I’m rooting for Javy Baez. Journalists aren’t supposed to say that sort of thing, but Baez’s story makes it difficult to be impartial.
The Cubs are expected to call him up Tuesday, when teams can expand their major-league rosters. He deserves good things.
Here’s a kid who tore up the minor leagues and was hailed as The Future, until he turned into a strikeout machine after a big-league call-up late last season. That’s when many fans moved on from him emotionally and waited for the embrace of other big-time prospects. Fulfillment arrived in Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber.
In April, Baez’ 21-year-old sister, Noely, died of complications from spina bifida. She had been a huge part of his life, and he took a month off to grieve. He missed another month with a broken finger.
Any time the Cubs are mentioned in trade rumors or scenarios, fans bring up his name. That hasn’t changed. Typical was the suggestion a Cubs fan made on the radio Saturday: White Sox stud Chris Sale for Baez, Starlin Castro and two minor-leaguers. In other words, one of the best pitchers in baseball for Baez and Castro, whose struggles and mental lapses only make it more obvious to fans that he’s not a Theo Epstein guy.
Oh, sure, the Sox will get right on that one.
No matter how easy Bryant and Schwarber make baseball look at times, it’s not. Some players never figure it out. Some take longer than others. Here’s hoping Baez, the ninth overall pick in 2011, gets it this time. Then watch those fans come running back, arms extended.