Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers free agent target: Shortstop Javier Báez

Oct 1, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Mets shortstop Javier Baez (23) in action against the Atlanta Braves in the second inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Mets shortstop Javier Baez (23) in action against the Atlanta Braves in the second inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Tigers could use two Mets difference makers in Marcus Stroman or Javier Báez to strengthen the roster. Let’s take a look at the talented infielder.

Welcome to Contender November, a full month of articles about the free agents, prospects, and trade pieces who could turn the 2022 Detroit Tigers into legitimate contenders. Our first week will be spent looking at the biggest hole on the roster: shortstop

Báez has been reported to be interested in going back to the Mets for the right offer as reports have stated that Javier believes in Steven Cohen’s vision of the future….once they find a GM to run the ballclub.

Who is Javier Báez?

Báez was born in Puerto Rico and was drafted 9th overall in the 2011 MLB Draft out of Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, Florida by the Chicago Cubs. Until this season, he played his entire career in a Cubs uniform playing shortstop until he was traded to the Mets with Trevor Williams for Pete Crow-Armstong in the 2021 Trade Deadline.

At the age of 20 in 2013, Báez started to show off his power, hitting 34 home runs and driving 111 RBIs between HIgh-A and Double-A. He would reach the majors the following year before getting a full-time role in 2016.

Báez has power in his bat, as he has averaged 31 home runs a year with his 2018 season as his best season, hitting 34 home runs and 111 RBIs, putting up a slash line of .290/.326/.554. Until this season, Báez has been known for his defensive abilities in addition to coming up with some magic in his glove, which is why his nickname is “El Mago”.

Baez does strike out a lot as he led the National League in strikeouts this season with 184 (33.6%) and had 24 errors but it was not too long ago in 2019 where he had 32 Outs Above Average so what we saw this year could be a mirage.

What Javier Báez Would Do for the Detroit Tigers?

Báez would bring position flexibility as he played second in New York this season so Francisco Lindor could stay at shortstop.  He would also bring some much-needed power to the Tigers lineup that was 24th in the league as a team and at shortstop, had 18 between the collective of Harold Castro, Niko Goodrum, and Willi Castro.

What does give me pause is the strikeout rate but Tigers fans can put up with that as long as he was hitting home runs and back to his 2019 form in playing defense.  The numbers this season are strange because of his strikeouts and having such a home run total however, teams seem to be fine with it as long as the power continues.

The Tigers finished fourth behind the Rays for most strikeouts as a team with 1,514. Who was first? Báez’s old team, the Chicago Cubs with 1,596.

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