CHICAGO – Detroit Tigers short Javier Baez walked out of his hotel onto the city streets Thursday morning.
He was quickly spotted and had to turn around.
Nowhere is Báez, referred to as “Javy” and “El Mago” by his fans, better known than Chicago, the city where he spent the first eight seasons of his MLB career with the Cubs.
“It was a great feeling for my family,” Baez said Thursday, standing in the visitors club at Guaranteed Rate Field, about 10 miles south of the Cubs’ Wrigley Field. “We grew up here. My son was born here. It’s so special to have my family here.”
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Báez interacted with some people downtown before returning to his hotel ahead of Thursday’s series opening against the Chicago White Sox. The 29-year-old said his family is missing out on life in Chicago, but everyone is adjusting to his new chapter in Detroit.
Baez, who was coined overall No. 9 by the Cubs in 2011, said, “The first thing that came to my mind was I did this: I was able to play professional baseball. That was my dream. I stayed on the right track. . . I’m just grateful, Everything he (the Cubs) did for me and my family, and of course, for the 2016 World Championships.”
Although the Tigers don’t face the lovable Baez cubs, this is his first time in Chicago since last season’s trade deadline. The Cubs, as part of their rebuilding, traded the Pease to the New York Mets in late July 2021.
In Thursday’s game, Baez expects to see fans wearing his No. 9 Cubs jersey.
“My fans follow me everywhere,” Baez said. “Some of them will come out. Some friends have called me about seeing my shirt. We’ll see what we see there, but it’s clearly special to be here.”
At one point, Baez thought he would play for the Cubs in 2022 and beyond.
He reached free agency after completing the 2021 season with the Mets. The Tigers signed him to a six-year, $140 million contract in December 2021, and after a miserable start, he’s made .271 by four runs in 18 games since June 16.
“I’m sure a lot of people want me to stay,” Bayes said. “You can ask the fans around. I still get messages every day about coming back to Chicago. I’ve done it for a while, but at the same time, there’s always been the business side there. It’s something we understand.”
“Anyone can go through it, and it just happened. It was kind of difficult at first, but after I’ve gone through it with my family and everything, it’s been great to be where we are.”
In 2020, Báez and Cubs sought a contract extension, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Free Press. The two sides, after exchanging an offer and counter-offer, came close to reaching an agreement in spring training before the coronavirus pandemic spread in mid-March.
After that, he did not present the cubs again.
“I know we were really close at one point, but then it all happened all over the world with the pandemic,” Bayes said. “I changed everything for everyone. It wasn’t judged. I’m happy, and it all happened for a reason.”
In July 2021, the first Bayesian organization began to be rebuilt. Cubs’ head of baseball operations, Jed Hoyer, has traded Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, the core members of the 2016 World Championship Team.
Now, he’s trying to help the tigers out of the rebuilding process. Many Tigers, especially younger players, have yet to experience a post-season or world championship. The franchise hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2014 and hasn’t set a winning record since 2016.
“I see different things in my life,” Bayes said. “I’m just learning, more learning. I know there’s a lot of talent here. We struggled a lot at the beginning of the year, but when everything clicks together, everyone will forget about it and see how well we were doing in the moment.”
Now that Baez has entered a new phase in his career, is there a message he wants to send to the Cubs fans?
“I love them in the same way they show love to me and the other players,” Baez said. “They are great fans.” “It’s really special to be a Cubs fan. This is my home. I got a tattoo with the Cubs logo. We won (the World Championship), and that’s something no one can take away from you. It’s really special for me, to be part of the Cubs and the fans organization.” “.
• Outfielder Austin Meadows (Right and Left Achilles Strains) began his rehab job on Wednesday with Triple-A Toledo. He went 0 for 2 with two walks as the designated hitter in Game 1 of Mud Hens’ double header. The 27-year-old woke up on Thursday with minimal pain and was not initially included in Toledo’s starting lineup on Thursday. Prior to the match, though, he was added as the leading hitter and right-hand man. He could return to the Tigers for a double header on Monday against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
• Right shin Wily Peralta (left hamstring strain) contains a grade 1 and grade 2 strain. Manager AJ Hinch said the 33-year-old won’t throw for a week or two, so it will “take some time” to recover. The Tigers do not rule out a return in July, but August seems more likely based on the initial diagnosis. He did not travel with the team to Chicago.
• Right hand Ronnie Garcia (Right Shoulder Pain) played Thursday’s game of catch from 60 to 90 feet in the Guaranteed Price Field. The Tigers are hoping the 24-year-old can get off the hill sometime this weekend.
• Right Savior José Cisnero (Right Shoulder Strain) will play in back-to-back matches for Triple-A Toledo this weekend. Having already completed three rounds of rehab, the 33-year-old is nearing completion of his rehab job and should start his season before the All-Star break.
• Right-handed Matt Manning (Right Shoulder Inflammation) is scheduled to start Friday’s game, which means he’ll play, sit down to rest, and run again. Then, the 24-year-old could be acquitted to begin a rehab job with Low-A Lakeland.
• Right reliever Kyle Funkhuser (Right Shoulder Strain) will throw the bulls on Friday.
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