Overnight, Jon Morosi reported a multi-year deal in the works for Javier Baez and Detroit, with the number believed to be at six years. Here were updated particulars from this morning:
Baez joins a Detroit team that has already brought in Eduardo Rodriguez to headline a young and exciting pitching staff (Mize, Skubal, Manning). Now, E-Rod and company have part two of a strong middle infield pair of Baez and Jonathan Schoop. And not like you were counting on him this year, but this move would seem to relegate Willi Castro to a utility role.
As for Baez, he’s got a pretty nice ADP of 69.44 per recent NFBC data. That’s after Wander Franco (55) but just before Corey Seager (74) and Jazz Chisholm Jr. (78), which feels about right. Actually, it feels like robbery—you can keep your Adalberto Mondesi shares around pick 50. I’d much prefer Baez around pick 70 given his more consistent history. Sure, he’s aggressive and streaky. But his glove and team context will keep his bat in the lineup, and you know by season’s end his numbers will look just fine when the dust settles.
On that note, the pandemic-shortened 2020 reads like a major outlier for Baez—his .262 BABIP was well off of his career .355 mark, and in 2021 he finished like normal (for him) at .352. It may not be pretty, but Baez should bat .260+ with lots of power and speed. He’ll take a hit in OBP leagues due to his ghastly walk rates, so know your league settings. Lastly, on that front there might be a little light, too—Baez struck out less and walked more during his brief stint with the Mets, and he’s only entering his age-29 season. So maybe this Tiger can change his stripes, just a little...
The Tigers played it smart with this one, not chasing after the likes of Carlos Correa. Baez is a premier defender and his baserunning skills will help out, too. Good things are happening in Detroit, people!