When the Detroit Tigers signed Javier Baez to a six-year, $140 million contract before the season, he was expected to be the leader of a young, hungry team as it sought to return to relevancy after some obscure years.
The obscurity, as it turns out, is still a thing, as the Tigers finished with one of the worst records in the American League in a season in which everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong.
And, of course, Baez played poorly.
In 590 plate appearances, the shortstop hit .238/.278/.393 with 17 home runs and 147 strikeouts.
The Tigers Expect To Have Baez At Shortstop Next Year
His excellent defense led him to a 2.0 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) finish, but he was a liability at the plate and wasn’t even average, as his 90 wRC+ proves.
He is very much expected to return next year, though.
“#Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris said he expects Javier Báez to be the starting shortstop for 2023 Opening Day,” Evan Petzold, the Tigers beat writer for the Detroit Free Press, tweeted.
#Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris said he expects Javier Báez to be the starting shortstop for 2023 Opening Day.
— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) November 8, 2022
Baez’s trade value isn’t really high after signing a big contract, and given the season he just had.
So, the expectation would be having him as the Tigers’ starting shortstop next year barring an unexpected turn of events.
The Tigers need him to be a lot better than that.
His plate discipline is what it is at this point, as he closes in on 30, but the Tigers would love to see more consistency out of him.
Can he return to form?
It’s one of the biggest question marks for Tigers nation.