors that I usually dig into on this site.

But this one caught my eye and I thought it was worth examining:

First things first. If this offer was made in “spring 2020” it likely happened before the pandemic shut everything down. During the shutdown, in May 2020, it was reported that things between Báez and the Cubs were “on hold”:

Baez, under team control through 2021, told ESPN that the Cubs and his representatives had what he characterized as multiple “really good” conversations about a long-term contract extension during the spring. Nonetheless, he and his representatives felt there was no pressure to get anything done by a particular date.

“Obviously, we want to reach an agreement, but right now everything is on hiatus. Just like it happened with baseball, we decided to leave it there. We haven’t talked about it anymore,” Baez said on a call with ESPN.

After all that, of course, Báez had a miserable 2020 season. So far this year, he is hitting .214/.267/.464 with, as Jon Heyman points out, four home runs and five stolen bases. The five steals lead the National League.

But his OBP is that “high” only because he’s been hit three times. In 60 plate appearances he has one walk. One. And 27 strikeouts, which leads the major leagues.

Javy is clearly holding out to see if he can get a contract similar to the one his good friend Francisco Lindor got from the Mets: 10 years, $341 million. Lindor is about a year younger than Báez.

Let me just say this in response to that idea: No. Just no, it’s not happening, even if Báez will “get hot at some point.”

Lindor is a far superior player to Baez. Lifetime, Lindor is a .284/.346/.484 hitter with 138 home runs and 99 stolen bases and 28 bWAR. He’s been worth at least 4 bWAR for every 162-game season he’s played (five years, 2015-19).

Báez is a career .263/.303/.473 hitter with 122 home runs and 68 stolen bases, granted, in about 800 fewer career plate appearances than Lindor has. He currently has a career 19.5 bWAR and has exceeded 4 bWAR just twice (2018, 6.4 and 2019, 6.7). We all love watching Javy play, but there are some big flaws in his game, notably the strikeouts. Lindor’s career high in K’s is 107 — Javy’s struck out more than that in a season four times. Baez’ career high in walks is 30. Lindor has more than doubled that count twice.

Lindor is just a better player in pretty much every facet of the game. That’s just a fact. If Javy is waiting for a deal like Lindor’s, he is going to be waiting a very, very long time.

Heyman’s tweet doesn’t say how many years the Cubs supposed 2020 offer was for. Presuming the dollar figures are correct, that’s probably a six- or seven-year deal, something in that range, perhaps with option years.

Javy should have taken it. He won’t “beat that” as a free agent.