Javy Baez is in the midst of some continuing education.
On the field, Baez will receive some more training, in what is expected to be a relatively short stay in Iowa. Meanwhile, Baez has also gotten schooled in some of the most important aspects of today's game, as in the business aspect.
These days MLB teams are trying to delay their coveted young players from reaching free agency, or take away the option entirely. Teams are moving quick to lock up their young by extending them to team friendly deals. The Cleveland Indians were industry leaders going back to their renaissance in the 90's. The Tampa Bay Rays have been pretty adept at it of late, especially in the case of their young star Evan Longoria.
The Cubs have done so with Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, some will say with mixed results.
On the field, Baez will actually benefit from his time spent in Iowa. He will be exposed to more crafty, experienced pitchers at the AAA level than what he has seen thus far in his minor league career. They will likely feed him a mixture of "junk" that Baseball America's fifth ranked prospect hasn't yet seen the likes of at this point. All the while the Cubs also want Baez to continue improving his plate discipline.
The Cubs young shortstop will also be required to hone his skills defensively a bit more before he punches his ticket to Chicago. Albeit, the majority of that education will still come at a position he may not play once he reaches the biggs. Reportedly, Baez will receive some time learning the nuances of second base and possibly third, as well.
There is no argument here that Baez should be promoted just yet.
I would like to think that a trip to Iowa is strictly about development alone. That is simply not the case. We are all aware the free agency/arbitration factor looms just as large as anything in his call up date.
If the Cubs keep Baez down on the farm until July, they can delay his "super two" status. Baez recently learned this lesson in the business of baseball, as teammates Emilio Bonifacio and Welington Castillo broke down some of the teams control strategy for him.
The Rays sent down their obvious best player in Longoria in recent history for similar reasoning. Many have and would argue the same can be said in comparison to the Cubs and Baez. It is a shame that the business aspect plays such a large role here. Maybe the rules should be reexamined if players aren't being held back for the sake of development alone.
One thing does seems appartent, Baez has developed in the maturity area, as Jesse Rogers noted.
It’s not everything about you," Baez said, "it’s everything about the team and winning.”
“We talked about everything,” Baez said of his discussion with manager Rick Renteria when he was told he was being sent down. “I just have to keep doing it ... A lot of times we don’t need home runs, we just need an RBI or a bunt. So it’s not all about home runs and hitting the ball hard.”
That statement is probably true, yet something tells me Baez will continue to punish the baseball in the Pacific Coast League on his way to Wrigley Field this summer.
Meanwhile, he is learning some valuable lessons on and off the field to ready him.
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