Batting ninth: SS Kiké Hernandez
Could a dream Tigers lineup be a dream Tigers lineup if it didn't get rid of Javier Baez at shortstop? Impossible. This is definitely stating the obvious even though it needs to be said, anything is better than Baez, who had the lowest OBP in baseball this year and made 19 errors at shortstop. True, if the Tigers replaced Baez with free agent Kiké Hernandez on a regular basis, they'd be eating the $98 million Baez has left on his contract, but we've already established that money is no object when it comes to the dream lineup.
This year's free agent class is not like last year's, which featured four world class shortstops up for grabs, all of whom went to their current teams on multi-year contracts ranging from $177 million to $300 million. This year, the most high profile shortstop in free agency is the San Francisco Giants' Brandon Crawford, who probably played his last season in MLB this year. The second best option of the pool is Hernandez. He loves LA, where he's spent a lot of his career, and there's a chance the Dodgers might invite him back. But since they haven't yet, we're bringing him to Detroit for the dream lineup.
Hernandez, despite being a Team Puerto Rico hero and a seemingly delightful clubhouse presence, has offensive ups and downs. In his 2023 with the Boston Red Sox and the Dodgers, he hit .237/.289/.357 overall, and then his numbers were boosted significantly upon his return to LA. He hit 11 home runs and batted in 61 runs over the year, which are okay numbers, but also had a not so great walk to strikeout rate of 6.7% to 19.1%. But it's like we've already established here: anything is better than Javier Baez at shortstop.