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, according to Mark Feinsand and Audacy MLB insider Jon Heyman. 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.
Seager got $32.5 million per year over 10 years, while Semien got $25 million per year over seven years. Baez is slated to make $23.3 million per year in Detroit.
Baez, who turns 29 in December, hit .265 with 31 homers and an .813 OPS last season with the Cubs and the Mets. He also led the NL in strikeouts. His 3.6 fWAR ranked 11th among big-league 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 a Gold Glover in 2020.
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.