Maddon: No decision on Baez's roster status

Maddon: No decision on Baez's roster status

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Joe Maddon has made it known he's impressed with Javier Baez's defensive play and the young infielder's baseball acumen, but neither the manager nor anyone else in the front office has told Baez that he has made the Cubs' Opening Day roster.

Maddon denied a report that Baez was on the final 25-man roster, and added that neither Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein or general manager Jed Hoyer gave the infieder the go-ahead either.

"I have no idea where that came from," Maddon said. "That hasn't been decided yet."

Maddon started watching Baez this winter, going to Puerto Rico to see him play two games in the winter leagues.

"Offensively, obviously the power is prodigious, but the consistency of contact has to improve, and that will come from adjustments," Maddon said. "For me, this guy is a Major League second baseman. When that clock will begin ticking, I can't give you a 100-percent timetable on that. You put your present and future hat on. In the present tense, there has to be some adjustments made at the plate; future tense, I can see all those things coming together."

Baez was called up to the big leagues last August, and batted .169 in 52 games with the Cubs, striking out 95 times in 213 at-bats. Baez has been slow to adjust at each level, and the Cubs wanted to give him a head start going into the 2015 season.

But this spring, Baez was 5-for-39 with 14 strikeouts entering play Wednesday. Conventional wisdom, Maddon said, is to send a player still struggling to the Minor Leagues, because they don't want him to scuffle at the big league level, then have to demote him.

"There are the occasions where sometimes it works in reverse," Maddon said. "A guy like him, to go back and accept going back in Triple-A and getting it done there, he might renege at that thought, and maybe you're not going to get the full adjustment you're looking for and it might take longer.

"If a guy fails at the Major League level and thinks he belongs in the Major Leagues and then knows he failed, if he goes back, it might be easier to get the point across."

Because Maddon is seeing Baez for the first time, he's bringing a fresh perspective, and he says the Cubs are considering both the conventional way to do things and unconventional way.

"The conclusion will be as we get together, what is the best method to make him a better Major League player sooner, and that's what the discussion is about right now," Maddon said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.