Detroit Tigers: When is it time to hit the panic button on Javier Baez?
Javier Baez is off to a rough start for the Detroit Tigers
When the Detroit Tigers signed Javier Baez to a six-year, $140 million deal in Nov. 2021, many fans were not very excited. They thought they'd get one, maybe two good years out of him before his wreckless approach at the plate caught up to him. Fast forward to early in year two of the contract, and we may be lucky to get any good years out of him at all.
Baez is off to a horrid start in 2023 after a forgettable first season with the club. He's currently 2-for-25. That's good for a batting average of .080. Anybody have that on their bingo card?
This comes after a 6-for-36 performance in spring training. He did hit .368 for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, but it hasn't even come close to carrying over to the season.
His defense hasn't been great either. He's made a few nice plays, but his throwing arm is still erratic. He came in as a defensive replacement on Wednesday in Houston and almost immediately pulled Spencer Torkelson off the first base bag with a throw.
Speaking of Torkelson, he should ask Baez to buy him dinner, because it's the least he could do for the amount of low throws he's had to scoop out of the dirt for Baez. He had to do that at least three times during the home opener against Boston.
We are just a mere seven games into the season as of this writing, but Baez looks terrible. He has an opt-out in his contract after this year as well. If he performs at a high level, he could opt out in search of a bigger payday and the Tigers would be rid of the contract. But right now, that looks like a pipe dream.
Like most things in baseball, I would give Baez more time before forming an opinion on him this year. Give him 30-40 games and see where he's at then. If he can at least start swinging the bat better, I think some fans would be able to put up with a few errant throws.
The Detroit Tigers are likely stuck with Javier Baez for the next five years. He is a very frustrating player, but he's what we got. We might as well rock with him for next couple of months to see if he gets any better.