Detroit Tigers fans have had it with Javier Baez
Javier Baez wasn't a popular signing when the Detroit Tigers signed him. They signed him over the likes of Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Marcus Semien. So far, it's safe to say the Tigers made the wrong choice.
Baez is currently one of the worst qualified hitters in all of baseball. His 57 wRC+ in second-worst in the league behind only Tim Anderson of the White Sox. He is walking at a 3.5% clip, leads the league in chase rate, and the power has completely disappeared. Offensively, he is an unmitigated disaster.
Defensively, he's actually been one of the best shortstops in all of baseball, which is a huge improvement over last year. His outs above average of 9 ranks third among shortstops, only behind Dansvy Swanson and Wander Franco. His DRS of 4 is tied for eighth among MLB shortstops.
People will point out the 12 errors on the season, but J.P. Crawford of the Mariners also has 12 errors and is considered to be a great defensive shortstop. The metrics are much more indicative of how good of a defender a player is than the counting stats.
Just look at the play Javy made in the combined no-hitter against the Blue Jays. He went halfway into the outfield to track down a pop fly. He's still got the range.
Because of his defense, he's still got a positive WAR on the season (0.3). For comparison's sake, Anderson has a -1.0 fWAR on the year.
Yesterday's game, for whatever reason, was a tipping point for Tigers fans. In the first inning, he didn't charge a groundball, allowing Julio Rodriguez to reach base on an infield single. Frustrating, sure, but not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
He went 0-for-4 on the day with two strikeouts, including the game-ender in which he swung and miss at three straight outside pitches. Again, frustrating, but he's done that numerous times before.
But the outrage on Twitter after the game was insane. People were done with him. The thing that's hard to understand is that this is who he's always been.
Sure, he still use to produce much more offensively, but he's always been a free-swinger. He's never walked. This is not a new thing.
The things people really have a problem with is what he's paid. He's making $20 million this season, and that will go up to $25 million next season when he inevitibally opts in. There's nothing they can do about that. Nobody is taking his contract.
The best thing the Tigers can do is try to find some more talented hitters that will make him better. We saw how good he could be with the Cubs when he had Bryant, Rizzo, and others around him, and the same thing with the Mets with Alonso, Lindor, and McNeil. The only real solution here is to try to put some pieces around him in an effort to make him better.
Javier Baez is here to stay. There's no way around it. We're just going to have to live with him.