The Detroit Tigers have made their second big splash of the MLB offseason, signing All-Star shortstop Javier Báez to a six-year contract worth $140 million.
Báez, one of the top MLB free agents in 2021’22, received interest from more than half a dozen clubs. Acquired by the New York Mets before the MLB trade deadline, the 28-year-old infielder hit the open market after a bounce-back season.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported Monday night that Báez and the Tigers were closing in on a multi-year contract. According to Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press, it’s a six-year deal worth $140 million.
- Javier Báez stats (2021): 31 home runs, 87 RBIs, 18 stolen bases, .265/.319/.494 slash, 117 OPS+, 3.6 fWAR
Detroit already upgraded its starting rotation this offseason, signing starting pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez to a five-year contract worth $77 million. With the front office prepared to spend aggressively this winter, upgrading at shortstop was a priority.
Upgrading at the position was essential for Detroit to compete in 2022. This past season, Tigers’ shortstops posted the fourth-lowest wRC+ (72), the ninth-worst isolated power (.116) and ranked 28th in fWAR (-0.1).
- Javier Báez fielding stats: 16 Defensive Runs Saved at second base, 4.2 Defensive Rating, 82nd percentile Outs Above Average
While Báez strikes out a lot (33.6% strikeout rate) and rarely draws walks (5.1% walk rate), his combination of defense, speed, power and energy will be a huge boost for the Tigers.