"If I'm playing there, it's me," Baez told Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday. "If I'm playing short, I'm not going to say someone else is better than me."
The 26-year-old logged over 450 innings as a shortstop in 2018, showcasing elite defense while slashing .290/.326/.554 (126 OPS+) with 34 homers, 83 extra-base hits, 21 stolen bases, and an NL-high 111 RBIs. However, he spent nearly 700 innings at second last season due to the continued presence of teammate Addison Russell at short.
Even if Baez were to man shortstop on a more regular basis, he would face stiff competition for the title of best in the business, as the position might be home to the deepest collection of talent in the game today.
With Russell still serving his suspension for domestic violence, Baez will likely have a chance to back up his words and play shortstop - his preferred position - every day for at least the first month of the season. The 26-year-old is hoping that happens.
"The way that I play, I'm very hyper, so I think shortstop is the position where you've got to move more than the other positions," Baez said. "If I had the opportunity to play shortstop, it would be great. If not, I would take second, obviously."