By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cubs sell-off continued ahead of Friday’s MLB trade deadline, as the team shipped off star shortstop Javy Baez and righty starting pitcher Trevor Williams to the New York Mets, in exchange for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong.

Baez, 28, is hitting .248 with 22 home runs and 65 RBIs this season. Williams is 4-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 13 games, including 12 starts.

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Nicknamed “El Mago” (Spanish for “The Magician”) for his stellar defense and elite base-running ability, Baez was one of the most popular players on the team.

Baez, a key member of the 2016 World Series championship team, is just the latest player the Cubs have dealt away this week. The Cubs also dealt longtime first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees on Wednesday, and have shipped closer Craig Kimbrel and righty reliever Ryan Tepera to the White Sox in two separate deals, bringing back second baseman Nick Madrigal, righty reliever Codi Heuer, and minor league pitcher Bailey Horn. On Monday, they shipped lefty reliever Andrew Chafin to the Oakland A’s for two minor leaguers. Two weeks ago, they traded outfielder and slugger Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves Thursday for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball.

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.

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.

Meantime, in Crow-Armstrong, the Cubs are picking up the Mets’ No. 5 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

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Drafted at No. 19 overall by the Mets in 2020, he played six games this season with Single-A St. Lucie, hitting .417 (10-for-24) with two doubles, four RBI, two stolen bases, seven walks, and six strikeouts before suffering a shoulder injury in May.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff