Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported very early on Tuesday morning (or late, depending on how you think about it as it was just before 2 AM EST) that the Detroit Tigers and free agent shortstop Javier Báez are “close” to agreeing to terms. In a subsequent tweet, Morosi noted that the deal is likely for six years.
If the Tigers and Báez do finalize the contract, he would be the third big free agent shortstop to sign in the last 48 hours and the first to not sign with the Texas Rangers after both Marcus Semien and Corey Seager agreed to terms with the Rangers for a combined half-billion dollars.
The Detroit Tigers are close to signing Javier Báez but the financial terms are not yet known.
The Detroit Tigers have been in on all of the free agent shortstops this offseason but most Tigers fans were hoping that Carlos Correa would come to Detroit but unless the Tigers pull off a move like the Rangers by signing both Correa and Javier Báez, it looks unlikely.
The Tigers agreeing to sign Báez is a sign that the Tigers are sticking to what they said. Earlier this offseason, their GM Al Avila said that they would not be spending like “drunken sailors” and Báez will, perhaps, cost one-third of the cost of Correa. Báez was projected to get roughly $20 million per year so, with a six-year deal, he will likely get somewhere in the neighborhood of $120 million.
Corey Seager got ten years and $325 million from the Rangers so Correa, who has been healthier and a better player, will almost certainly get more than that.
Báez, who turns 29 tomorrow, led the NL in strikeouts in 2021 but he played in 138 games and he hit .265/.319/.494 with 31 homers, 87 RBI, and an OPS+ of 117. His best season was in 2018 when he had an OPS+ of 129 (and NL-leading 111 RBI). He came in second in NL MVP voting that year.
Defensively, Báez is phenomenal as in 2021, he had 6 Defensive Runs Saved but in 2019, he had 31 DRS.
He definitely is not as good as Correa so if Báez is the only infield signing for the Tigers, some Tigers fans will be disappointed but, perhaps, the other Tigers will look to add some other positions this offseason as well.