Detroit Tigers: Dodgers trade for Javier Baez? Not so fast
The Los Angeles Dodgers are not trading for Detroit Tigers' shortstop Javier Baez
The Los Angeles Dodgers had planned on having Gavin Lux be the everyday shortstop for them this season after years of him being a utilityman. Sadly, he tore his ACL in a spring training game and is out for the season. This has caused some to speculate that they may come calling for Detroit Tigers' shortstop Javier Baez and attempt to trade for him. I'm here to tell you why that won't happen—at least not right now.
First off, the Dodgers are way too smart of an organization to take on his contract. Sure he could opt-out after this season, but that doesn't seem likely. The Dodgers would likely be paying him for the next five years at roughly $20 million a year. That's not something they would look to do for a player like Baez.
In addition, they may not be able to afford to take on his contract right now. They did lose a lot of free agents this offseason, but they are still projected have a payroll around $219 million according to Spotrac. Acquiring Baez would put them over the luxury tax threshold, which is something the team hasn't cared about in the past, but they are one of those teams that is trying to save as much money as possible in an effort to go after Shohei Ohtani this offseason.
In order to make that trade work, the Tigers would have to either eat some of the money that Baez is owed or take on another contract in return, and I don't think Chris Ilitch would sign on to either of those deals.
And for the Tigers, I'm not convinced they're willing to deal Baez. A.J. Hinch spent a lot of time this offseason with Baez, trying to get to know him better as a person. Cody Stavenhagen from The Athletic (subscription required) wrote a story on how Hinch even went down to Baez's home in Puerto Rico to try to understand him better. There's been a clear effort by the team in trying to build a relationship with Javy.
Also, while Baez certainly doesn't match with Scott Harris' mantra of dominating the strike zone, they are both familiar with each other from their time in Chicago. Harris has seen Baez at his best. It would be worth it to see if he can at least get off to a hot start. If he can do that, then maybe we can talk about a trade.
If he hits well this year and gets off to a good start, then maybe the Dodgers would try to acquire him as a two-month rental. They wouldn't have to give up nearly as much in a deal near the trade deadline. That scenario seems a bit more feasible.
But for now, don't get your hopes up for a Javy Baez trade. I know this fanbase is desparate to get rid of him, but it's not going to happen right now, if it happens at all.