Was watching the MLB network when I heard the guys bring up a very valid point... When Addison Russell is cleared to return what are the Cubs going to do about the shortstop position? In Russell's absence Javy Baez has proved he is a premier shortstop in this league. Seems like every night I see a new clip of him making some acrobatic play that only Javy Baez could make. The increase of production at the plate has also helped Javy Baez's case for staying put at shortstop, although it's going to be awfully hard to just cut off Addison Russell from the position he's done so well at for the Cubs.
The case one can make for Javy Baez is that he is clearly the better defensive player. This is true, but by no stretch is Addison Russell not capable of making all the plays at shortstop. Javy Baez brings an element of making plays that no one else can, however Russell is just as good defensively as essentially any shortstop in baseball, so it's not like he's a liability whatsoever in the field. On the base paths I give Javy Baez the edge as well, he's just so explosive, he makes opposing pitchers nervous, and his baseball IQ is off the charts. He stole home, I don't think Addison Russell has that game changing ability on the base paths. At the plate most would say Addison Russell is the more consistent bat. I tend to disagree. Yes, in 2016 Russell was clearly the better hitter, he drove in 95 RBI's, hit 20+ dingers, but he had a batting average below .240. Javy Baez, has shown he can hit for power just as good if not better than Russell by putting 21 balls over the fence this season. He hits for a much better average, hitting about 30 points higher than Addison Russell. He hasn't been able to drive in nearly as many runs as Russell did a year ago, but that could also be to the lack oppurtunities. Let's be real, the Cubs offense was a lot better last year than it is this year, so it's totally possible that the 95 RBI's Russell had last year are just a mirage. Baez does strike out a bunch, but if he's hitting for a higher average, has a better on base percentage, and hits for more power, I don't really see that to be much of a problem. The plate discipline needs improvement with Baez, which will come with the experience of being an everyday player.
If I'm Theo Epstein I'm telling Joe Maddon keep Javy Baez at shortstop. In the offseason I get a nice haul for Addison Russell since his value is still incredibly high and the Cubs can start getting some elite prospects back in their farm system. These last two seasons have kinda dried up the farm in Chicago with all the win now trades they are making, so this is an excellent way to start retooling. It's not an easy decision, although I do think it's the necessary one. Russell still has the beef with his ex-wife looming over his head, so who knows how that will play out, and Javy Baez has those special intangibles that just can't be taught. I feel it'd be a huge mistake for the Cubs to take Javy Baez out of the spot he's produced so well for them at. It's unfortunate that Russell loses his job due to injury, however that's the nature of the business. What do you think the Cubs should do? Keep Baez at shortstop, move Baez and put Russell back at shortstop, or do you have a different theory? Let me know in the poll below.