Reports: Javier Baez finalizing a long-term deal with Tigers


(97.1 The Ticket) It looks like the Tigers have found their shortstop.

Detroit is nearing a six-year, $140-million deal with two-time All-Star Javier Baez, Mark Feinsand of reported Tuesday morning. The news comes amid a free agency flurry prompted by MLB's looming work stoppage that took two of the biggest shortstops off the market in Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, both of whom signed with the Rangers recently.

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Seager got $32.5 million annually over 10 years, while Semien got $25 million annually over seven years. Baez is slated to make $23.3 million annually with the Tigers when his six-year, $140-million deal is finalized.

Baez, who turns 29 in December, hit .265 with 31 homers and an .813 OPS in 2021, when he was traded from the Cubs to the Mets in late July. He also led the National League in strikeouts. His 3.6 fWAR ranked 11th among MLB shortstops, sandwiched between Trevor Story and Willy Adames. Carlos Correa, the headliner of the shortstop market, ranked third at 5.8.

Even if he's not the superstar fans were hoping for, Baez will be a significant upgrade for the Tigers at the game's most important position. The club's starting shortstop has produced 3.4 fWAR over the last four seasons combined. Baez was a Silver Slugger who finished second for NL MVP in 2018 and who won a Gold Glove in 2020.

Baez played for the Cubs from 2014 until last July, when the organization traded him as it pivoted toward the future as it struggled and a handful of core players were nearing free agency.

The Tigers are aiming to contend for a playoff spot next season after a grueling five-year rebuild. The addition of Baez certainly helps their chances.