Detroit Tigers: Is Javier Báez a better option for the shortstop hole?

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers are looking for their shortstop of the future, and that is clear. They have made it very apparent that they are willing to spend some money this offseason to find “their guy” to captain the team’s middle infield for years to come.

It seems like the Detroit Tigers are looking to target former Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. While he and A.J. Hinch had lunch last week and everyone went crazy, there’s plenty of signs that point to the Tigers landing the superstar.

But that does not mean they are not going to do their due diligence to explore several of the options out there. For example, recent rumors have had the Tigers organization looking to add Javier Báez.

He may not be the frontrunner in the shortstop game for the Tigers if they genuinely want to get a big-name player. Báez may not be the best option, to put it plain and simple. The Tigers are still tied to him, and likely are going to target many of the shortstops that are out there.

Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Báez is an example of due diligence.

When it comes to adding in the shortstop of the future, they need the right one. Báez is not the best option if the Tigers are going to go out and spend on a 6-8 year contract with big figures in the $25-30+ million range annually.

He is represented by Wasserman, not Scott Boras and Borascorp, so the idea of only signing Báez to a long-term contract may not be certain. Báez could be inclined to consider a shorter-term contract like a 2-3 year deal in the $15-20 million valuation, which again might be too low.

Báez, now 28 years old, is coming off of a 2021 season where he was traded at the deadline away from Chicago Cubs to the New York Mets. Looking at the season totals, Báez played in 138 total games where he slashed .265/.319/.494 with 31 home runs and 87 RBI with the Cubs and Mets.

There’s a push from the Mets to keep Báez around if he pleases to stay with fellow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor, who signed a long-term deal to remain with the Mets as well. Báez has swing and miss issues at times, and while he is incredibly athletic, there are some holes in his game.

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His glove looks good in the field, but throwing has seemingly been bad at times. It seems like he may make a flashy stop defensively but throw the ball away to commit an error. However, Báez may not be a bad investment for the Tigers in the short term, but overall I’m not sold that he is the best option.