Javier Baez opts into remainder of his contract with the Detroit Tigers.
For better or worse, the Detroit Tigers will have their shortstop for the next few seasons. Javier Báez has reportedly opted into the remainder of his contract with Detroit, exercising his player option to stay in the Motor City.
Báez will be paid $98 million over the next four seasons as part of his contract with the Detroit Tigers that he signed ahead of the 2022 season. The Tigers brought him in during the final season of Al Avila's tenure, and he has spent the last two seasons as a member of the Tigers.
He'll remain in Detroit, barring any trades in the future, through the 2027 season. Taking his player option with Detroit ensures they have a big-league shortstop to captain their infield for the next few seasons.
One of the big problems in the early part of the rebuild that came up each off-season was the thought of needing someone to come in and lock down the infield. Báez was that player. Whether he was the free agent fans were hoping for or not, he's a big-leaguer with experience who has come in and tried to be "the guy" for the team.
There are things to like about Báez and things to be upset about with his performance. But regardless of how you feel about Báez opting in, he's here to stay. He'll patrol shortstop for Detroit and will continue to do so for the next four seasons.
In 2023, Báez played in 136 games for the Tigers, where he accumulated 510 at-bats. He slashed .222/.267/.325 with 18 doubles, four triples, and nine home runs to his credit. He drove in 59 runs and walked just 24 times with 125 strikeouts.
He's certainly shown some issues with the strikeouts, but perhaps more concerning upon first look is the 4.4% walk rate. That number just has to move upward, especially if he wants to work with the "control the zone" narrative that Scott Harris has piloted in his tenure with Detroit.
Báez has brought energy at times, and he plays with swagger, which can be breathed into the Tigers dugout during games which can be infectious in a good way. He plays the game hard and with energy, which are good qualities to have, but some of the performance metrics leave things to be desired.
While he's soon to be 31 years old and not getting any younger, the Tigers are going to hope to extract the good qualities that they can and get the best of Báez for the last few years.