The Chicago Cubs offload continues, as they have traded shortstop Javier Báez and starting pitcher Trevor Williams to the Mets ahead of Friday's trade deadline, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. The deal is pending a physical and the Cubs are getting back minor-league center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, per Feinsand.
Báez fills an immediate hole for the Mets on defense with Francisco Lindor being injured and out for the next several weeks. Báez can be error-prone at times, but in general plays an excellent shortstop with great range and a cannon for an arm. Speaking of Lindor, the two Puerto Ricans are known to be good friends and have long expressed a desire to play together. Báez has even said he'd gladly change positions in order to leave Lindor at short.
Once Lindor returns, the Mets will then have the option to play Báez third base or at second base with Jeff McNeil possibly shifting to an outfield spot. Báez has the ability to be a workable third baseman or one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball.
Offensively, the Mets get huge upside with caveats here. Báez isn't likely to hit for high average and very rarely walks while swinging and missing a ton. When he's on, though, he can carry an offense. In 91 games this season, he's hitting .248/.292/.484 (108 OPS+) with nine doubles, two triples, 22 homers, 65 RBI, 48 runs and 13 steals. His baserunning is excellent and his instincts are off the charts. Again, though, they'll get the bad with the good in lots of strikeouts.
In Williams, the Mets get some rotation depth. Carlos Carrasco is set to make his Mets debut this weekend, but they still have a litany of starters on the injured list, including Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. They recently traded for lefty Rich Hill and now add Williams.
Williams, 29, is 4-2 with a 5.06 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 61 strikeouts against 22 walks in 58 2/3 innings this season. He missed some time after underdoing an appendectomy. He's had several very good outings, but has been inconsistent. Last time out he worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only five hits while striking out six.
Crow-Armstrong, 19, was the Mets' first-round pick out of high school in 2020. He had shoulder surgery earlier this season after seeing action in just six games in Class A. He did some major damage with the bat in those six games, though, hitting .417/.563/.500. Upon being drafted, the book on Crow-Armstrong was that he is an excellent defender with great potential as a future leadoff hitter.