As we watched Monday night’s game at Wrigley Field, and given that he’s played there in Addison Russell‘s absence (Addy is at Iowa on a rehab assignment right now), the Chicago Cubs have a potentially interesting problem brewing…do they put Addy back at his ideal position at short, or do they just keep Javier Baez there?
Javy made a couple of nice plays tonight, but this one really stood out:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 29, 2017
Now that you’ve woken up from your fainting spell because that was so glorious, let’s sift through the rationale for both Addison Russell and Javier Baez at short. Keep in mind that both CAN play shortstop, and play it well, at least by the eye test.
Addison Russell seems to be a more solid fundamental shortstop with plenty of athleticism, and his advanced statistics support the eye test here. Javy definitely passes the eye test (see above), but his advanced stats aren’t as clean or eye-popping as Addy’s even if the highlights are. There’s also the issue of the super-tag ability Javy has brought to our attention, which may not factor in depending on where the second baseman has to shift.
The other factor may be Addy’s lingering arm and throwing issues, which may stem more from the nagging shoulder issue (which may have corrected itself) than from an actual flaw. To shorten the throw and take advantage of Javy’s cannon of an arm, should the Cubs swap them so Addy is at second with Javy at short? I’m of the camp that wants the status quo, with Addy the starting shortstop and Javy as the starting second baseman but backup shortstop. All things considered, Javy is a hell of a “backup” if you think about it, and he’ll get his chances there whenever Addy needs a rest.
The Cubs have the best of both worlds here, and I’m cool with whatever they decide.