The Detroit Tigers made their splash in the free-agent shortstop market by signing Javier Báez before the league went into the work stoppage that continues on. It’s been over a week since Baéz signed his six-year, $140 million deal with the Tigers, so it’s had some time to sit in the minds of fans.
While it seemed that the Detroit Tigers faithful were headed to Comerica Park to riot and demand change since the team did not sign Carlos Correa, the team did not totally get it wrong. It’s not the most exciting signing that could have come from the offseason.
However, the team missed out on Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, who both signed with the Texas Rangers. These were my two personal choices for the Tigers to target, but instead, the Tigers waited things out and settled on Báez.
After things have calmed down a little bit, a few things come to mind when it comes to an analysis of this move. Whether it’s Báez’s value, his contract, or passing up Correa, let’s address some of these things.
The Detroit Tigers got better by adding Javier Báez, but was it the right move?
First up in this analysis is going to be Báez’s value and what he can bring to the Tigers lineup. Fans likely know what they’re getting between free-agent preview articles and rumors articles. Báez slashed .265/.319/.494 with 31 home runs and 87 RBI.
So the boost in power and run production is going to be nice and drastically improve the lineup. On the flip side, the league-leading 184 strikeouts over 502 at-bats are not going to be pretty. A 37% strikeout rate is horrendous for a player they are going to pay north of $23 million every season.
Not to mention the idea that Báez’s defense is a tad bit overrated. He’s not this absolutely amazing defender that many seem to think he is. He’s overrated, and the .965 career fielding percentage shows that.
At the end of the day, the Tigers are going to see Báez improve the team mightily, but at $23 million a year, this contract may look negative four years from now. But there’s no doubt that Báez is going to make the team’s lineup significantly better.
Besides ability and contract value, Báez’s signing may still be sitting wrong with some. This fanbase was all-in on Carlos Correa and wanted the Tigers to shell out a 10-year megadeal. But, in hindsight, walking away with Báez on a six-year contract looks much better.
But, to lump it all together… Signing Báez was a good move to improve the organization. Personally, after about three or four years, that $23 million price tag is going to be tough to stomach, but after a few weeks, I’ve gotten over it.
On top of that, if I had to choose between Báez at six years for $140 million or Correa at ten years, and $325+ million, I’m taking the Tigers deal with Báez all day. In that case, let’s put the stamp of approval on this deal, for now, knowing there are going to be some serious drawbacks.