As you ought to know, Javier Baez and his injured thumb were placed on the 15 day DL to start the season. A lot of people (including me) would argue that Baez could have certainly been a part of the active roster, and is only being held on the DL under the guise of injury in order to free up space for the time being. The reason behind this decision is likely tied to the overabundance of young left fielders that the Cubs have fallen into. It’s hard to call this situation a “problem” – more like a dilemma (really a trilemma, if that’s a word). but nonetheless a tough decision is clearly going to have to be made.
So let’s break it down:
Baez, Soler, and Szczur are all big leaguers in some form. They are highly gifted, and each bring something a little different to the table. Personally, I’m a huge Javy Baez fan because of his versatility and how the ball explodes off his bat. But that’s not to say I don’t think highly of Soler and Szczur. In fact, after the first 2 games of the season, I’m pretty comfortably seated on the Matt Szczur bandwagon (3-5 with a homer, double, and 4 RBI), and, at the same time, my skepticism surrounding Soler has grown (1-8, 1RBI).
The biggest issue in my eyes, however, comes down to the money. Soler is scheduled to make over $3.5 million this year, while the other guys are in the $500k range. To me, that is A LOT of money to pay a dude to play in freaking Iowa. Theoretically, this shouldn’t factor in. But I think it has to – which certainly makes this one more complicated.
In a perfect world, this decision would be based solely on what the guys have done on the field, but in spite of what we may believe after those glorious wins to open the season, this world is not perfect. Right now, there is no denying that Matt Szczur is playing well enough to stay put. And by the same token, it’s hard to argue that Soler hasn’t hurt his own case. But the fact remains guys are often judged as much by their potential as they are by their recent output. It’s very difficult to argue that Szczur has the type of potential Soler and Baez possess, but you can’t tell me you’re not rooting for him.