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Mets trade for Cubs shortstop Javier Báez

About an hour before the Trade Deadline on Friday, Mets general manager Zack Scott emerged from the clubhouse to engage in a brief conversation with shortstop Francisco Lindor, who was taking ground balls on the field. The two spoke for several moments before Scott descended back into the bowels of Citi Field.

A few minutes later, surrounded by his teammates, Lindor let out a joyful scream.

News spread fast about the Mets’ trade for Javier Báez, who came to the Mets alongside right-handed pitcher Trevor Williams in a blockbuster Deadline deal. In exchange, the Mets dealt last year’s first-round Draft pick, Pete Crow-Armstrong, to Chicago.

With Lindor, Báez offers the Mets the promise of one of the most electric middle infields in recent Major League memory. A two-time National League All-Star and former NL MVP Award runner-up, Báez was hitting .248 with 22 homers in 91 games for the Cubs. He is also a former Gold Glover at shortstop, where he will play until Lindor recovers from a right oblique strain — an injury that should keep him sidelined until at least mid-August. Once Lindor returns, Báez can shift to second base, where he has played regularly in the past, but not since 2018.

Earlier this week, Báez spoke glowingly about Lindor, telling the Puerto Rican radio station Mega 106.9 FM that he “would like to play” with his former World Baseball Classic teammate again. Specifically, Báez was talking about coming to New York through free agency this winter. Now, he’s a Met via trade.

Williams produced a 5.06 ERA over 12 starts and one relief appearance for the Cubs, with 61 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings. He offers the Mets rotation insurance in the event that a forearm injury to Jacob deGrom lingers.

Crow-Armstrong was the Mets’ fifth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He appeared in just six games this season before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, but Crow-Armstrong impressed Mets officials throughout a strong spring.