New Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon made the trip to Puerto Rico this weekend to watch shortstop Javier Baez play in the championship series with Santurce. Watching Baez press to get results, Maddon told the young infielder that he wanted to "see him smile."
"My purpose is to see Javier Baez play," Maddon said to El Nuevo Dia on Saturday, via Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. "Being a new member of the Cubs organization, being the manager and Javier being such a big part of our future, I thought it was important to come down and show support and start building that kind of relationship so he could trust me, also. From my perspective, the most important thing I have to do in Spring Training is earn the trust of all of our players."
Baez hit just .169 in 52 games with the Cubs last season, striking out an alarming 95 times in 213 at-bats. In the first two games of the championship series in Puerto Rico, Baez went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts.
In Maddon's estimation, Baez is "trying way too hard."
"I want him to back off," Maddon said. "The last thing I want him to do is try to impress me tonight. ... I said, 'Hit a couple singles and, above all, I want to see you smile.'"Back to the Chicago Cubs Newsfeed