05 Sep GETTING TO KNOW NEW YORK METS SHORTSTOP JAVY BAEZ
Name: Ednel Javier Báez
Nickname: El Mago
Born: December 1, 1992 (age 28) in Bayamón, Puerto Rico
MLB Debut: August 5, 2014, for the Chicago Cubs
2021 Salary: Signed last year a 1 year /$11,650,000 contract with the Chicago Cubs. Baez is owed about $4.25 million for the remainder of this season, and the Cubs are picking up a portion of that amount.
Hours after apologizing for a recent thumbsdown gesture meant as a dig at Mets fans, Javier Baez turned boos into cheers when he sprinted home from first for the game-ending run in New York’s 6-5 win over the visiting Miami Marlins last Tuesday. He even gave a thumbs-up to the home crowd after celebrating with teammates. Earlier that day, Baez and Francisco Lindor took turns apologizing for the thumbs-down gesture they and teammate Kevin Pillar exhibited during Sunday’s 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals. Baez said last Sunday that the gesture was the players’ way of answering fans who had booed the Mets throughout August, when the team had gone 8-19 — Tuesday’s early result counts toward April — to fall out of playoff position after leading the National League East for nearly three months. Their apologies followed a stern statement from team president Sandy Alderson on Sunday night disavowing the gesture as well as a team meeting on Tuesday in which players said they would stop making it.
How does it feel to leave Chicago & join the New York Mets?
After coming up with the Cubs and winning a World Series in 2016, leaving Chicago has been very emotional for me, but I’m ready to move on and help my new team chase another championship in New York.
What do you hear about NY fans?
I know New York’s got great fans. I’ve been seeing it from the other side. Hopefully they’re really excited to have me because I’m really excited to help the team and bring my energy here.
Why do you think the Mets wanted you on their team right now?
I play the same way and I’m the same guy every day. I try to bring that energy to the team, to the clubhouse. There’s not much to say, I just gotta be me, go out there and compete and play hard.
Who was your favorite baseball player growing up?
Definitely, Manny Ramirez.
Who is the toughest pitcher you ever faced?
If you weren’t a baseball player, what would you want to do for a living?
I think I would try to be a professional basketball player.
Is there anything you want to say to the fans after the incident last week when you put your thumb down?
I didn’t say the fans are bad. I love the fans, but I just felt like we were alone. The fans obviously want to win, and they pay our salary, like everybody says; but like, we want to win too, and the frustration got to us. And, you know, I didn’t mean to offend anybody, and if I offend anybody, I apologize.
At the end of this season you will be a free agent. Would you like to play for the New York Mets after this year?
We’ll see how everything goes. I’m obviously trying to be as close as I can and learn from the guys, and see what happens these two months. I know we’re in first place and hopefully we go deep in the playoffs, and see what happens next year.