When is the right time for Tigers to eat Javy Báez's contract and officially move on?

Detroit Tigers v Arizona Diamondbacks
Detroit Tigers v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

To their fans' deep frustration, the Detroit Tigers rarely make massive splashes in the free agent market these days. Scott Harris and the front office made it very clear that they were in a "develop, not buy" mindset during the offseason, and outside of a few notable pitching acquisitions, they stuck to that. They also doubled down earlier this week, when Harris told the hosts of MLB Now that Chris Ilitch could be willing to spend money when the Tigers are on firmer ground, but that they're not there yet.

So not only do we have that proverbial carrot dangling in front of our faces, we have the presence of the Tigers' highest earner and and one of their worst performers on the field almost every day to remind us what happened the last time the Tigers spent really big money.

Javier Báez has been a problem for the lineup basically since he set foot in Detroit. He was coming off of a great quarter of a season with the Mets and his All-Star, Gold Glove, MVP candidate years weren't far behind him then, and the Tigers signed him for six years and $140 million, one of the largest contracts in Tigers history. But he batted .238 in his first year, had the league's worst OBP in the second, and is faring even worse this season.

So when will the Tigers finally decide that the $73 million they still owe him would be better to eat than to allow Báez to take up a spot in the lineup? Harris seemed to indicate that it won't be anytime soon.

Scott Harris says Tigers are not entertaining conversations about eating Javy Báez's contract

Harris said it's "too soon" to even think about cutting Báez, but he's already spent two seasons and some change in Detroit, and by the end of the season will be officially halfway through his contract. The Tigers keep wanting to wait for Báez to get better and, to his credit, he hasn't exactly seemed complacent in his struggles, but at this point it seems a bit like the Tigers are just teasing cutting him at a later date only to never do it.

Ilitch is one of the richest owners in baseball, but for whatever reason he seems totally uninterested in throwing the Tigers any kind of bone. $73 million is a lot to just flush down the toilet, but when your owner's net worth is upwards of $2 billion, any excuses fall flat.

Maybe the idea of giving that much money to a player who isn't playing is just too much to bear, but Báez might as well not be playing on most days of the season anyway.