Free agent shortstop Javier Baez is headed to the Motor City. Jon Morosi is reporting Baez is close to finalizing a six-year contract with the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are coming off a 77-85 season in which they played a platoon at SS that included Zack Short, Harold Castro, and Willi Castro.
Baez, known as “El Mago” for the magic he creates on the field, is one of the most dynamic players in baseball. Never afraid to swing out of his shoes, take the extra base or turn even the most routine plays into highlights, he is energy personified on the diamond. Statistically, there is a lot to like, including his 102 home runs and 53 stolen bases since 2018. He has accrued 18.4 Baseball-Reference WAR during that time, the 10th-most among all position players. Most recently, Baez posted a stellar .299/.371/.515 slash line over his final 47 games with the Mets last season.
There is also Baez’s gaudy strikeout rate, which reached a career high of 33.6 in 2021. He has some of the worst plate discipline in baseball, and those strikeout totals could climb as the 29-year-old ages into the latter part of his career, barring a drastic change in approach. However, in the short term, Baez should continue to supply plenty of power, speed, defense and excitement.