Flushing, NY- The MLB trade deadline came and went Friday afternoon and in total 80 players changed uniforms. The Cubs and Nationals combined to trade 17 different players. Ten all-stars on rosters of the NL and AL had different teams at the conclusion of the deadline.
The deadline also welcomed All-Star Javier Baez from the Chicago Cubs to the New York Mets as one of the highlight players involved in trades in what became an unprecedented final day of the.deadline.
Baez is expected to be penciled in the Mets lineup Saturday night. Though the Mets were searching the market for pitching, as many teams were at the deadline, Baez was available and he brings an immediate presence to the lineup.
Despite his high strikeout ratio, Baez, hitting .248 with 22 home runs, will play shortstop as Francisco Lindor continues to rehab from a strained right oblique. The Cubs made Baez available as they cleaned house of their 2016 roster that ended a long World Series drought and delivered a title to Wrigley Field.
And Lindor was elated to have his longtime friend from his childhood in Puerto Rico on his side. Lindor and Baez were a formidable and outstanding double play duo for Team Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic. The plan is for Baez to shift over to second and Lindor will command short when he returns in the next four weeks.
So this was also huge news for baseball fans in Puerto Rico and significant for the Mets who have an increased presence of players from Puerto Rico which also includes closer Edwin Diaz.
The trade was a good fix for the Mets as there was a need for another bat in their lineup, and it will be electric to see Baez and Lindor make plays up the middle for a Mets Defense that is one of their strengths. Baez can add to the punch as the Mets continued their hold on first place despite losing to the Reds, 6-2 at Citi Field Friday night. And for the past few weeks there were reports that Lindor was suggesting and petitioning the Mets front office to pursue Baez as the Cubs were in an obvious sell situation.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Lindor said. “I’m going to be playing alongside a good friend of mine, a great person, a great baseball player, and somebody who’s going to help us win. It can’t get any better. I’m very happy. I can’t wait for him to come out here and put on a show for everybody.”
It is expected that Baez, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove shortstop, will add to his numbers and help the Mets with run production. The Mets as a team average four runs per game ,though since the All-Star break their team .272 average as a team is fifth best in the majors.
So the Mets improved despite not picking up a possible starter for their rotation, though there is continued concern of not having two-time NL CY Young Award winner Jacob deGrom for another month after experiencing more inflammation in his right elbow. That is a major setback to the righthander and the Mets pitching rotation.that could keep him out until the beginning of September.
The trade for Baez brought an electric feeling at Citi Field before the Mets lost the first of three against the Reds. The acquisition of Baez also brought good vibes to a team that saw the debut of Carlos Carrasco on the mound who was a key part of the offseason trade for Lindor with the Cleveland Indidans.
Carrasco threw 58 pitches over four innings and allowed a first pitch home run to Jonathan India. The Reds’ rookie had two homers and finished with three RBI.
“It was a long time finally, I got to pitch today,” Cararsco said. “Feels really nice, feels really good. I was so excited to get there.”
And it feels good to know that Javier Baez is in New York and increased an already popular Latino presence in the Mets roster. More so, Baez brings versatility to their current makeup of players.
Explaining the trade for Baez, Interim GM Zack Scott made reference to the versatility of Baez, Jeff McNeil, J,.D. Davis, and Dominic Smith with one or more inserted in the lineup with Baez and when Lindor returns soon.
“That alone will allow us to find the best spot for everyone,” Scott said. “There are some extra things he (Baez) has that make him unique. He’s played in an environment where there were expectations to win. He’s won. He’s not going to back down from this kind of market. He’s going to thrive in it.
“I’ve always been a fan of from afar,” said manager Luis Rojas about his newest addition to the lineup.
Now Rojas does not have to look far. Saturday night, Javier Baez will be penciled in his lineup. And for the Mets that eventual World Baseball Classic reunion in the infield will be an important cog for their success down the stretch.
Comment: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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