Cubs Rumors: Now is the perfect time to extend Javy Baez

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Cubs have begun contract negotiations with All-Star Javier Baez. Here’s why now is the perfect time for an extension.

It appears as if the hot stove is heating up quite early in the 2019-20 offseason.

Just over two weeks removed from the conclusion of the 2019 World Series, the Chicago Cubs have already begun contract negotiations with Javy Baez for a long-term extension.

Now that in no way does that imply that an extension is close or inevitable. This may even just be the Cubs probing Baez’s contract demands for future knowledge and payroll considerations. But it’s a good indicator that the team intends to keep El Mago in a Cubs uniform for the long-term.

Baez turns 27 on December 1st and will be a free agent after the 2021 season. That would mean he would be hitting free agency at age 29.

With that in mind, that makes now the perfect time for the Cubs to re-sign him to a long-term extension.

Baez will certainly be a hot commodity if he were to hit the free agent market. There’s a good chance that the Cubs would be outbid by another team if that were to happen. The Cubs also could be less appealing as a franchise by 2022, as there’s a legitimate possibility that their championship window will be closed shut.

Another thing to consider with Javier Baez’s upcoming free agency is fellow shortstop Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians. Baez and Lindor have many similarities, from their native countries to their style of play.

Like Baez, Lindor will be a free agent after the 2021 season. With a solid group of young prospects in the pipes for the Indians, the club may also try to lock up their All-Star shortstop for the future. And with less than $100 million on the books for 2020, the Tribe may have a bit more freedom to sign Lindor to a large deal.

If Lindor is signed ahead of Baez, there’s a chance that the Cubs would have to pay a significant amount more to keep him in Chicago.

One of the most unpredictable variables for upcoming contracts is the impending expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Coincidentally, Baez will be a free agent at the same time that the CBA expires in December 2021.

Many believe that a strike is inevitable during that time. If that’s the case, negotiating a contract could be impossible. And if the lockout extends to spring training or even the season, the Cubs may be at a massive disadvantage by not being able to have much time to re-sign or negotiate with Baez.

It’s time the Cubs opened the pocketbooks and paid Javy.

The team was able to sign first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a very team-friendly contract before he hit the free agent market, and it could be a very similar situation with Baez. Rizzo’s entire contract over seven years comes to a total of just $41 million. Had they waited to re-sign him, that value could have been exceeded in just three years.

Really, there aren’t any major downsides to re-signing Baez besides the obvious fact that a big extension for him will limit how much they can pay others. But with numerous big contracts soon coming off the books in just a year or two, the team is in a great situation to pay Javy as well as a few other big players.

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Here’s to hoping that the Cubs offseason is far more productive and less frustrating than the 2018-19 offseason.