Javier Baez is widely considered the best player on the Chicago Cubs. There was a point in 2017 when he was almost not a member of the team at all. A new report surfaced on Sunday morning that Theo Epstein offered the star shortstop to the Detroit Tigers during trade talks a few years back.

The front office was desperate for another pitcher to add to the rotation. They had their eyes set on Detroit's Michael Fulmer.

They eventually ended up with Chicago Whitesox starter Jose Quintana. Considering that the same report says that it was the Detroit Tigers that said no to the deal, it's interesting to think about where the Cubs would have been the last two years especially if that deal had been done.

Baez in Comerica?

In an article in the Detroit Free Press detailing how often the Detroit Tigers have made mistakes at the trade deadline, it was revealed that Baez was offered as part of a three-player package for starting pitcher, Michael Fulmer.

Yes, the Cubs not only offered Baez but two other players.

In the Chicago Cubs' defense, Fulmer was coming off 2016 that saw him win rookie of the year. He was the team's rep at the All-Star game in 2017. Still, the idea that the Cubs' starting shortstop and two other players were almost on the move has to make people wonder.

2017 was the first year that Baez started to show his full potential. His slash line was a career-best .273/.317/,480 and he hit a career-high 23 homers.

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Last year, the shortstop exploded, posting a slash line of .290/.326/.554 and hit a new career-high 34 homers while driving in 111. This season, he's basically mirroring last season though he could end up with more home runs when all is said and done.

Not only is it a safe bet that he wouldn't be putting up those kinds of numbers in Detroit but even if he was coming close, they'd be getting wasted on a team languishing near last place in the AL Central.

While we will never know exactly what the plan would have been without Baez at short, it's a safe bet Addison Russell would be the man. That also likely means the Cubs miss the playoffs entirely last season and aren't really in contention this year.

That's even if Michael Fulmer had pitched better than he has since that trade would have gone done.

Chicago Cubs dodge a bullet

What about the supposed return for one of the best shortstops in the game today?

Michael Fulmer finished 2017 with a 10-12 record and an ERA of 3.83 to go along with a WHIP of 1.15. Those are respectable numbers considering they were posted with a losing team.

Last season, Fulmer fell of the face of the earth, posting a 3-12 record. His ERA and WHIP both ballooned to 4.52 and 1.31 respectively. This season, things got even worse as he had Tommy John surgery, meaning he likely won't be back until the end of next season at the earliest.

That's the very definition of the Chicago Cubs being saved from themselves at the 2017 trade deadline.

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