Could you imagine where the Chicago Cubs would be without Javier Baez this season or last? Well, it almost happened.
Prior to the 2018 season the Cubs were looking to add another young arm to their rotation for the future. The target was Detroit’s Michael Fulmer who was coming off a AL Rookie of the Year award in 2016 and a AL All-Star game appearance in 2017.
With the Tigers rebuilding and Fulmer’s stock super high, the Tigers failed to capitalize on a big trade possibility. According to Anthony French of the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers turned down offers for both Javier Baez and Houston’s Alex Bregman:
Two seasons ago, they were aggressively approached about right-hander Michael Fulmer, who was coming off an AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2016 and was the Tigers’ All-Star representative in 2017. In what looms as the biggest mistake of their rebuilding process, the team rebuffed an offer for Fulmer involving two young players who are now among the best in baseball: According to multiple persons with knowledge of the talks, the Cubs offered shortstop Javier Baez as part of a three-player package and the Astros offered third baseman Alex Bregman for Fulmer and lefty reliever Justin Wilson.
The fact that the move didn’t happen is a huge sigh of relief for the Cubs as Baez turned in a career year in 2018 finishing runner-up in the NL MVP race.
In 2019 Baez is slashing .288/.319/.548 with 28 home runs and 76 RBI through 109 games. He’s on pace for another 100+ RBI season which would give him two-straight.