During last night’s game, an embarrassing moment occurred when the Tigers’ shortstop seeming forgot how many outs had been made during the second inning. Combined with weak hitting, the Javy Baez contract only in year 2 of a 6-year agreement, is headed to the dreaded albatross territory.
The Base Running Blunder
After hitting a one out double, Baez found himself on second base when Akil Baddoo flew out to centerfield. Despite the play being a fairly routine fly out, Baez broke for third on contact and was easily doubled off second to end the inning.
Not only is Baez struggling on the base paths, but he’s also struggling at the plate. Yesterday’s double was his first extra base hit on the season. Meanwhile, his batting average is a dreadful .122 with an on-base percentage of .182. Both a pretty drastic fall from grace for the 2018 NL MVP runner-up. With his bat declining, the Tigers, who have struggled mightily this year, have dropped Baez in the batting order to the 6 spot.
While Baez has historically been known for his glove, the last couple of years haven’t been as kind to the former Gold Glove winner. Furthermore, defensive metrics have historically valued his glove more at second base than they do at shortstop.
The Javy Baez Contract
When the Tigers signed the Javy Baez contract heading into the 2022 season, the team thought they were turning a corner and getting ready to start competing in a winnable AL Central. The team had also added Eduardo Rodriguez and Tucker Barnhardt while they awaited debuts of top prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson.
Adding a 6-year, $140 million deal for Baez seemed reasonable at the time as he figured to be the big piece for a resurgent Detroit team looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014. The team would have at least been happy if they posted their first winning record since 2016.
Instead, the team flounder to a 66-96 finish. Baez, who was supposed to be the piece to lead the team into the future struggled and the Javy Baez contract was already becoming a concern. The Tigers passed on higher priced shortstops last year like Corey Seager and Carlos Correa to sign the Javy Baez contract. Now, it’s hard to imagine they don’t have buyers’ remorse.
The Javy Baez contract will pay the scuffling shortstop $25 million for the next two seasons, followed by two additional seasons at $24 million. Baez does have an opt out following this year but at this rate, it feels unlikely that he will activate the clause, as it’s very unlikely he will find a similar salary on the open market.
Sadly for Detroit, the club is likely stuck with the Javy Baez contract for the foreseeable future. It’s hard to imagine that any team would willingly take on Baez as statistically it’s difficult to justify his place in the starting lineup.
Unless Baez believes a change of scenery (and a lot less money) is the way to move forward, he’s likely tied to Detroit for the next six seasons. For the Tigers, they likely hope that yesterday was finally rock bottom for their supposed shortstop. Manager AJ Hinch proceeded to bench Baez for his mental gaffe, hoping to provide a much needed spark for both his ball club and his shortstop.
With a long summer of baseball ahead for the Tigers, seeing how Baez reacts could impact the team’s chances of ever competing for a Wild Card spot. Sadly, until that happens, it looks like the deal is one of the worst contracts in baseball.
What do you think of the Javy Baez contract situation? Let us know in the comments below!
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images